After defeat at the hands of Instonians in their opening League fixture, the Maxol-sponsored Carrick 1st XV bounced back with a bonus point 33 points to 3 victory over Enniskillen at Tom Simms Memorial Park on Saturday 16th September. This win lifts them out of the “relegation zone” and into mid-Table, Clogher Valley and Portadown now being the only sides without a win so far. In the wet conditions, Carrick were dominant in all phases – except the line-out where both sides struggled – to such an extent that the Co Fermanagh side rarely looked like scoring a try. The home side, on the other hand, could have had a few more had ball control been better and passes gone to hand. Carrick had a dominant scrum throughout, bossed the break-down and carried strongly. The front five once again deserve the plaudits for their scrummaging, tackling and carrying. Tight head and acting Captain Paul Greenaway capped a fine performance with two tries while hooker Alan Whitley was prominent in the loose and put in a couple of shuddering man and ball tackles. No 8 Ryan McGonigle was, once again, Carrick’s leading ball carrier and was involved in the lead-up to a couple of the tries. Michael Black had a fine game at full-back in difficult conditions while centres Jason Wady and Adam Boyce were excellent in defence and over the ball with the latter putting in a great tackle to snuff out Enniskillen’s one real try-scoring opportunity.
Carrick started strongly and had a great opportunity in the second minute when the visitors lost control of the ball and it was hacked through and gathered by Adam White but the try-scoring pass was not taken. However, after a series of scrums 5 metres out, the home side’s dominance was rewarded with a penalty try to give them a 7 points to nil lead after just four minutes. Five minutes later, they went 14 points to nil up when Paul Greenaway touched down following a strong run by Ryan McGonigle off the base of a scrum. Adam White added the conversion points. Carrick continued to dominate territory and possession but loose passes and knock-ons cost them scoring opportunities. Then, with five minutes to go to half-time, Fionn McCormack ran back a poor Enniskillen clearance kick and, after Carrick has gone through a couple of phases close in, Jason Wady forced his way over. This try was not converted and, on the stroke of half-time, the visitors finally got on the score-board when they converted a penalty from straight in front meaning that Carrick led by 19 points to 3 at the break.
The home side continued to dominate both territory and possession in the early stages of the first half and, after spurning a try-scoring opportunity early on, with some inaccurate passing, they extended their lead eight minutes into the half. Following a charge by Robbie Williams from a line-out in the Enniskillen 22, the ball was taken through a number of phases and Adam Boyce took a good line to go over. Adam White converted and Carrick now led by 26 points to 3. With Carick now well and truly on top, they had a number of further try-scoring opportunities but a combination of the greasy ball and some over-eagerness meant that these were not converted into scores. Eventually, however, the pressure told and a surging rum by Ryan McGonigle set up a ruck close to the Enniskillen line and Paul Greenaway dived over for his second try. This was converted by Adam White to extend Carrick’s lead. The home side continued to dominate although Enniskillen had a late chance from an interception inside their own half but Adam Boyce got back to put in a try-saving tackle. In the closing minutes Carrick were camped in and around the Enniskillen 22 but could not add to their score and the game finished with the home side very convincing 33 points to 3 winners.
This was a confidence boosting win for the young Carrick side and will send them into their away fixture with Dromore next Saturday in a very positive frame of mind. The following Saturday they travel to Enniskillen to renew their acquaintance with the Co Fermanagh side in the second round of the Junior Cup!
The Carrick team which faced Enniskillen was:-
M. Black; P.Simpson, J. Wady, A. Boyce (D. Moore), F. McCormack; A. White, C. Cambridge; D. McKeen (A. Gibney), A. Whitley, P. Greenaway (Capt),C. Rodgers, S. Currie, R. Williams, C.Rea, R. McGonigle.