Carrick 1XV in early Junior Cup exit
Posted On: Monday, October 20, 2014
The Maxol sponsored Carrick 1st XV made the trip to the Thomas Mellon Playing Fields on Saturday to face the unbeaten Omagh Accies in the 2nd round of the Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup on a very blustery afternoon. A last minute début call up for hooker Gareth McKeown to replace the ill Richard Higgins who had already replaced the injured Neil Hanna caused a slight disruption to the game plan.
The visitors choose to face the Accies with both elements of a strong wind and the infamous 1:7 slope against them in the first half which immediately looked like a good call with an early unconverted try for the visitors. 20 minutes later the home team scored a converted try. The Accies converted two penalties within the next 7 minutes to leave the half time score at 13 – 5. The second half gave the advantage of the wind and slope to the Carrick men but within 5 minutes of the restart Carrick picked up the 1st yellow card reducing the team to 14 men, 7 minutes later the Accies claimed another converted penalty. The second yellow card was awarded to Carrick shortly after the team had been brought back to the full complement but a further three tries from the Accies secured their place in the next round of the cup.
From the kick off Carrick didn’t secure the ball leaving it to bounce for a line out, however the resulting scrum showed the visitors the dominance of the Carrick forwards enabling Glenn Picken to clear from defence. As the play broke down in the Accies half due to their infringement a quick penalty taken by the Carrick Captain Johnny Cullen was quickly moved to the supporting Curtis Rea who broke a number of attempted tackles to secure the first and only Carrick try at the 8 minute point. The kick off from the Accies again was left to bounce into touch. The line was collected by the Carrick forwards offering Glenn Picken to put a box kick which was chased well and forced a Carrick penalty. Johnny Sherriff put the Carrick forwards into a good attacking position enabling the Carrick forwards to catch and drive a good 10 metres from the line out. Ross Marsden made a break from the driving maul and fed Curtis Rea but without immediate support he was held up; a tac-tic which became a feature of the Accires game.
Carrick dominated the resulting scrum and won a penalty which again Johnny Sherriff used to gain the forwards a good attacking position. The next phase of play showed Carrick at its best with a peel from the back of the line with miss moves and loops from the Carrick backs only by a slightly forward pass were Carrick denied another try. The resulting scrum forced the Accies to plant a long kick deep back into the Carrick half which was safely collected by Aaron McKinney who decided to run hard back at the Accies chasers and feed Johnny Sherriff to clear the lines. The next phase of play was the start of the turning point for Carrick although splendid defence by Peter Simpson and Johnny Cullen fraught the attack from the Accies but their persistence kept the pressure on the Carrick defence. A Carrick line out was won by Omagh who used the backs to run the ball into the corner, even with a suspicion of crossing and a try saving tackle by Michael Gilmour the Omagh out half broke the Carrick defence to score a converted try on the 30 minute point. Head Coach took advantage of the rolling subs and made changes in preparation for the last 10 minutes of the half. An audible pep talk by Captain Johnny Cullen to spur the players was evident.
The restart by Carrick did not go 10 metres and the Accies took advantage of the resulting scrum catching Carrick off side. The Omagh out half took his chance and converted the penalty all within 2 minutes of the last score. At the restart an excellent cover tackle by Peter Simpson and Glenn Picken took the Omagh
player into touch. The Accies continue to press forward upsetting the Carrick game and causing a number of knock on’s. Frustration began to creep into the Carrick players with Michael Gilmour deemed to have deliberately knocked on. The resulting penalty was converted by a now confident out half taking the half time score to 13 – 5. Carrick now needed to take full advantage of the imposing elements and play the game in the Accies half but within 5 minutes of the start Chris Ferris swung out at an Accies player who held him by the neck. The referee awarded the ‘retaliation’ a yellow card which could have easy been red.
A team of 14 would now have to work hard for 10 minutes against this confidence growing Accies team to be in with a game turnaround. The Carrick team defended well but a penalty awarded to Omagh after a line out on Carrick’s 22 offered the Acxcies out half another opportunity to add a further 3 points which he did. A deep kick from the restart had Omagh on the back foot in defence. A Carrick scrum which was now beginning to lose the first half advantage saw Curtis Rea picking up at the back only to be engulfed by the Accies back row to win another penalty for holding on. This now became the clear game plan for the Accies holding players up and ensuring Carrick players were isolated causing frustration. On the 65 minute the second yellow card was awarded to Ross Marsden for a late tackle maintaining the pressure on the Carrick players.
Within 5 minutes Omagh caught and drove 5 metres at their line out then moved the ball to their backs to score a converted try under the posts. Straight after from a similar line out the Omagh backs run the line forcing Aaron McKinney at full back to make a superb tackle on the line but the scorer just managed to cross the line for a try which was converted. With 14 men Carrick was now trying not only to defend but to conjure up an attack to keep within the game. The pressure in defence showed when Michael Gilmour comfortably received a long kick from Omagh and tried to return with interest only for the ball to travel at head height for 10 metres into the surprised hands of the outside centre who didn’t hesitate to walk over the line to give the Accies their third try. With only 4 minutes of the game left Omagh took full advantage of Carrick’s plight and chipped over Carrick’s heads leaving the Omagh backs once again to run through for the final try to give a full time score of 35 – 5. Some good can be taken from the Carrick performance as at times they showed resilience in defence and moments of inspirational attacks offering support and enthusiasm. The simple key factor is that no team can produce the expected game plan with 14 men for 20 minutes of a hard fought close game and defend against a high number of conceded penalties. All the players are more than capable of rectifying these key factors and roll forward into winning performances in the league next week at Randalstown.
The team against Omagh was:– A McKinney, M Gilmour, J Cullen, J Wady, P Simpson, J Sherriff, G Picken, A Gibney, R Williams, M Smylie, A Kinkaid, C Rogers, C Ferris, R Marsden, C Rea Subs R Crymble, G McKeown
Last Saturday our Youth teams made the difficult journey to Banbridge for round two of this seasons league fixtures. The U18s again allowed their opponent to build up a commanding lead before staging a comeback that almost resulted in them taking something from the game. Final score 23-15 to Banbridge. With no game next week the coaching staff will be working hard on plugging these defensive holes before the teams next competitive fixture against Virginia.
On Sunday the Ladies XV beat QUB 15-35.
Next Week Fixtures
- Friday 24th Oct
- 2nd XV Ballyclare 2 (away)
- 3rd XV Instonians 3 (home)
- Sat 25th Oct
- 1st XV Randalstown away 4th XV Queens 4 (home)
- Sun 26th Oct
- Ladies Ballynahinch (home)