1st XV Carrickfergus Home
Last Gasp Win Over Carrick
Lisburn 25 – Carrick 22
In Qualifying League 2 at Blaris last Saturday the Smiley Monroe sponsored Lisburn came back in the last minute of the game to earn an exciting win over rivals Carrick. With just minutes on the clock, Lisburn were leading by 22 points to 15 and desperately defending their lead when the ball was flashed out across their line to left wing Adie Moore who dashed in at the corner. The difficult conversion was kicked to leave the scores balanced at 22 points each. From the kickoff, Lisburn drove upfield into the right hand corner where the pressurised Carrick defence transgressed and up stepped centre Mark Crowe to slot the penalty and give the home team another vital win. There was great rejoicing in the home camp as the final whistle rang.
This was an excellent game of rugby played in beautiful conditions and a great advertisement for the sport. Despite the expansive game being played by both sides it was the place kickers who were dominant in the first quarter as Crowe kicked two penalties for Lisburn and Carrick responded with one. At the start of the second quarter Carrick gained reward for their enterprising running with a well taken converted try but this was followed by another penalty by Crowe to leave the interval score at 9-10 to Carrick.
Coach David Irwin gathered his troops together at half time and stressed the importance of accuracy and application in this fast moving game. Team Captain Peter Graham with his two props Aaron and Mark Gilkinson were starting to dominate somewhat in the set scrums while Alan Hughes and Stuart Evans were winning their own ball in the line outs so the set pieces were coming together nicely. However, Carrick were also playing a great game under the tutelage of player coach Johnny Cullen in the centre. They increased their lead within five minutes of the restart when a flip pass to right wing Brian Alexander led to a score as his Lisburn marker Adam Melville was off the pitch being bandaged.
Lisburn immediately responded with another Crowe penalty to leave a three point gap at 12-15 but Lisburn were now managing to gain ascendancy in this phase of the game and on the twelve minute mark Carrick shot themselves in the foot when a promising attack led to a decision to kick the ball ahead rather than go through the hands and the loose ball bounced straight into the arms of David Gilkinson and the big centre streaked over half the pitch to score. Unfortunately the Crowe conversion bounced back off the top of the upright to leave the score at 17-15.
On twenty minutes the Lisburn halfbacks Paul Melville and Ross Edgar linked beautifully on the 22 metre line and moved the ball quickly to David Gilkinson who put his right wing Nick Kennedy in for the score to make it 22-15. The final showdown arrived and Lisburn defended desperately leading into those last dramatic minutes. Nevertheless, a great win for Lisburn but a great display from both teams.