Carrickfergus RFC Notes: I XV 3 v Omagh RFC I XV 19 REPORT

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The Carrick 1st XV lost by 19 points to 3 to title-chasing Omagh at Tom Simms Memorial Park on Saturday 7th December. Although competitive in the first half – and level on the scoreboard at half-time – the Maxol sponsored Carrick side were completely out-played in the second period when their opponents had the advantage of the breeze at their backs. Both sides struggled on their own put-in at the scrum and neither had an advantage at the line-out but Omagh were far superior at ruck and maul. This, together with some intelligent kicking to make use of the wind, enabled them to play virtually all of the second half in Carrick territory. Indeed, throughout the game, the home side never seriously threatened the Omagh line and the visitors deservedly claimed the only try of the match.For Carrick, hooker Richard Higgins found his jumpers well at the line-out and put in a lot of work in the loose while Curtis Rea made a number of his trademark line breaks but Carrick were never able to capitalise partly because of their failure to clear out at rucks.
In a fairly dour first half, the most noteworthy features were Omagh’s good ball retention, Carrick’s propensity to concede penalties in promising situations and a yellow card for Omagh which could have been more had the referee not generously interpreted a thump on the head as a tackle without the ball! The only scores of the half were a penaltry apiece, Omagh’s coming after five minutes and Carrick’s in injury time at the end of the half.
The visitors took the lead early in the second half, scoring the game’s only try when their outside centre broke through the Carrick defence to put their full-back in at the corner. The try was converted to give Omagh a 10 points to 3 lead and from then on they were in almost complete control. Thanks partly to their poor performance at the break-down, Carrick struggled to get a foothold in the Omagh half. By contrast, the visitors found it easy to play the game where they wanted to – in and around the Carrick 22. Penalty goals after eigthteen, twenty-two and thirty minutes of the half were enough to see the visitors comfortably home with a 19 points to 3 margin of victory.
On a more positive note, the game was preceded by an excellent pre-match Christmas lunch sponsored by NK Fencing and Carrick welcomed back Terry McCracken in the role of touch judge where he got almost all of his decisions right! There were, however, one or two calls for Lindsay Luney’s return!
The Carrick team which faced Omagh was:-
L. Whitall; N. Hastings, J. Cullen, A. McKinney, B. Alexander; J.Sheriff, K. Topping; A. Gibney, R. Higgins, R. Williams, A. Kincaid(Capt), C. Rodgers, N. Marsden, C. Ferris, C. Rea.

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