Clogher Valley 1st XV 20 Carrickfergus 1st XV 13 Clogher Valley did their survival hopes a power of good on Saturday as they secured a 20-13 win over Carrickfergus at the Cran.
And the win will be a timely boost ahead of this Saturday’s derby clash with Enniskillen at Mullaghmeen.
Tries from Sharkey and Wilson had Clogher leading 10-3 at half time and although Carrick responded to get their noses in front in the second half, prop Moore powered over late on to secure a crucial victory for Clogher Valley.
It was a result that unsurprisingly delighted coach Davy Black.
“Carrick are a very big, physical side but we got off on the right note and the boys stuck at it throughout the game. It was our last home league game of the season and the boys fought really hard and the hunger and desire was there to seal an important win,” he said.
Black though stresses that his side are not yet safe and this week’s game against Enniskillen should be a fascinating affair with Enniskillen looking to clinch a top four finish while Clogher needing another win to secure their place in the league for next season.
“It is a massive game and we would love to take something out of it. However, we know that it is not going to be easy going into Skins own backyard. They have a very good set of players so we know it will be tough but we’ll have to go there with a positivity and see what we can do, “said Black.
The Valley lost Treanor, early doors which was a major blow to the home side’s plans. Cullen also departed the action and Clogher faced a major re-shuffle early in the game. Meanwhile as the Valley regrouped Carrick took the lead with a penalty on the 11th minute mark.
Gradually Clogher became more and more competitive and would go on to dominate for the remainder of the first period.
Sharkey grabbed his customary try from the back of a great maul although he had much to do before touching down.
The difficult conversion was missed but Clogher had their noses ahead for the first time.
The game ebbed and flowed for a while before two of the Valley ‘young guns’ put their mark on proceedings.
A hopeful kick ahead was gathered by McAlpine and as he was tackled he showed superb deft of hand to off-load to fullback Wilson who crossed for the Valley second try.
It went unconverted but at 10-3 at the break Clogher were where they needed to be.
If Clogher edged the first period Carrick had the best of proceedings in the second.
Indeed it took a great defensive effort to hold them out.
Fullback Wilson, not for the first time in the game or the first time this season made telling tackles when tries seemed on the cards.
Although the plaudits must go to the back row trio of Wilson, Trenier and Mills who tackled at a different level, throw in great hits by Sharkey and McKenna all allowing Clogher to hold on.
A decisive break by Donaldson relieved the pressure but Carrick soon returned to the Clogher back yard.
A penalty on the 63rd minute reduced the arrears to three points and two minutes later they made a major breakthrough.
A kick ahead, a fortuitous bounce and their winger gathered and crossed for their only try.
It was converted and it was the Valley who were now three in arrears.
This roused the side and urged on by the large crowd the Valley had a good final ten.
Ryan Wilson was just held up as he led from the front but a subsequent penalty saw Trotter level the score.
As the clock inched towards the 80th minute of the contest, and a draw seemingly on the cards, Trotter struck a great penalty deep into Carrick territory.
The Valley were now on familiar ground.
Accurate arrow, Sharkey take, go forward maul, brought down illegally. Penalty awarded but out of the chaos emerged prop forward Moore.
There is no finer sight in the natural world than a prop forward ‘on the hoof’. He swotted defenders aside to crash over for possibly a season defining try. Trotter converted and upon the restart the game was blown up.
This was a result that came from the heart and the same spirit and tenacity will be needed again against neighbours Enniskillen.