Dungannon RFC Notes: I XV 37 v Ballymena RFC I XV 15: Report + 8 Action Shots!!!!!!!!!!!

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This was a good game of rugby played on a sunny but breezy afternoon at Stevenson Park. Ballymena never recovered from Dungannon’s devastating start of ten points in three minutes. The next fifty minutes were closer but when Dungannon’s All Ireland League centurion Glen Sinnamon dived over for the bonus point try sealing Dungannon’s win the cheers of the Faithful resonated around Stevenson Park.
Dungannon won a penalty from the kick off and Michael Lawton made no mistake from midway out on the left. From the restart Ballymena spun the ball but a mistake midfield was pounced on by Paul McKenzie who broke through and fed the supporting Peter Nelson who showed the chasing players a clean pair of heels before touching down behind the posts. Michael Lawton converted in the third minute.
10 – 0
What a start. Dungannon continued to make all the running and a second Michael Lawton penalty increased the home advantage after twenty minutes.
13 – 0
More pressure by Dungannon was held by Ballymena until Jaryd Bennett made the half break off loading to the fast supporting Conor Gaston who touched down with Michael Lawton converting after thirty-five minutes.
20 – 0
Ballymena then put some good phases together and came back into the game. A run by Martin Irwin brought play up to the Dungannon twenty-two. Ballymena ran a penalty awarded right in front and although they made a mess of this Dungannon also messed up and Ali Fraser was left with an uncontested run in from thirty metres out. Luke Marshall converted on thirty-eight minutes.
20 – 7
With injury time on the clock Ballymena were still on top and when a penalty was awarded Marshall converted and ref McDowell blew for half time.
20 – 10
Dungannon knew that they had to get back on top post half time and they went about the task with enthusiasm. Rowan Halsall and Adam Duhig took play out of defence and Mark O’Shea, Jaryd Bennett and Michael Kirkwood worked Dungannon into the Ballymena half. When awarded a penalty for not releasing the tackler Michael Lawton kicked a penalty.
23 – 10
When James McMahon picked up a ball outside the Ballymena twenty-two he was not held until he was five metres short of the line. Although Ballymena managed to regain possession Dungannon kept up the pressure and a poor clearance was gathered by Paul McKenzie who transferred the ball to Stuart McCloskey. Conor Gaston then broke through and sent Michael Lawton charging away for a self converted try on fifty-two minutes.
30 – 10
Dungannon were now anxious to get a fourth try. Paul Jackson battled his way up to the Ballymena line. Although Ballymena defended well the assault continued. After sixty-five minutes an inside pass by Jason Bloomfield gave a delighted Glen Sinnamon the chance to dive over from shall we say a short distance. Sinnie was playing in his one hundredth All Ireland League match and his try gave the players cause for a double celebration, the relief of getting the bonus point try and the fact that it was a significant game for Glenn. Michael Lawton dispatched the extras after sixty-five minutes capping a fine afternoon for him with twenty-two points including a one hundred percent record off the tee.
37 – 10
Three minutes later Ballymena took advantage of a turnover. Martin Irwin put a pin point kick across the pitch that Ali Fraser collected on the burst and raced over for a try.
37 – 15
Dungannon attacked again but the Braidmen’s defence held firm.
A good game of rugby to watch with Ballymena gathering their resources after that ten point opening blast. Dungannon were however the better team and really played as a team.

Now with one game to go the pressure is on League leaders Belfast Harlequins. They are away to UL Bohs who have only been beaten once since the beginning of February; winning their last five matches and eight of their last ten. A Bohs win could give them the title.
As far as we are concerned we have to win the game against UCD and let the other contenders look out for themselves. UCD are fighting for their Division 1B survival. Bruff and Galwegians, who both won last Saturday, are two and four points respectively ahead of the Students, so UCD must win and rely on other results to go their way.
An interesting situation but our boys are playing well and they know they must maintain their standards if they are to achieve the goal.
The Faithful have been treated to some great rugby over the past two months and President John and Fitzy are asking for one final push. Come to Belfield on Saturday and give the boys you support for this vital last game of the season.

Team: Conor Gaston. Michael Lawton, Paul McKenzie, Stuart McCloskey, Peter Nelson, Jaryd Bennett, Michael Kirkwood. Glen Sinnamon, Adam Duhig, Mark Farquhar, Timothy Smith, Mark Jenkinson, Callum Threlfall, Rowan Halsall, James McMahon, Paul Jackson, Philip Whyte, Ben Howard, Jason Bloomfield, Mark O’Shea
Referee: Simon McDowell (Belfast Harlequins)
Tries: Peter Nelson, Conor Gaston, Michael Lawton & Glen Sinnamon
Conversions: Michael Lawton (4)
Penalties: Michael Lawton (3)

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