Larne went down 12 – 29 to Academy in this Kukri Ulster Rugby Championship Division 2 match on a wintery Saturday afternoon at the Glynn playing fields.
I’d spent most of Saturday morning waiting for this game to be cancelled, along with all the others I’d scheduled to cover this weekend, but the hard working Larne groundsmen declared the pitch playable just as I was checking if I had enough cans in the fridge to see me through a marathon of Champions Cup rugby on the TV.
It appears that most of the Larne players had the same thoughts, as they really didn’t get into this game with the robust academy side dominating proceedings for the bulk of the match.
Despite Academy enjoying the bulk of territory and possession in the opening quarter it was Larne who scored first with Sam McWhirter crossing from close range in a rare visit into Academy’s 22. It was all too easy for Larne with a standard line out and a little rumble being all it took for the home side to cross.
However, the visitors quickly struck back with three tries in the second quarter with Dave McCullough crossing before Mark Wylie pushed his team clear with an impressive brace. Chris Cooper converted all three to give Academy a 5 -21 lead at the break.
Larne were more competitive in the second half and once again they scored first with Barry McFaul crossing for a try, converted by Philip Andrews, to take the score to 12 – 21. The home side had a couple more chances with McFaul making a second good break and the impressive Ian McIlheron was dispossessed just as he was diving for the line.
However, those incidents aside, Academy controlled the second half reasonably comfortably with Cooper adding a penalty before Richard Henderson crossed to put the game beyond Larne’s reach.
Final Score: Larne 12 Academy 29