Cullen leads fightback as Carrick progress in Cup

Carrick 1st XV beat Ards II 14-12 in the first round of the Junior Cup away at Hamilton Park on Saturday.

Rugby update
Rugby update
Rugby update

In a hard-fought encounter, Carrick staged a second-half comeback, scoring 14 unanswered points, having trailed by 12 early in the second period.

Playing into a stiff breeze, they did well to contain their opponents to a seven-point lead at half-time.

After conceding a soft try early in the second half, they began to use their scrum dominance and some excellent kicking by the half-backs to exert a measure of control which was rewarded with a well-taken try by captain Johnny Cullen and three penalty goals from Johnny Sheriff. They did leave it late though, the winning points coming in injury-time.

Curtis Rea produced another impressive performance at eight, making a lot of yards with ball in hand.

Ards took the lead after 12 minutes when their blind side flanker forced his way over for a converted score, following a scrum 10 metres out. That’s how it stayed until the break.

Carrick started the second half in the worst possible way, conceding another soft, unconverted try just three minutes in.

But the visitors hit back with Sheriff converting a penalty to get Carrick onto the scoreboard. He converted another 15 minutes later and suddenly Ards were on the back foot.

Despite being reduced to 14 men after their hooker was yelow-carded, Carrick continued to dominate territory, and with three minutes of normal time remaining, scored an excellent try courtesy of Cullen. Sheriff missed from the conversion attempt.

He made amends from a late penalty to give Carrick a 14-12 lead with only a couple of minutes of injury-time remaining.

Carrick: A. Mckinney; N. Hastings, J.Cullen (Capt), J. Wady, P. Simpson; J. Sheriff, G. Picken; M. Smiley, R. higgins, R. Williams, A. Kincaid, C. Rodgers, M. Hadden, R. Marsden, C. Rea.

Next match: Grosvenor (a).