Larne 1st XV blazed to an 81-3 win over Civil Service at Glynn in their second game of this year’s Gordon West Cup. Hat-tricks from Mark McIlheron and Ryan Garrett helped the men in red on their way to a comfortable victory.
The team took the pitch fresh after a week off and confiddent after that 99-0 demolition of Letterkenny.
It wasn’t long until Laurence Kelly’s team were in the ascendency when the scrum pushed the Civil Service pack back at the rate of knots. The pressure finally told and Phil Andrews slotted over a penalty in front of the posts.
A short time later Ricky McIlheron nipped over for Larne’s first score after the scrum moved up field. His brother Mark was next on the score sheet after a catch-and-drive at a line-out.
The Larne men continued to score but they were not playing with the same fluidity they showed against Letterkenny, with parts of the first-half littered with handling errors. Garrett crossed the whitewash twice along with Mills, Thomas and Mark McIlheron for his second.
At half-time coach Kelly told the team he wanted the workrate to increase in the second session, to implement plays being worked on at training.
The team duly obliged and the tries continued. Second rows Colin McKinty and Jonny Cole went over for well-deserved scores, and prop Craig Gibson crossed the line to finish off a good team move.
There was a well-taken try for out-half Andrews who danced his way through the Civil Service backline.
Garrett and Mark McIlheron then both went over for another score each to complete their hat-tricks.
Civil Service did come back at the Larne men and were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which they slotted over for three points.
The game finished 81-3 to the Larne men.
Skipper James McCluggage commented: “All in all, it was a good team performance with plenty of things to work on before our big test next week against league leaders Donegal.
“It would be unfair to pick out individual performances, however, Ryan Garrett couldn’t be outdone by his brother’s hat-trick the week before for the Seconds, so had to do the same this week.
“Also, Mark McIlheron who throroughly deserved his three tries for his relentless and tireless work rate for the full 80 minutes.”
Larne (1-15): C Gibson, G Wright, C Rea, C McKinty, J Cole, J McCluggage (c), M McIlheron, E Hunter, R McIlheron, P Andrews, G Mills, I McIlheron, S Montgomery, R Thomas, R Garrett.
Carrick IV 23
Larne III 26
Larne Thirds defeated Carrick Fourths 26-23 at Tom Simms Memorial Park on Saturday.
In stark contrast to the start of the previous week’s game, Larne came out ready to hit the ground running.
Larne edged ahead with D. Campbell scoring the first try and Stephen Marshall adding the conversion.
Carrick began to force ever closer to the Larne line before their prop crashed over from a few metres out for an unconverted score.
Larne hit back with great vision from Marshall putting A. Murray in position to break the Carrick line and score another five points. Marshall added another two points from the conversion.
Larne, now with their tails well and truly up, held firm in defence, led by A. Darragh.
With their path blocked to the line, Carrick could only add another three points from a penalty in the first half.
As the half drew to a close, hooker S. Smith showed blistering pace and footwork to score a fantastic try from just inside the Carrick half to go into the half-time break leading 19-8.
The second-half started much like the first, with no change in the ferocity of the tackling and again Larne scored first as Murray crossed the line for his second try of the day. Marshall added his third conversion to the tally.
Soon after, Darragh left the field with an injury which seemed to dampen Larne’s defensive spirit. Taking advantage of this, Carrick upped their game.
Larne held strong as long as they could before succumbing as Carrick scored their first try of the half, although it went unconverted.
The home side’s strong forward play continued and eventually scored another two unconverted tries to finish the game 26-23.
Line-up: J. Butler, S. Smith, R. Adair , G. Jameson, P. Reid, D. Campbell, S. McDowell, J. McKinty, A. Darragh, S. Marshall, J. Thompson, A. Murray, S. McWhirter, S. Downey, C. Aston, A. O’Toole, M. Alcorn, C. Weir.
Fixtures: Larne 1sts v Donegal Town; Portadown v Larne 2nds; Larne 3rds v Ballynahinch.
n Larne RFC is to host a two-day ‘Come and Try Rugby’ event at Glynn on Thursday, October 31 and Friday, November 1. More details at: www.larnerfc.com.