BALLYMENA RUGBY I XV ATTAIN AUTOMATIC PROMOTION BACK TO AIL 1B – Match Report v Terenure Rugby & Pictures: Congratulations

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Despite several permutations depending on the outcome of matches elsewhere, Ballymena 1st XV were under no illusion of what was required to ensure that those results were irrelevant. Once again they showed what they are capable of with a resounding performance brushing aside the challenge of Terenure, a team who were having a reasonable season, and stood a chance of making the playoff with a win.


From the kick-off Ballymena looked focused on the job in hand with a strong start and immediately putting Terenure under pressure. However the visitors bounced back and it was they who took the lead with a penalty from out-half Mark O’Neill.

Ballymena were quick to respond and with an excellent kick into space by Martin Irwin resulting in the defender being caught by the follow up, the home team were awarded a penalty which David O’Hara duly converted to draw level.

With the opposition now on the back foot and the Ballymena scrum putting Terenure under severe pressure, the backline looked threatening with good handling and attacking lines. Jamie Smith broke two or three attempted tackles to find Tommy Seymour who almost made the try-line. With good support Terenure infringed and Ballymena were awarded another penalty. This time they opted for a scrum and Ross Hackney scored the first try of the game. O’Hara converted to open up a lead – 10-6.

The game evened out in the middle of the pitch for a period during which Terenure lost their scrum- half. They then reduced the deficit with another penalty from O’Neill.

This spurred Ballymena back into action an another fine backline move saw O’Hara into space where he found support from Roger McBurney who scored under the posts. The try was again converted by O’Hara to leave the half-time score 17 – 6 in favour of the home team.

The second half started with an attack from the visitors and they won a penalty as a result of their pressure, however this time they were wide of the post. Ballymena came back at them and they won a penalty which O’Hara successfully kicked to extend the lead to 20-6.

It was one way traffic after this with the impressive Jamie Smith playing his last game for Ballymena (for now) breaking the line again to race through and under the posts. The simple conversion made it 27-6.

Terenure tried to respond however a dropped pass was pounced on by John Burns who had replaced James Carson. Burns showed he had pace by running 50 metres untouched to score Ballymena’s 4th and promotion winning try. Again the successful conversion left the 34-6.

If fairness to the team they did not ease up after this and in another attack the man of the match Paul Prithard smashed through attempted tackles to find Seymour who raced in Ballymena’s 5th try of the game, again converted to extend the lead to 41-6.

Terenure kept trying and were rewarded with a try of their own from replacement Harry Moore. the conversion was missed.

There was still time for Ballymena to score again before they started their celebrations. A very well judged box kick from the impressive Blane McIlroy was followed up and superbly taken by Seymour (also playing his last game for the club) who slipped past desperate attempts to tackle to score the ‘try of the match’, under the posts.

David O’Hara kicked the conversion to finish the match on 100% success with his boot and a points total of 18, leaving the final score 48 – 11, rounding off one of their best performances of the season, and gaining automatic promotion back to Division 1B, finishing in 3rd place.

Well done boys.

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