Clogher Valley had the edge over a spirited Larne side, winning 20-13 in Saturday’s Junior Cup clash.
Larne skipper Ryan Garrett was proud of the team display against the Qualifying 1 side.
“It was a gutsy performance and it bodes well fro us going into the next fixture against Lisburn in the league this Saturday,” he said. “Securing safety in Qualifying 2 is the most important goal of this season and it is vital we pick up as many points as possible before Christmas. A win this week will be a big boost in achieving that goal.”
The Glynn men put a lot of early pressure on the Clogher line and kept them pinned deep in their own half. A solid wall of defence prevented Larne from crossing on a few occasions but the pressure took it’s toll when a penalty was awarded for an infringement at the breakdown, allowing Phil Andrews to slot over for the hosts.
Clogher started to find their feet and responded with their number eight crashing over to put the visitors in front. The hosts started to feel the pressure for the first time and as the visitors marched upfield again from the kick-off, they worked the ball well round the corner, stretching the Larne defence. As one of the Clogher forwards stretched for the line he had appeared to be held up just short but the referee awarded the try which went unconverted.
As the teams exchanged penalties in the opening 10 minutes of the second half it was unclear who was going to make the breakthrough to score the next try. As the pace of the match slowed down, the Clogher back row went on a rampaging run up the middle of the pitch and the Larne defence could do little to stop them. Two delicate off-loads saw their captain race away from the covering defenders to dot down under the posts and give the visitors a 6 – 20 advantage.
The tempo of the match started to pick up and Larne started to dominate territory and possession yet again.
As Clogher cleared their lines the ball landed into the hands of Jordan Burns who set off on one of his trademark runs. As he brushed off a number of attempted tackles and touched down under the posts.
With only seven points in it and five minutes left on the clock the Larne men had the tails up but Clogher held on to progress to the quarter-finals.