The line between success and failure was as its most slender in Tybroughney on Sunday last, when Carrick-on-Suir edged past Mallow in the opening round of the new junior league season.
While the Cork visitors did have the consolation of a losing bonus, they left Carrick feeling they should have been heading home with a ‘W’ scratched into their season record.
Mallow enjoyed much the better of the game but with just moments remaining, Carrick pulled off the sort of victory they’re not traditionally associated with.
Following a penalty miss by Mallow’s Brian Morris which ought to have sealed victory, Carrick’s Peadar Downey produced a moment of magic.
With an excellent Carrick drive forcing Mallow to the edge of their own twenty-two, Downey grasped the football and left the opposing line chasing his dust to dive in at the corner.
Despite kicking from the corner, James Wallace (scorer of 11 points in total) showed tremendous composure to bisect the posts with his conversion to seal an unlikely but most welcome victory for the hosts.
Leonard Browne’s two tries gave a dominant Mallow a 10-point lead at half-time, with Brian Morris converting one of those tries and adding a penalty to make up their total.
These two go head-to-again in the O’Sullivan Cup final on the 25th, with Mallow surely determined to get one over Carrick, who themselves will feel they can produce much better rugby next time around.
Waterford City got off to a flying start when recording a 24-0 victory over league newcomers Shandon at Kilbarry, with Dale Ryan, Sean O’Mahony and Fintan Purcell all crossing the whitewash.
City will be looking for back-to-back successes when travelling to a bitten Mallow next Sunday (2.30pm kick-off) in what should prove one hell of a battle.
Meanwhile, Dungarvan, keen to atone for last season’s winless campaign, will have to wait to get off the mark following the postponement of their meeting with Douglas.
And if recent history with next Sunday’s opponents offers any indication, the Ballyrandle men are up against it when playing host to Carrick-on-Suir, also scheduled for a 2.30pm kick-off.