RUGBY: Larne get the better of Carrick in Junior Cup

Larne RFC's Jordan Burns on the attack against Carrick RFC in Saturday's Junior Cup game. INCT 39-033-PSB
Larne RFC's Jordan Burns on the attack against Carrick RFC in Saturday's Junior Cup game. INCT 39-033-PSB

Larne stunned Carrickfergus Rugby Club on Saturday after they edged a 20-19 Junior Cup win on Saturday at Tom Simms Memorial Park.

The home side dominated possession in the early stages but it was Larne, with the breeze helping them in the opening half, who scored first. After 10 minutes they ran back a poor Carrick clearance kick and McBride threw a long pass to Ryan Garrett who, in turn, found Jordan Burns who raced into the corner from 40 metres untouched for a try which Phil Andrews converted.

Four minutes later Carrick reduced the deficit with a Luke Whittlal penalty but the visitors continued to look the more threatening of the two sides and increased their lead after 23 minutes when Garrett took a quick tap before the defence could retreat and rounded the full-back to go over for another five-pointer.

The visitors continued to make good use of the wind to control territory but were helped by a number of Carrick turn-overs, not all under pressure, and deservedly increased their lead just a couple of minutes short of half-time when Burford picked his moment to barrage his way over. Poor discipline after the try allowed Carrick to add another three points from Whittal’s excellent penalty.

Carrick began the second half strongly and got their reward with a try by left-winger Brian Alexander after eight minutes. This followed a break by Kenny Topping and carries by Keith McNeil and Adam Gibney, before Alexander found space down the left-hand touch line to go in at the corner.

Ten minutes later the home side further reduced the deficit with another Whittal penalty before taking the lead on 20 minutes when Ryan McGonigle touched down following a line-out catch-and-drive close in. The try was not converted, but Carrick had their noses in front at 19-17.

When Larne missed with a penalty kick which would have restored their lead, it seemed the momentum of the game had changed in Carrick’s favour. But with 10 minutes of normal time to go, Larne regained the lead with a penalty when the Carrick defenders strayed offside.

Andrews made no mistake with the resulting kick and although Carrick did manage to hang onto the ball through four or five phases, the visitors forced them to play most of the remaining time in their own half and held out for the win.