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Welcome To The Back Of The Stand

This is the post excerpt.

Hi there folks and welcome to the Back Of The Stand. My name is Paul and like most people I have a great passion for sport, particularly GAA and rugby. On here you will find various match reports and thoughts that I have on current issues not just in the world of GAA and rugby, but also other sports.

As the site is called Back Of The Stand, I thought that the only way to start the blog is to post a picture of myself sitting in the world famous Olympic Stadium in Berlin. Here I am not quite at the Back Of The Stand, but in the VIP box on the half way line. This iconic arena has played host to various soccer finals including the 2006  World Cup Final, 2015 Champions League final and of course the 1936 Olympic Games.

I hope you enjoy the blog and my posts, and feel free to comment on issues. Remember, it’s ‘Good To Talk’. 

Gordon West Cup Quarter Final Preview

The league takes a back seat this week as the Gordon West cup takes centre stage. Holders Cavan face a big ask to keep their hands on the trophy while for the second week in a row, 2016 winners Lurgan travel to Strabane in an eagerly awaited tie.

Cavan (Holders) v Donaghadee

1st Round Cavan Bye
BHSFP 5 Donaghadee 36

Cup Wins: Cavan 1. 2017. Donaghadee. 0

County Cavan RFC created a bit of history last year in winning this competition for the first-time. Just like last year they have struggled for consistency in the league and they may be feeling a little frustrated that they haven’t progressed in the league as well as they have. Home advantage may be a bonus but Donaghadee will have too much experience for the Breffni lads as they look for their first GW cup triumph.

Donegal Town v Holywood

1st Round Donegal Town Bye
1st Round Holywood Bye

Cup Wins: Donegal Town 0. Holywood 1. 2013/14.

Neither side has had much to shout about this season. Donegal Town’s fate was sealed last week and will play in the junior league next season while Holywood look to have done just enough to avoid a relegation play-off. Holywood would be expected to prevail in this one but wouldn’t be expected to be climbing the steps of the Kingspan Stadium in April.

Newry v Monaghan

1st Round Newry 31 Virginia 0
1st Round Monaghan 38 Letterkenny 0

Cup Wins. Newry 0. Monaghan 1. 2012/13

Monaghan are enjoying a very fine season and would be fancied by a few to upset the one of the big two if they ever get the chance. And who would rule that out from happening when you look at the history of this competition. Newry would fancy their chances against anyone at Telford Park, but back in September Monaghan left the Miltown Road venue with a bonus point win. Monaghan are playing with great confidence at the minute and their great form should continue at the foot of the Mournes.

Strabane v Lurgan

1st Round Civil Service 0 Strabane 41
1st Round Lurgan Bye.

Cup Wins Strabane 0. Lurgan 2. 1999/00, 2015/16.

A repeat of the first ever Gordon West Cup final from 2000 which went the way of the Pollock Park side. They will be favourites to prevail in this tussle too after winning at the same venue last week 29-0. This was Lurgan’s second bonus point win over the Tyrone outfit this season and it’s hard to see a Strabane side struggling for form upsetting the league leaders in this one too. With nothing to lose against the cup favourites they will no doubt throw their lot into the battle, but Lurgan should march into the semi-finals. Just maybe not as convincing as last week.

Kukri Rugby Championship Preview

Kukri Rugby Championship Division 1

All eyes will be on the big clash at Doagh this weekend as leaders Instonians go to second placed Ballyclare. An away win will see Inst taking a huge step towards the AIL round robin play-offs. At the other end of the table defeat for Clogher Valley at Portadown could all but end their survival hopes.

Ballyclare v Instonians

At the beginning of last November these two sides played out a cracker at Shaws Bridge. Then Inst held off a strong second half from the then league leaders to win by four points, 17-13. An ability to pick up more bonus points has seen Inst take over at the top and they now hold a six-point lead over their only challengers for the coveted top spot, although they have played a game extra.
Ex Ulster props John Andress and Ricky Lutton will once again square up against one another while Roger Wilson adds further experience to the Shaws Bridge pack. Wingers Matt Kilpatrick and Michael Melville caused all sorts of bother that day before a second half charge from Ballyclare led by Gary Clotworthy and out-half Robert Smith almost snatched an away win.

If Inst are to prevail on Saturday, then they will have to curb Smith’s influence. He constantly at their defence the last day and caused all sorts of trouble. On the other hand, if Lutton, Weatherup and Bartley get a good supply of ball to him, then we could well see the title race go right down to the wire. With home advantage I’m going for a six-point home win.

CIYMS v Dromore

It’s third verses fourth at Belmont as the two sides leading the charge for All-Ireland cup spots go head to head. CI’s recent good run came to and end last week in Enniskillen while Dromore lost to leaders Instonians. All Dromore’s big results have come at Barban Hill. CI score quite well at home but they also concede a lot too. Their concentration in the last quarter of games being their downfall. Dromore’s better fitness may see they record a rare away win.

Coleraine v Carrick

A massive result for Coleraine last against Portadown ended their winless run while Carrick picked up their first win in seven league outings when they saw off Cooke. Coleraine still occupy the play-off spot but do have games in hand. A second win in a week for Carrick could see them stay in the hunt for an AIL cup spot, but it looks like a second home win on the trot for the Bannsiders.

Cooke v Enniskillen

A bonus point win was just what the faithful have been begging for down in Fermanagh last week. They sit two points clear of Coleraine but have played two more games. Cooke are another side that has struggled for consistency this season but have at home they have proven to give the best a run for their money. Just ask Ballyclare. A home win here for Cooke to quell any lingering doubts of being dragged into a scrap for the relegation play-off.

Portadown v Clogher Valley

Despite having the upper hand over Portadown in recent times, it’s hard to see anything past a home win at Chambers Park on Saturday. While Portadown were able to recall on some experienced ‘oul heads’ and claim some much needed wins, Clogher have struggled and have only collected nine league points after twelve games played. They may still be in the Towns Cup, but their fate in the league could be all but sealed come the weekend.

Kukri Championship Division 2

Randalstown are still in pole position for the promotion play-off. Ballymoney unable to make any inroads as they too have seen their form dip while at the bottom UUC picked up their second win of the season to move above the PSNI and give themselves a fighting chance of staying in Championship 2 next season.

Academy v Ards

After a difficult start it’s all going rather well now for Ards. They are still in the Towns Cup and after an impressive win over Randalstown last week they now sit above Academy. The North Belfast side lost to UUC last week after losing their previous game to Lisburn. Form dictates an away win at Roughfort.

Ballymoney v UUC

A local derby at Kilraughts Road this week as third takes on ninth. The students will be buoyed by their surprise win over Academy last week but will find Ballymoney a harder nut to crack. ‘The Toon’ are still in the promotion shake up and should record another home win.

Larne v Lisburn

A convincing win last week over one relegation threated side should be backed with another one this week for Larne. They ran in seven tries last week against the PSNI and will be big favourites to see off Lisburn this week. They might run in seven tries but will still have enough for Lisburn whose season will come down to two games against UUC.

PSNI v Randalstown

Randalstown have hit a wobble the past few weeks. A heavy defeat to Grosvenor has seemed to knock the wind from their sails and this was followed by another defeat on the road to Ards last week. They will however stay in the drivers seat for the promotion play-off with a win at Newfordge over the struggling and now bottom of the table PSNI.

All games kick off at 2.30pm.

Following a death in the Limavady Club, their game with Grosvenor at Gibson Park on Saturday has been postponed and will be played at a later date.

Weekend Junior Rugby Preview

Kukri Rugby Championship Division 1

With Ballyclare in Towns Cup action this weekend, Instonians have the opportunity to extend their lead at the top of Championship 1, while at the other end of the table Enniskillen and Coleraine face big games at home as they battle it out to avoid the relegation play-off.

Carrick v Cooke

After a run of six defeats on the bounce, Carrick finally got back to winning ways with a 52-12 win at Strabane in the Towns Cup. A score line that both managers agreed was sore on the losers and reflective of the game. However, a win is a win and will this result will no doubt help restore some confidence in the camp. Consistency has been Cooke’s big issue this season. Unable to back up one good display with another. Carrick’s bigger pack and mobile back row may just prove to be the difference and help Carrick to a home win.

Coleraine v Portadown

What has happened to Coleraine? Last season’s Championship 2 winners were fancied to do well this year, and early season form suggested that they would do well. But a run of poor form and a home defeat to Championship 2’s Randalstown has raised more questions than answers. Portadown on the other hand have pulled off a great escape act and it would be no surprise to see them win at Rugby Avenue.

Enniskillen v CIYMS

CI have been involved in some great high scoring contests of late, but as good as they have been in attack, they have been just as bad in defence. Carrick almost nicked a win at Belmont two weeks after being 21 points down with 15 minutes to go, so CI will need to improve the concentration levels as well as working on their defence. The going is usually heavy in Enniskillen and the East Belfast side will find it hard going to notch up 30 plus points for the fourth time in five games. They still may have enough to see off the Erne side and put more pressure on the Skins at the wrong end of the table.

Instonians v Dromore

There is no greater motivation in sport like revenge. Instonians will have been waiting for this fixture since the sides last crossed paths on the 14th October last year. The Inst Old Boys led 19-0 with less than a quarter of the game to go but Dromore fought back to claim a 21-19 victory. This so far has been Instonians only reverse this season. You can expect a lightning start from the home side in this one as Inst go in pursuit of extending their lead at the top of Championship 1.

Kukri Rugby Championship Division 2

Runaway league leaders Grosvenor are still unbeaten and since their last Championship match have bagged the Conference 2 title following a comprehensive win over Banbridge 2nds. The Stags are still unbeaten in their own league and following a win over Ards two weeks ago, it’s hard to see anyone beating them at the minute.

Ards v Randalstown

Ards have shown great form since the turn of the year and now have their sights on a top four finish, as well as an extended run in the Towns Cup. Back in October Randalstown coasted to a 20-point win over the Ards Men, but this encounter looks set to be a lot tighter. Randalstown had a great win in Coleraine last week while Ards had a good win over Ballymoney. Two teams on form with very little to separate them at the final whistle.

Grosvenor v Ballymoney

After taking Championship 2 by storm the surprise element has gone from Ballymoney’s game. Their recent form has been poor with just one win in three league games as well as being dumped out of the Towns Cup. No one looks like stopping the Grosvenor juggernaut and it’s hard to look past anything else than another home win.

Larne v PSNI

Larne have nothing to play for but pride, but they did show in Limavady two weeks ago that they have no intention of letting their season fizzle out. PSNI are struggling for points and will probably experience another tough afternoon at The Glynn on Saturday.

Lisburn v Limavady

While Limavady look to have done enough to stave off any fears of a relegation play-off, the same cannot be said about their hosts. This game is huge for Lisburn and one more victory may just be enough to make the relegation battle a two-horse race between the PSNI and UUC. Limavady are in a rich vein of form at the minute but are down five players for the trip to Blaris. Lisburn may just make it two home wins on the bounce following their victory over Academy two weeks ago.

UUC v Academy

UUC may be given some hope that Academy lost on their last day out to Lisburn. Still chasing their second win of the season, the students remain bottom and face an up-hill battle to hold on to their Championship 2 status. Academy had been on a great run of form before that recent defeat and they should get back to winning ways in the North-West.

Kukri Championship Division 3

Donaghadee played their game in hand last week and their bonus point win over Newry saw them cut Lurgan’s lead to just three points. Monaghan won again while the game of the day is in the North-West as league leaders Lurgan travel to play Strabane.

Cavan v Letterkenny

County Cavan sit comfortably in mid table and will hope to get a good run out before they start the defence of the Gordon West Cup. Letterkenny are out of the cup but a recent home defeat to Newry has kept them dangerously close to the relegation zone. Their away form this season has been very poor, and you can’t see it getting any better in Cavan.

Civil Service v Donaghadee

Second from bottom against second from top. Since defeat to Lurgan in December The Dee have brought a more ruthless edge to their game and they should be too strong at Stormont for Service.

Holywood v Monaghan

Monaghan have been the most improved side in the division this season. Currently occupying third spot they will more than fancy their chances of claiming an away win at Kerr Park. Their defence is also in great form as they have kept four of their last five opponents scoreless. Holywood may have just done enough to avoid a relegation play off but won’t be climbing the table any further after Saturday as Monaghan should claim another win on the road in North Down.

Newry v Donegal Town

Two weeks ago, Newry surprised the division’s other Donegal side, Letterkenny, with a win in the North West. As they prepare for the visit of Monaghan next week they should run out convincing winners over the division’s bottom club who have still to register any points this season.

Strabane v Lurgan

The big game of the day and a dress rehearsal for next weeks Gordon West Cup quarter final at the same venue. This leads to a dilemma for Strabane Coach Paul O’Kane. Out of the promotion race does he keep his cards close to his chest and then play his full hand the following week? For Lurgan this game is the most important one. No doubt they would love to get back to another Kingspan final, but if the club wants to make any progress, then promotion must be their number one goal. Lurgan will be hoping that captain Ryan Wilson’s injury isn’t as bad as first looked. The influential No. 8 left the field last week against Limavady in some distress after suffering an arm injury. This will be a hard-fought battle with the league leaders just shading it come the end.

Virginia v Belfast High School Former Pupils

A long road trip for the Greenisland club to South Cavan. Like Monaghan, Virginia have made great strides this season as a successful youth policy begins to reap rewards. A home win is on the cards here as Virginia hope to close the gap on Strabane should they fail to pick up anything in their clash with Lurgan.

Dan’s The Man As Limavady Run Riot

River Rock Towns Cup Round 2

Limavady 42 Lurgan 5

Number 8 Daniel Irvine was the star of the show at the John Hunter Memorial Grounds as Limavady ran in seven tries against Championship 3 leaders Lurgan. The all action forward helped himself to four tries as the Roesiders laid a ghost to rest following their Gordon West Cup final defeat to the same opposition two years ago.

Limavady took the game to the visitors from the first minute and played with real aggression and pace. Lurgan’s much talked about pack were caught off guard as the Limavady pack laid an early marker forcing the Mid-Ulster side into conceding numerous penalties. These penalties gave Limavady a strong foothold in the game from an early stage and this helped lay the foundations for a convincing victory.

Any chances of another cup shock from the Pollock Park side were gone after the first quarter. Leading 13-0 Limavady were camped in the Lurgan half following Irvine’s first try and one from Michael Rice. Limavady brought a tempo to their play which Lurgan wouldn’t have faced this season and ran at their opponents at every opportunity, and at the turnaround led 25-0 with further major scores from Daniel Irvine (2) and Peter Wilson.

Peter Wilson claimed his second try on 54 minutes following a break from William McCleery. Following a flutter of yellow cards, one for Lurgan and two for Limavady, Limavady crossed the whitewash again on 65 minutes when Irvine touched down for his fourth score. Lurgan did capitalise on the numerical difference between the sidesspo three minutes later to create an overlap that saw winger Richie Hull to touch down for a consolation score.

But this was to be Limavady’s day and in the closing minutes Full Back Tom McClelland scored to book their place in the quarter-finals.

A disappointing day for Lurgan and they now must turn their attentions to a big double header with Strabane over the next two weeks in the league and the Gordon West Cup. For Limavady their recent good form continues and a win away to Lisburn will quell any lingering doubts over any involvement in a relegation play-off.

Teams:
Limavady 1-8: Rory Squires, Luke Montgomery, Clive Scott, Colin Henry, Michael Rice, Sam Mackey, Perry Semple, Daniel Irvine.

9-15: Jamie Millar, Peter Wilson, Stuart Roddy, Jamie Mo Millar, William McCleery, Jack Elliott, Tom McClelland.

Replacements: John McColhum, Thomas MacAuley.

Lurgan 1-8: Ryan Emerson, Josh Lyness, Andy Grey, Richard Shilliday, Neil Adamson, Graeme Bell, Lee Allen, Dean Wilson.

9-15: Chris Jenks, Dylan Gill, Ryan Mooney, James Andrews, Mark McIlwaine, Ryan Mooney, Stephen Nolan.
Replacements: Alan Conn, Richie Hull.

Referee: Mr Garrett Davey

River Rock Towns Cup Rd 2

River Rock Towns Cup Round 2
The eight Championship 1 sides join the eight winners from round 1 for a second round of this years Towns Cup. Carrick will hope to put their recent poor run of results behind them and avoid a giant killing act from Strabane while there is a repeat of the Junior Cup Final at Ballymacran Park.

Strabane v Carrick

After hardly winning any games for four years, Strabane are enjoying a renaissance at the minute. A fourth-place finish last year their best finish in five years looks like being matched at worst this year. There is also a great bit of work being done at underage in both the club and local schools. Carrick will travel West hoping to leave their poor league form behind them. With nothing to lose Strabane will throw everything they have at the Championship 1 side, but Carrick should have enough to avoid an upset.

Limavady v Lurgan

Another road trip for Lurgan is their reward after seeing off Lisburn in round 1, and they will head to another Championship 2 side with no fear at all. This tie is a repeat of the 2016 Gordon West Cup Final were Lurgan came out on top by a single point thanks to a last minute Stephen Nolan try. That game was an epic battle and this one has all the makings of a great tie too. Limavady have shown a lot more resolve lately and with home advantage they might just get one back on the Championship 3 side and advance to the quarter finals.

Coleraine v Randalstown

It’s been a difficult few months for Coleraine after a positive start to life back in the top tier of junior rugby. They are currently occupying the relegation play-off spot but do have games in hand over their rivals. Maybe a cup run might be the tonic to get their season back on the track. If they do end up in the same position at the season’s end, then Randalstown could well be their opponents. The Bannsiders were regular visitors to Ulster Rugby HQ on Easter Monday not that long ago but times have changed. They aren’t among the favourites this year but with a backline containing Carstens and Poskitt Coleraine should edge a closely fought battle.

Clogher Valley v Dromore

Clogher last tasted success in the Towns Cup in 2014 when they appeared in five finals in six years. Times have changed in South Tyrone and they are hanging on to their Championship 1 status by a thread. Dromore on the other hand are having a fine season and are pushing hard for an All-Ireland cup spot for next season. Dromore haven’t made the Easter Monday showpiece since 1998 and surprisingly, have never won it. They will be eager to right that and should start this year’s campaign with an away win.

Ballynahinch 2nds (Holders) v Armagh 2nds

The tie of the round and a repeat of this season’s Junior Cup decider. Armagh have been impressive this season and their only defeats have been to the Hinch Men. The Kingspan encounter before Christmas was a tough evening for the Orchard side as Ballynahinch flexed their muscles and ran out comfortable winners. Expect a similar outcome on Saturday as the holders embark on another cup run.

Ballymena 2nds v Ballyclare

A big test for Ballyclare. Do they continue with the side that has seen them contest for the Championship 1 title, or do they rest a few players with their huge league game against Instonians which is looming on the horizon? Will they be able to juggle contesting a cup as well as a league challenge at this time of the year? This remains to be seen. They should prevail at Eaton Park on Saturday, but with Instonians having a free Saturday, it will be interesting to see whose name is on the team sheet, and who’s isn’t.

Ards v Ballymoney

Before Christmas most people would’ve had this down as an away win, but the results of the last few weeks would have resulted in a re-think by many. Myself included. Ards did give Grosvenor a fright last week before the champions elect pulled away late on. Ballymoney halted their recent slump by beating the PSNI last week which would’ve restored the feel-good factor around Kilraughts. A tight battle that should keep the spectators on their toes and with Ards at home, that may just tip the balance in their favour. Maybe after extra-time too.

Portadown v Enniskillen

Both these sides can put their league troubles behind them for a week and play with a bit more freedom in this weekend’s cup clash. Enniskillen are still heavily involved in a relegation battle while one more win will keep Portadown in Championship 1 for next season. The Ports did enjoy a recent 28-0 win in Enniskillen a few weeks back. A win which transformed their season. Enniskillen have been runners-up in the last two finals which proves that league form matters little when it comes to the cup, but on current form it’s hard to see it being third time lucky.

All games on Saturday kick off at 2.30pm with extra time to be played in the event of a draw after 80 minutes.

Poly Storm The Ranch

Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup Round 1

St Marys College Belfast (Holders) 1-09 UUJ 0-17

University of Ulster Jordanstown booked a home quarter-final against University of Limerick next Tuesday after seeing off holders St Marys Belfast at a cold and windy Woodlands in Belfast this afternoon. Played on a 4G surface ‘The Poly’ adapted to the conditions the better and outscored their opponents 0-10 to 1-02 in the second half to record what was in the end, a comfortable win.

Playing into the wind in the first half UUJ started off by running at the Ranch defence and after 11 mins led 0-03 to 0-01. Once St Marys eventually got their rigid defence system in place and helped by the dominance in the middle sector of the field from Cathal McShane and Oisin O’Neill they went on to lead 0-05 to 0-03 after 18 mins. Crossmaglen player O’Neill was pivotal to everything St Mary’s were doing and he was involved with Conor Meyler in setting up McShane for a goal chance, but the Tyrone Man saw his shot cannon off the crossbar.

With the wind showing no signs of dying down St Marys added to their tally through Niall Toner and that Man O’Neill, but Jordanstown clawed their way back on the scoreboard through two Lee Brennan frees. Facing a one-point deficit, it was Jordanstown who went in at the break the happier.

HT St Marys Belfast 0-07 UUJ 0-06

Daire Gallagher kicked a score from the first play of the second half for the Poly, but Darragh Kavanagh replied for the Ranch instantly. But that’s as good as it got for Paddy Tally’s side as the UUJ attacked with more purpose to score the next seven points. An Oisin O’Neill free did stop the rot in the 52 minutes but they were requiring goals as their grasp on the Sigerson Cup was slipping away. It was UUJ’s Mark Bradley who came closest to finding a three pointer but Mark Ried was equal to his well struck shot to tip the ball around a post.

Lee Brennan brought his tally to 0-07 while substitute Terence O’Brien also got on the scoresheet as the clock ticked into injury time. St Mary’s did grab an injury time goal when Oisin O’Neill’s 13 metre free went to the net, but it mattered little as UUJ lay down a marker for this years bid of being crowned the top college side in Ireland.

Scorers:
St Marys: Oisin O’Neill 1-04 1-03F, Cathal McShane 0-02, Stephen McConville 0-01, Niall Toner 0-01, Darragh Kavanagh 0-01.

UUJ: Lee Brennan 0-07 4F, Mark Bradley 0-03, Niall Madine 0-02, Ryan McAnspie 0-01, Ronan McNamee 0-01, Daire Gallagher 0-01, Danny Tallon 0-01.
Yellow Cards:
St Marys: Cathal McShane 44 mins.
UUJ: None
Black Cards:
St Marys: Liam Devlin 42 mins replaced by Aaron Boyle.

UUJ: Eoin McHugh 40 mins replaced by Terence O’Brien, Ruairi McGlone 61 mins. Not replaced.

Teams:

St Marys: Mark Reid, Colm Byrne, Jack Hannigan, Kyle Mallon, Ciaran Mac Iomhair, Caolan McConville, Liam Rafferty, Liam Devlin, Cathal McShane, Stephen McConville, Oisin O’Neill, Jarlath Og Burns, Niall Toner, Darragh Kavanagh, Conor Meyler.

Subs: Conor Convery for Jarlath Og Burns 49 mins. Ciaran Corrigan for Liam Rafferty 50 mins.

UUJ: Sean Fox, Malachy Magee, Michael McKernan, Rory Brenan, Ryan McAnspie, Ronan McNamee, Gareth McKinless, Frank Burns, Johnny Munroe, Eoin McHugh, Mark Bradley, Daire Gallagher, Lee Brennan, Niall Madine, Danny Tallon.

Subs: Michael McEvoy for Danny Tallon 58 mins, Conor Burke for Michael McKernan 59 mins, Cillian McCann for Malachy Magee 59 mins, Ruairi McGlone for Ryan McAnspie 59 mins.

Referee: Mr Barry Cassidy.

CI See Off Late Carrick Comeback

Kukri Rugby Championship Division 1

CIYMS 38 Carrick 34

You certainly get your money’s worth at Belmont on a Saturday afternoon. Last week against Portadown CI claimed a narrow win in game that produced nine tries. This week they shared twelve with Carrick in a game that they just hung on to claim the win after being twenty-one points to the good after 67 minutes.

It took two minutes for the first score to arrive. Carrick’s Bradley Luney made a break through the home rear guard and off loaded to Ryan McGonigle who touched down for an unconverted try. The response from CI was swift and decisive. Craig Devlin took a high ball kicked from the Carrick backs and ran through several tackles to set up Scott Dowle. Mark McConkey ran for try number two on 11 minutes and when Centre Matthew Kilgore intercepted a pass on 19 minutes, it looked like CI were on their way to an easy victory leading 21-5.

The East Antrim side hung in and a big hit from second row Chris Rodgers saw David Moore touch down for a try after pouncing on a loose ball. There was still time for another play and replacement Stuart Fergusson pounced at the side of a ruck for a bonus point try and a sixteen-point half time lead.

HT CIYMS 26 Carrick 10

After a good half time talking to from their managers Carrick brought a bit more aggression to their play in the second half and backed by a strong wind they took the game to CI. They got their just rewards for their positive play on 53 minutes when tight-head prop Paul Greenaway scored. Adam White kicked the extras and a comeback was on, or so we thought.

Bradley Luney picked up a yellow card for a dangerous tackle and CI made the most of the power play to score two tries through Scott Dowle and Aaron Kilpatrick. Matthew Kilgore hit a great conversion from the side line into the wind, and at 38-17 with 13 minutes left to play CI were looking home and dry.

For a side going through a slump in recent weeks, Carrick showed tremendous character in the last 10 minutes and were rewarded for their effort with three tries. David McKeen got the fourth try on 70 minutes to claim a try scoring bonus point and with two minutes to go Full Back Fionn McCormick scored to reduce the arrears to nine points. Carrick were now only two points from claiming a second point from the game but there was only one minute of playing time left.

From the restart CI were penalised after a forward was found guilty of entering a ruck from the side. Adam White kicked the penalty deep into the CI half and from their lineout the ball eventually found its way to Flanker Bradley Luney for their sixth try of the game in the 83rd minute of play.
The conversion was missed and then referee McGreer brought play to an end.

CI hung on for the win to keep up the recent good form while Carrick’s winless run stretches to six matches.

Teams

CIYMS: 1-8: Aaron Kilpatrick, Scott McNarry, Timothy Acheson, Cory Tipping, David Cobain, Jason Gilliland, Scott Dowle, Mark McConkey.

9-15: Cameron Stewart, Patrick Beverland, Peter Raine, Matthew Kilgore, Matthew Butler, Craig Devlin, Nathan Burns.

Replacements: Stuart Fergusson, Patrick Aiken.

Carrick: 1-9: David McKeen, Alan Whitley, Paul Greenaway, Stuart Currie, Chris Rodgers, Bradley Luney, Ryan McGonigle, Andy McKeen.

9-15: Conor Cambridge, David Carse, David Moore, Adam White, Pete Simpson, Simon White, Fionn McCormack.

Replacements: Gareth McKeown, Nathan Greenwood.

Referee: Mr Robbie McGreer.