1st XV win at Carrickfergus 1st XV

Instonians come out on top with strong defence to win away to Carrickfergus
Carrickfergus Rugby Club 3 – Instonians 10
Date: 2-30 pm Saturday, 8 December 18
Venue: Tom Simms Memorial Park, Carrickfergus
Fixture: Ulster Rugby Championship Division 1
Conditions: Bitterly cold gale with heavy conditions underfoot

Instonians had a biting wind behind them in the first half but a combination of handling errors, poor execution and a very determined Carrick defence meant that all they could score before half time was a penalty goal and an unconverted try. The slender 8 nil lead looked like it might not be enough against the wind. However, a combination poor discipline by Carrick and very determined defence allowed them to “tough out” the game in a very tense closing minutes.

Ross O’Donnell returned to the wing after missing the last 5 weeks which meant that Donal Moloney had to be content with a place on the bench where he joined Tom Matthews. Paddy Bell moved from flanker to centre to cover for injured skipper David Scott. This allowed Jonathon Mooney to move up from the bench into the back row in an otherwise unchanged pack.

Carrick kicked off into a bitter wind. They won back the kick but turned the ball over almost immediately. They had a second chance when Instonians knocked on at half way. Their number 8 McGonigle picked up from the back of the scrum and made a lot of ground into the Instonian 22. They were forced to infringe and Carrick kicked for the corner. From the line out they mauled to the line and then launched attack after attack on the goal line. Only very determined defence held them out and they were forced to move the ball wide. A stray pass allowed Instonians to put boot to the ball and force an attacking scrum on the Carrick 22 seconds later. The very strong Instonian scrum won a penalty straight in front of the posts. Full back Andrew Keane landed the tricky kick to put his side 0-3 up with less than 10 minutes gone.

The rest of the half largely belonged to Instonians after the early scare. They dominated territory and possession but found scores hard to come by. The conditions were undoubtedly playing a major part in the game. Carrick’s discipline was not good. Instonians were awarded three penalties in quick succession. The first took them to a line out inside the home side’s 22. Then a maul took them to the line and resulted in a series of drives. These yielded an attacking scrum 5 metres out, at which Carrick infringed. A second scrum was penalised again. Just when it looked like Carrick might suffer a penalty try the third scrum was penalised against Instonians when it was determined that they were not pushing straight. Carrick took a quick tap in an attempt to clear their line but were forced then to kick for touch to give Instonians another line out just 30 metres out. They then proceeded to lose this line out but when Carrick kicked ahead their number 13 Burton was yellow carded for taking out a player in the air. Instonians went back on the attack. Winger Ross O’Donnell made a break down the touch line and then Carrick were again penalised at the breakdown. This time Instonians made no mistake from the resulting line out. They set up a mighty maul which ended when second row Sean Shuttleworth touched down for an unconverted try as we moved into the second quarter.

Instonians might have been expected to kick on from this. Another penalty at the breakdown and they were again attacking from a line out 15 metres out. Possession from the line out was messy and while they had two more penalties in their favour they eventually knocked on to give Carrick a relieving scrum. They battled out from their line from this and were rewarded when they won a penalty at the breakdown. This gave them a spell in the Instonian half which eventually came to nothing. There was no change in the score and Instonians turned to face the fierce wind only 8 points up. There were big question marks as to whether this was a big enough lead in the conditions.

The problem for Instonians was that even when they had the ball they could not hold it for long enough periods and, when they knocked it on or otherwise lost possession, Carrick were able to drive them back with long raking kicks. They were using their wind advantage well and really pressurising Instonians. They were finding it difficult to move away from their own half. Number 8 James Martin was making some exciting breaks ably assisted by flanker Massimo Kiri Kiri but eventually the ball would go astray and Carrick would peg them back again. A big problem for Carrick was that at virtually every scrum with an Instonian put in they were being penalised. This meant that they found it hard to maintain a foothold in attack. The game was very stop start with lots of injuries and other hold ups.

Eventually a raking kick down into the Instonian 22 paid dividends for the home side. Although Instonians won the resulting line out they were penalised on their own 22, at the breakdown, as they tried to battle their way forward. Carrick kicked the goal from straight in front to put the score at 3-8 as we moved into the final quarter.

Carrick indiscipline was costing them dearly; not only were they being penalised but were on occasions being marched a further 10 metres for dissent. The continued infringing eventually yielded a second yellow card against second row McMenamin. However, even with a one man superiority Instonians could not maintain a territorial advantage. After a series of attacks they were penalised at the breakdown inside the Carrick 22. One swing of the boot and they were defending a line out to Carrick on their own 5 metre line. The home side attacked through phase after phase and it took some exhausting defence to hold them out. Carrick then moved the ball out to their backs and tried a kick in behind the advancing defence, but Instonians were wise to it and touched the ball down for a 22 drop out.

Just when it looked like Instonians were working their way clear with another scrum penalty after which they elected to scrum again they were themselves penalised at this scrum for not driving straight. Surprisingly, perhaps as a result of frustration, Carrick elected to kick for goal from about 40 metres out. The kick was both short and wide to give Instonians another 22 drop out with little time on the clock. They were able to see out another Carrick attack but not without several anxious moments. First they were unable to secure their own line 5 metres from their line. Player coach John Andress led by example and was able to win a penalty by latching himself on to the tackled player just a couple of metres out. Instonians elected to scrummage and then won a penalty at the scrum. Scrum half Paul Marshall was happy to kick the ball over the dead ball line to win a very tense and closely fought match.

In the end Instonians will be pleased to come away with a four point league win after a very tense finish but they will rue not putting more points on the board in the first half. Instonians next league fixture will be on 29 December in a home derby against neighbours Cooke.

Team 1 to 17: Conor Gallagher, Cameron Barr, John Andress, Alan Whitten, Sean Shuttleworth, Johnny Mooney, Massimo Kiri Kiri, James Martin, Paul Marshall, Richard McCarthy, Rhys O’Donnell, Paddy Bell, Matt Kilpatrick, Colm Cregan, Andrew Keane, Donal Maloney, Tom Matthews.





Next match:

Sat 29th Dec

Instonians 1st XV v Cooke 1st XV

Always a cracker

Big pre-match Lunch

To book your spaces contact:

Ken Bamford

0783 466 5095

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Future Fixtures


1st XV

2nd XV

3rd XV

15th Dec


L- City of Armagh 3 (A)


19th Dec (Wed)

Instonians U20s Christmas Blitz at 7pm

Instonians U20s Christmas Blitz at 7pm

Instonians U20s Christmas Blitz at 7pm

22nd Dec


29th Dec

L - Cooke (H)


L - Cooke 2 (A)

5th Jan

L - Coleraine (A)

L - Coleraine 2 (A)


11th Jan (Fri)

L - Dromore (19.30) (H)


12th Jan


L - Malone 3 (H)

L - Larne 2 (H)

18th Jan (Fri)


L - Carrickfergus 2 (19.30) (A)


19th Jan

L - Enniskillen (H)


L - Ards 2 (H)

26th Jan



Forster Plate QF