Sunday afternoon at Tybroughney demonstrated the contrasting fortunes currently facing Carrick-on-Suir and Dungarvan in Division Three Group B of the Munster Junior League.
Carrick remain top of the pile thanks to a 52-0 win over their West Waterford opponents, the biggest margin of victory between the sides for several seasons.
Carrick, captained superbly by Willie Stokes, racked up their fifth competitive win of the season and the fourth league win from four outings.
They have now registered 100 points in league action and have conceded just 24 points, which speaks volumes for the defensive steel they’ve added to their lot since the big kick-off in mid-October.
In contrast, Dungarvan remain without a win and have now shelled 115 points, having failed to score in two matches while kicking just a penalty each in their other two outings.
The form book suggested a comprehensive win for the hosts and that’s exactly what transpired in Carrick. First half tries from Mick Carroll, Alban Coughlan, James Wallace, Peter Steele and Alan Murray secured the bonus point and the win by the interval.
But in a demonstration of the team’s intent this season, Carrick didn’t take the foot off the pedal in the second half and crossed the whitewash on three further occasions, though Coughlan, Dylan Davies and Ed O’Donnell.
Ross Clery maintained his excellent kicking contribution to the Carrick cause by converting six of the eight tries to ensure a massive win for the league leaders.
“Things are going well,” said Willie Stokes. “But we’ve nothing won yet in terms of silverware.
“In saying that, we know we’re in a strong position and we’ve got our destiny in our own hands, but we’ve three games on the road to face into after Christmas, and that’s not taking that undecided Galbally game into account.
“But this is what all the hard hours in pre-season were designed for. The attitude on the pitch and on the line is great. We’re in this together and staying together is what’s going to bring success to this club and that’s all we’re thinking about right now.”
At Kilbarry, Waterford City’s promotion hopes were dealt a massive blow when they went down to an agonising 18-17 defeat to Douglas, the consolation of a losing bonus at least secured.
There was another closely fought battle on Sunday in Fermoy with the home side coming out the better side of a 14-12 final score against Galbally, the latter seen as the biggest threat to Carrick’s league ambitions.
It’s worth pointing out that the Limerick men have a game in hand due to the double postponement of their match with Carrick.
But as the league enters into its Christmas break, the advantage firmly lies with Carrick-on-Suir, with City, Galbally and Douglas all playing catch-up.
Next weekend, Carrick’s first XV are due to shape up to Dungarvan again in Junior Cup action, where nothing other than a sixth win of the season will be expected of the promotion hunters.
In local seconds rugby on Saturday night, Waterford City saw off Carrick-on-Suir under the Kilbarry lights, emerging victorious by 17 unanswered points.