The Christmas break has proved no impediment to Carrick Rugby Club as the seniors took a decisive 41-6 victory over Cregg’s at home last weekend in their first fixture of 2016. The Carrick side played an aggressive and focused match against their opponents, with the team continuing their winning streak.
Carrick’s determination was apparent from the off, with the side scoring two converted tries within the first seven minutes of play, the first coming off a Cregg’s’ scrum with Noel McDermott carrying the ball over the line for Coffey at 10 to take the conversion, giving Carrick a 7-0 lead. Continued strong and determined play saw second row Sean McKeon score the second try only minutes later, taking the score line up to 12-0.
A youthful Cregg’s side were quick to regain possession but found it impossible to breach Carrick’s strong defense and despite multiple attempts, the Roscommon side were unable to carry the ball over the line, their first points coming from a penalty in front of the posts, bringing the score to 12-3. A Cregg’s’ scrum following the restart resulted in a penalty to Carrick, increasing the home team’s lead to 15-3 and this was followed by a period of intense play, with Cregg’s eventually earning themselves another three points off a penalty taking the score to 15-6 just ahead of half-time. However, Carrick weren’t prepared to let this go, and following a Cregg’s’ scrum, it was the turn of Carrick’s outside centre Stephen Guckian to add to the score line, earning Carrick their last try of the first half and taking the home side into half-time with a 20-6 lead.
Carrick came back after the break with fresh legs, determined to increase their lead but their Cregg’s counterparts had other ideas, and worked hard to hold them off, with the score line remaining at 20-6 well into the second half. Despite full-back Mick Domican being taken off with an injury, Carrick kept up the offensive and after concerted efforts to defend their own line against Cregg’s, the Carrick team eventually managed to break free and a superb run from flanker Dermott Foley led to the first points of the second half being scored by replacement number 10 Michael Martin. A successful conversion by Kevin Coffey took the score to 27-6, and from there was no stopping Carrick.
Second centre Guckian increased the home team’s score line once more when he made a run from the half-way line to score Carrick’s fifth try of the match, with the conversion taking their lead to 34-6 five minutes ahead of the final whistle. Not content with this, Carrick’s inside centre Noel McDermott finished the fixture in style by scoring his second try of the match, and the conversion took the final score line to 41-6, giving Carrick a resounding and well-earned win.
With five matches remaining, Carrick now find themselves in the hot spot at the top of the league. The team’s next league fixture is an away match to Ballina, and with everything to play for, the team will be training hard over the next couple of weeks to hold on to their number one position.
St Stephen’s Day Darby in aid of St. Ciarán’s
The CRFC St Stephen’s Day clash between the club’s Leitrim and Roscommon players ended in a score line that could not have been more apt given the date on which it took place. With a welcome lull in the recent bad weather, the day stayed fine for the two sides to come together in what was both a highly competitive and tactical game, indicative of the improvements in performance the side have made over recent months.
Leitrim’s players were managed by former Club President Sean McKeon for this fundraising friendly in aid of St Ciarán’s Services in Carrick on Shannon, and the line-up comprised a dazzling array of current and former players and exiles from abroad as well as club captain Colm McWeeney and Youth Coaches Nav Logan and Liam Farrell.
The Roscommon contingent brought a youthful side to the field, with the centre partnership of Will Weaver and Michael Martin at 12 and 13 respectively, injecting the match with the energy and enthusiasm needed to overcome their veteran Leitrim counterparts.
The start of play saw Leitrim come out attacking, pushing Roscommon back into their own half, and forcing them to defend their own line, with a battle-hardened pack including Emmet Argue, Keith Crossan and Killian Kuhl fighting hard to retain possession. Roscommon defended hard, denying Leitrim any points in the early stages of the game, and clearing the ball back out into safer territory.
The momentum began to swing in the opposite direction however, when Roscommon fly-half Eddie Weaver made a break through the Leitrim defense before passing to fullback Conor Layden, who drew the final defender before offloading to Michael Martin who finished the move with a 30 metre sprint to the line to score the first points of the match. Weaver converted to give the Roscommon side an early 7-0 advantage over the Leitrim players.
Leitrim continued to show their strength and experience throughout the first half, denying Roscommon any further points and making numerous gains in both territory and possession going into half-time.
With fresh legs after the short rest, both teams were quickly back down to business but it was the Roscommon side who made the break, with Daniel Layden coming from inside his own half and racing to the line, chased up swiftly by Youth Coach Nav Logan for the Leitrim men. Despite his best efforts, Logan was unable to match the Roscommon number 8’s pace, and Layden carried the ball over the line to score Roscommon’s second try of the match, increasing their advantage to 12-0.
The third try of the match came via a long pass from the Roscommon scrum-half to flanker Justin Farrell, who showed remarkable skill and dexterity, drawing in the opposition centre’s to release Michael Martin, setting up Martin’s second try for Roscommon with another conversion from fly-half Eddie Weaver, taking the score up to a healthy 19-0. Moments later, Eddie Weaver pounced on a Leitrim spilt ball and dived over in the corner to score Roscommon’s fourth try which he went on to convert from the touchline, seeing Roscommon lead play by 26-0.
With all to play for, the last quarter of the game saw Leitrim’s experienced pack pile on the pressure, being rewarded with two penalty tries for repeated infringements after periods of sustained pressure from the pack. With conversions taken by Burns, Leitrim quickly increased their score line to 12 points.
Despite their best efforts, Leitrim were unable to improve on the 26-12 score in favour of the club’s Roscommon players, but the match gave all team members a welcome opportunity to get some match time ahead of next weekend’s league fixture home to Cregg’s RFC when Carrick will seek to retain their top 4 position in the league.
Thanks to Peter Hollage for refereeing the match and the excellent support from the touchline. A collection was made at the match in aid of St Ciarán’s services, raising a total of €550.00.
Youths and Minis fixtures fall victim to weather conditions
Once again adverse weather conditions denied youths and minis players the opportunity to prepare for upcoming League and Cup matches..
Carrick on Shannon Minis have an away Blitz in Cavan next Saturday Jan 9th 2016
Youths training will continue on Sunday January 10th at Carrick RFC rugby pitch.
Carrick on Shannon RFC would like to express their deepest sympathies to Stephen King (Director of Rugby Carrick RFC) and his family on the recent passing of his mother Peggy.
Carrick RFC News and Fixtures updates
What better way to spend a Sunday morning / afternoon than supporting your local Carrick RFC Senior and Youths teams. All home matches take place at Carrick RFC pitch in Castlecarra and entry is free of charge.
Keep up to date on all news and fixtures by visiting CRFC website – www.carrickrugbyclub.ie , or follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter.