Lisburn set to face vital relegation challenge

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Lisburn 3

Randalstown 16

This Friday evening (7.30pm) Lisburn face a vital relegation challenge against bottom of the table UUC in a match which will define the future of the Club in next seasons’ Qualifying League.

The Smiley Monroe sponsored Lisburn sit on the third last rung of the table just three points ahead of Holywood who have played three less games.

Lisburn played reasonably well last Saturday at Blaris but the Gary Longwell coached Randalstown were in no mood for caving in.

In a wind affected game which created difficulties for the kickers, Lisburn opened well and despite a missed penalty opportunity by both teams it reached the twenty minute mark without a score.

Then a surging forty metre run by second row Andy Barron through the Randalstown defence almost opened the Lisburn account but it petered out after the ball was lost in contact.

Randalstown then kicked their first penalty, followed almost immediately by a retaliatory strike from Lisburn scrumhalf Mark Crothers to make the score 3-3.

Randalstown then kicked a further penalty to make it 3-6 but it was just on the half time mark, with the game finely balanced, that the real damage was done to Lisburn’s prospects.

Big second row Peter Ireland found himself in the sin bin for an indiscretion and with the defence in disarray Randalstown took a quick tap penalty and ran the ball out to their speedy backline who moved it out to score in the corner.

While the conversion failed, the visitors were now in a comfortable 3-11 lead at the half time whistle.

Ten minutes into the second period there was a prolonged stoppage for an injury to one of the Randalstown players and it was at this stage that two further penalty misses by Lisburn left six points unclaimed.

However, it was the slickness of the Randalstown backs that eventually won the game for them.

On the 25th minute the ball was speedily moved out the backline to their pacy right winger and he skipped in with an overlap to score the decisive try.

Lisburn tried hard to narrow the deficit in the final fifteen minutes but to no effect, despite being very close on a number of occasions.

Lisburn will rue the numerous occasions when indicipline let them down in this match, resulting in a very lob-sided penalty count against them and they must now turn their efforts to facing UUC this Friday in the knowledge that the College team are improving with every game, drawing 15 all last Saturday with near neighbours Coleraine.

Meanwhile, Holywood wait in the wings knowing that any slip up by Lisburn will allow them back into frame.

Lisburn’s final game will be against Enniskillen next Wednesday evening at 8pm.