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Two-try Lurgan overcome early Larne pressure

Larne GS 0 Lurgan College 14

By Ronnie Ingram

For the first nine minutes, Larne Grammar completely dominated, but it was a converted try in each half that eventually saw Lurgan College qualify for a home third-round tie against Down High.

It was a determined start from the home team and they thought they had scored during that early period of pressure, but it was the visitors who ultimately took the lead after 11 minutes.

That try came from out-half Jack Maxwell who made a line break and then stepped inside the defence to go under the posts and add the points.

Lurgan continued to have the better of the play but some robust Larne tackling kept the scoreline at 7-0 till the interval.

The second half turned out to be a scrappy affair and although Larne looked dangerous on occasions, it was Lurgan who were playing on the home line for a considerable amount of time.

Once again they were held out and only made sure of victory with five minutes remaining. Following a break on the '22', where inter-play between Maxwell, Ewen Mulligan and Mark McElhinney resulted in No 8 and captain Reuben McCreery crashing over for Maxwell to convert.

Lurgan coach Kyle McCallan thought his team had played better in the past but considering the opposition was pleased with the result.

"Hooker Luke Forsyth, a Year 12 pupil, had an excellent game with his accurate line-out throwing and work in the loose. Flanker Rory Burns and the rest of the pack put in a lot of work as Larne put us under a lot of pressure," he said.

Larne coach Johnny Lowe thought the scoreline was a fair reflection of the game: "Lurgan had the better finishing and showed more mobility especially out wide," he said.

"I felt we had the upper-hand in the set pieces and overall I was pleased with the team's performance.

"No 8 Aaron Gillespie made a number of carries, kept breaking the game line and made a clean break in the first half but unfortunately his pass was dropped.

"Liam Slaughter was playing his first game at out-half after being on the wing and he made plenty of tackles and linked well with the pack," Lowe added.

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