Coleraine Rugby Club lost by two points against Carrick on Saturday after a bruising encounter.
The ‘Cookstown’ sponsored Bannsiders were three times reduced to 14 men following yellow card penalty decisions and the visitors benefitted from two penalty try awards. It was a hard fought match and in the end Coleraine had to be content with a losing bonus point.
Coleraine coach Richard Boyd was disappointed but proud of his team’s efforts. Speaking after the match: “I am obviously disappointed with the result but delighted by the effort and spirit shown by the squad today. Carrick are one of the biggest sides in the league and have a strong set piece and that was the key to their win today which they deserved.
“I thought we played some excellent rugby in the first half and Carrick couldn’t cope when we played with any tempo at all. I thought Steven Dickey was outstanding and led our young pack throughout the game and they really worked tirelessly again.
“Carrick stayed in the game with their scrum and they were relentless in this area. We couldn’t get parity at all and to concede two penalty tries and have both props sin binned is a reflection of their dominance.
“It was always going to be a tough day as we were missing our entire front row and front row cover with Dijon McCorkell, David Greatorex, Chris Nash, James Blair, Cillian Butler and Mac O’Neil all unavailable.
“With Enniskillen and Clogher Valley both losing and missing out on bonus points it means we have gained ground today, which is a positive.
“Our destiny is in our own hands and we have some massive games coming up. We hope to see the return of a number of players for the trip to Enniskillen which should bolster our resources and we must remain positive as we are playing some excellent rugby, despite the long injury list.”
In the game itself the first points went to Coleraine with a penalty cleanly struck by Mikey Poskitt from 25 metres. 3-0
The game was only fifteen minutes old when Carrick were awarded the next score. The Coleraine pack were penalised as they defended on their try line, a penalty try was awarded and Coleraine’s Ady Nevin was yellow carded for ten minutes. 3-7
Three minutes later Coleraine replied. A concerted attack saw the Coleraine men well placed in the Carrick half and it was Kyle McAuley who made the final yards to score. The conversion drifted just wide. 8-7
Coleraine maintained the pressure and on 20 minutes Ady Nevin made the touch down near the posts after another pulsating forwards attack. Poskitt converted. 15-7
Carrick responded with a well constructed attack deep into the Coleraine half, creating an overlap and scoring in the corner. The conversion was on target. 15-14
After the break the visitors went on the charge and within four minutes they scored with a penalty conversion on the 22 as Coleraine’s Chris Breadon was yellow carded. 15-17
Ten minutes later the visitors had possession in the centre of the park when Kyle McAuley intercepted a sloppy Carrick pass and sprinted away to the line and a try under the posts. Poskitt claimed the extras. 22-17
As the game came moved into the final minutes the referee adjudged Kyle McAuley to have infringed and he too was shown a yellow card.
Carrick pressed home their advantage and despite some very hearty defence Coleraine were again penalised as they defended the try line and the referee awarded another penalty try. The whistle blew and Coleraine had been pipped with a score of 22-24.
This week the First and Seconds have no game. The Thirds are at home to City of Derry 3s.
Coleraine Firsts XV. A Nevin, S Evans, C Breadon, J Christie, A Corbett, J Millsopp, P Wisener, S Dickey, M Leighton, B Carstens, N Irwin, A Parke, K McAuley, B Cochrane, M Poskitt. Subs. A McKee, S Callaghan.