Larne 2nds Beat Rivals Carrick in Crawford Plate
On Saturday 18th February Larne 2nd XV played host to Carrickfergus 2nd XV in the quarter final of the Crawford Plate.
From the very start both teams exchanged blows on an even footing with Larne narrowly missing an opportunity to take an early lead through a missed penalty. Bulldozing runs from Larne centre Ty Mackness and veteran full back Gareth ‘Razor’ Rennix were, but he game itself remain balanced at 0-0 for 30 minutes before Larne struck a successful penalty kick through inside centre Aaron Carter.
Following this Larne maintained most of the possession until half time with flanker Adam Maguire stealing 3 Carrick line out throws with some beautifully timed leaps. At half time the game saw the crowd size triple as the 1st VX game was called off early.
Carrick were first to strike in the second half however with a penalty kick of their own, levelling the game at 3-3. The extra support galvanised the Larne engine and after some fantastic scrummaging from the entire Larne pack on the Carrick 5 metre line, number 8 Colin McKinty picked and bulldozed his way through 3 Carrick would be tacklers. The try was converted by Carter and Larne looked to press their 10-3 lead. Unfortunately some tired legs allowed Carrick to spread the ball wide and score an unconverted try leaving the game poised at 10-8 with 20 minutes remaining.
Carrick through wave after wave at the Larne defence that scrambled and rallied without respite. Monumental defensive efforts were on display from the Larne 1-15, notably second rowers Marc Gilbert & Kirk McEwan, flanker James Bell and Aaron Carter.
The last ten minutes saw the Carrick attack swell as they enjoyed all the possession and launched their juggernaut inside the Larne 22.
Scrum half Ricky McIlheron using his experience to marshal and lead the defensive line. The Carrick attack culminated in a scrum 5 metres from the Larne try line at last play. The Carrick number 8 picked and was met by McIlheron. A further try saving tackle from Matthew Calwell kept Carrick at bay long enough for the cavalry to arrive. The final assault on the Larne line was a maul halted by the entire Larne pack.
The referee called an end to proceedings and Larne ran out 10-8 winners. A fantastic win for the Larne men in a thriller of a game that the men of Fortress Glynn thoroughly deserved for the grit, discipline and resilience they exemplified all afternoon.