Lurgan Seconds travelled to league leaders Carrickfergus RFC on Saturday for what promised to be a tough match.
With the Seconds losing several players to the first fifteen to cover injuries the Lurgan men were not as settled as on previous outings.
Carrickfergus started the match the strongest and Lurgan were probably guilty of showing too much respect and the hosts took full advantage launching their wingers and full back on the Lurgan defence with clever switch moves and inter play. Lurgan had a chance to get the first points of the game with a penalty in the Carrick 22 but a mis-kick from the Lurgan out half let the hosts off the hook and not long after the Lurgan line was breached with Carrick scoring twice in quick succession to go 14 points ahead.
Lurgan, who were scrummaging well with the front five disrupting a much heavier pack, started to use their back line to move the heavy Carrick pack around and eventually the gaps appeared with Jordan McIlwaine continuing his excellent form with a blistering break to score under the posts with the conversion added Lurgan trailed 14-7.
As the first half wore on Lurgan were slowly realising they were every bit as good as the league leaders but then Carrick unleashed another back line move to allow their flying winger to score his second try despite the best endeavours of Lurgan’s veteran full back Jonny Clarke and winger Del Gamble.
The second half saw Lurgan start to exert some pressure of their own and with Carrick trying to play their way out of their own half under pressure Dawid Stanczack intercepted a loose pass to sprint up his wing beating 3 defenders in the process, Jordan McIlwaine duly converted Carrick 19 Lurgan 14.
With the Carrick crowd urging their side on Lurgan silenced them with a second McIlwaine try after sustained pressure with big carries from Jason Wallace, Dessie Bingham and Cameron Lyness to create the space. McIlwaine converted to give Lurgan a two point advantage with 15 minutes on the clock.
Lurgan tried to play the remainder of the game in the Carrick half and for the next 12 minutes held on grimly to their lead with Jonny Goode and Paddy Mcvay taking on the Carrick pack. However Carrick’s best player broke the Lurgan defence to steal the points in the last minute.
Man of the match award went to Jason Wallace for another tenacious display which lifted the whole side.