Larne begin Cup defence with demolition of Ophir

Action from Larne RFC and Ophir at the Glynn. INLT 40-031-PSB
Action from Larne RFC and Ophir at the Glynn. INLT 40-031-PSB

Larne got their defence of the Gordon West Cup off to a flying start with the 78-13 demolition of Ophir in their Group A match on Saturday.

After a patient start the home side edged ahead after Mark McIlheron, who was on Steve McReynolds shoulder, went over for Aaron McBride to add the extras.

Larne stretched their lead with some outstanding rugby, seeing tries from Ryan McAllister and Jonny Hall. McBride added two more conversions before Ophir showed what they were capable of with a David Walker penalty followed by a great try from Paddy McCabe. Ophir failed to add further points from the resulting conversion.

With half-time looming, the biggest roar of the day went up when prop Willy Rea thundered over.

Again Ophir hit back and when Karl Davis went in at the corner for an unconverted score to leave it 38-13 at half-time.

In the second session, Larne’s backs wreaked havoc largely thanks to Jordan Burns (3), whose powerful bursts make him difficult to stop, and Rhys Thomas (2), who looks the real deal at number 12. Phil Andrews, who replaced the injured McBride, and skipper Ryan Garrett also landed tries as the floodgates opened.

Man of the Match Eddie Hunter turned in a faultless performance, bagging two tries.

The match was blown up early as Ophir heads went down but it was far from an easy ride until Larne cut loose in the last quarter.

A massive challenge awaits Larne away to Limavady in the league on October 4. Ophir, meanwhile, are back in action this weekend as they get their Qualifying 3 campaign under way with a trip to Lurgan.

Larne (1-17): Gibson, McAlister, Rea, McReynolds, Crampsey, Cole, Hunter, McIlheron, R. Garrett (c), McBride, Agnew, Thomas, Burns, Montgomery, Hall, Andrews, Johnston.

In Saturday’s other Gordon West Group A clash, it was an afternoon to forget for Belfast High School FP as they slumped to a massive 97-10 defeat away to Limavady.