Qualifying Three: Larne skipper Ryan Garrett has praised his side after they battled to claim a 13-8 win over Limavady in their league opener.
“It was a great start to the campaign and although it is only the first game of the season it is a big advantage,” said Garrett. “The team showed true grit to dig out the win against a strong Limavady side.”
It was the visitors who had all the early pressure and only a scramble in defence kept them out with notable tackles from Montgomery and McIlheron.
But the pressure finally told with an infringement around the ruck giving Limavady an early three-point lead.
Garrett managed to disrupt the ball at the back of a Limavady scrum and he chased it downfield to recover possession. Great support from Jordan Burns saw him take the off-load and hold off three would-be tacklers to score in the corner giving Larne a 5-3 lead at half-time.
Burns was unlucky not to bag a second after the break as the ball just rolled over the dead ball line before he could reach it.
The dominance of the visitors at set-pieces gave them more impetus but solid defending preserved Larne’s adavantage.
Larne’s confidence was growing and Garrett picked up loose ball and made a break up the blind side to throw an inside pass to Mills who powered over from 10 metres, taking three limavady defenders with him, to score in the corner. The conversion was missed but Andrews added a penalty moments later to give the home team a 13-3 advantage.
With both sides going down to 14 men after yellow cards, and Larne later reduced to 13 after an injury to Johnston, space began to open up. Limavady took advantage of the extra man and scored a try in the last play of the game.
n Larne Seconds suffered a 32-15 defeat at the hands of their Omagh counterparts. Larne’s points came from a Cary Aston penalty and tries from James Bell and Johnny McKinty.
n A minute’s silence was observed prior to Saturday’s games by both the 1st and 2nd XVs after the passing of Sid Benson, a club stalwart and former 1st XV captain and president.