Larne Rugby Club’s dream of winning back-to-back Gordon West Cup finals was comprehensively crushed at the home of Ulster Rugby on Saturday.
There was to be no repeat of the rapturous scenes that greeted the Glynn men when they won the competition 12 months ago, as a clinical Limavady side blazed to victory at the Kingspan Stadium, securing their senior side’s first-ever trophy success.
The north-west outfit ran in eight tries, with Larne’s Eddie Hunter scoring his side’s only touchdown of the afternoon. And the Lims’ success on the big stage was the first time they have beaten the Qualifying Three champions in four attempts this year.
On a day when conditions were perfect for running rugby, Limavady took the game to the pre-match favourites and holders and it was Daniel Irvine who got his side off to the perfect start when scored in the corner with just three minutes on the clock.
A good start became a great start seven minutes later when, following another attack down the Larne right, it was number eight Richard McCollum who crashed over.
High on confidence Limavady were exposing gaps on the expansive Ravenhill pitch and on 17 minutes the exceptional Jamie Miller gave Larne a mountain to climb when he broke through two tackles and raced clear from 30 meters for try number three. Pearse McNickle added the conversion.
Seventeen points in the opening 17 minutes is one way to settle any possible pre-match nerves.
Rattled Larne rallied and they got the scoreboard ticking when out-half Phil Andrews kicked a penalty, but any ideas they had of starting a comeback were quickly dispelled as Chrissy Hunter touched down for try number four following great work from 19-year-old Luke Faulkner and Jordan.
Faulkner then got in on the scoring act when he exploited another gap in the Larne rearguard, leaving the half-time score 29-3 to Limavady.
The momentum was maintained early in the second session when Faulkner nipped touched down under the posts. McNickle added his third conversion of the afternoon to make it 36-3.
Following another steal from a Larne lineout, Limavady’s retiring ex captain, Ian Campbell reacted quickest to a loose ball and score try number seven.
Larne resored some pride when number eight Hunter got in for a score on 71 minutes.
But there was still time for one last Limavady score. On 76 minutes replacement Adam Miller sneaked down the blind side and just managed to get the ball grounded.
Limavady team: P. Wilson, P. McNickle, C. Hunter, G. Jordan, R. Moore, L.Faulkner, J. Miller. C.Scott, I. Campbell, J. McCollum, M.Rice, M. McCollum, D. Irvine, P. Semple, R.McCollum.
Larne panel: Forwards - Derek Lough, Danny Hagan, Craig Gibson, Chris Rea, James McCluggage, Matt Crampsey, Steven McReynolds, Mark McIlheron, Jonny Cole, Ryan McAlister, Eddie Hunter. Backs - Ryan Garrett, Phil Andrews, Rhys Thomas, Jordan Burns, Scott Montgomery, Matt Agnew, Aaron McBride, Ricky McIlheron, Jonny Hall.