Carrickfergus U19s sponsored by IBS, won their Plate final against Clogher Valley on Saturday after making one of the best come backs by a Carrick side in years. The game was played at the Mid-Ulster arena in Cookstown, in front of over one hundred enthusiastic supporters but they did not expect to see their team loosing by 17 points after a similar amount of time. Clogher capitalised on some early poor decision making by Carrick, combined with a strong breeze to score two converted tries, along with a spectacular drop goal from their impressive out half.
Following some rallying words from coach Warren McClean, Carrick started to make in roads through their forwards with strong running from Ian McMenamin, Ryan McKay, Bradley Young and Mark Ferris enabled a try for Johnny Murray, who had recently been named as player of the season. The score only seemed to galvanise the side who continued to rubble through the opposition until the ball was released to winger Cameron Ward to go over.
With the crowd now believing that Carrick had done enough to put themselves in contention for the second half, captain Marcus Brush intercepted the ball on the half away and score the third try and his fifteenth of the season. This left the half time score 17 pts to 15 pts in favour of Clogher.
The second half was a more scrappy affair, through a combination of poor decisions by the referee and numerous injuries but after 10 minutes Adam Kendell kicked a penalty to put Carrick in the lead for the first time. Clogher then went back ahead with 15 minutes to go with a converted try. A series of penalties enabled Carrick to progress up the pitch and through Chris Taylor who had dominated the line out all day, Carrick were able to get themselves in a position for man of the match Jack Millar to score from close range under the posts. This enabled Adam Kendell to convert the try and put Carrick in front 25pts to 24pts with 2 mins to play. This left the Carrick support with a nervous few moments until the final whistle was blown, which triggered celebrations from all present.
The win was well deserved by Carrick particularly by the pack who took the game to Clogher Valley in all aspects and this leaves the team looking forward to playing Malone in the semi-final of the Knutty Crust on Tuesday night at 7.45 in Portadown. Special mention must got Stuart Davis and Adam Reid who went through considerable effort to reach the game.
Finally the players would like to thank the team sponsor Charlie Hannah of IBS, along with Junior Vice President Bill Crymble, as well as all the supporters who made the long journey.