Larne men lift Gordon West Cup

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Larne secured the Gordon West Cup at Ravenhill after beating Holywood 29 – 12 in a quality final.

Larne’s tries came from Colin McKinty, Jordan Burns and Scott Montgomery with outhalf Phil Andrews adding four penalties and a conversion.

Larne Captain James McCluggage lifts the Gordon West Cup aloft after the victory over Holywood at Holywood. INLT 17-379-PR

Larne Captain James McCluggage lifts the Gordon West Cup aloft after the victory over Holywood at Holywood. INLT 17-379-PR

This was the fourth time that these two Qualifying 3 teams had met this season with Holywood edging the series with two wins to one and it looked as though their run was going to continue as they kept Larne pinned in their own half during the opening exchanges.

In fact things looked decidedly dicey for the East Antrim outfit when a rare breakout was turned over and quickly moved right into acres of space for Holywood to open the scoring with a converted try.

Larne regrouped and got on the scoreboard on the 15th minute with a Phil Andrews penalty and five minutes later they were in front after openside Colin McKinty ripped the ball from a Holywood attacker, smashed through the remaining defenders and sprinted clear to score under the posts. Andrew added the extras and Larne led 10 – 7.

The score appeared to change the momentum of the game as Larne began to get on top in the scrum and at the breakdown giving Andrews the chance to slot over two further penalties before the break to give Larne a 16 -7 lead.

Larne took a decisive lead minutes after the restart when a well worked interchange down the left ended up in the hands of Jordan Burns for the burly winger to swat aside the last defender and cross out wide. The conversion was missed but Larne had struck a decisive blow to lead 21 – 7.

To their credit Holywood refused to lie down and the Co Down side, cheered on by Ulster’s Darren Cave, certainly had their chances, however a monster penalty from Phil Andrews, to push Larne a 24 – 7 ahead, just past the hour mark was a heartbreaker, deflating Holywood and driving Larne on for more.

With Larne captain James McCluggage roaring his boys on from the touchline Larne laid siege to the Holywood line eventually creating space out right for Scott Montgomery to sprint for the line, ably guided by captain McCluggage.

Holywood, who had contributed a lot to an entertaining game, grabbed a late score with the final play of the game to give a final score of Larne 29 Holywood 12.

Larne: Ryan Garrett, Rhys Thomas, Scott montgomery, Ian McIlheron, Jordan Burns, Phil Andrews, Ricky McIlheron, Eddie Hunter, Mark McIlheron, Colin McKinty, jony McKinty, Matt Crampsey, Chris Rea, Gareth Wright, James McCluggage. Replacements: Sam McWhirter, Ryan McAllister, Jonny Cole, Gareth Jameson, Matthew Agnew.