02.12.13 Ballinasloe RFC Report



A week’s break from action did little to enhance Ballinasloe’s recent momentum when they were outplayed and outsmarted by OLBC  at the Sportsground  on Sunday. Their play was well short of the more robust and upbeat performances of recent weeks. On Sunday they struggled to put any structure to their play and committed too many errors to be in the hunt for league points at the finish. OLBC were the hungrier and more composed side and deserved their win on the day.

The opening action was even enough with little to excite by way of scores.

OLBC showed their worth in the 15th minute when Darren Griffin sliced his way through a hesitant Ballinasloe defence for a try that went unconverted. He doubled his tally in the 24th minute when he followed up a ball that had been kicked in behind the visitor’s defence and when Dave Dooley added the conversion, the locals were quietly 12 points to the good.

Ballinasloe were struggling to stay in the game at this stage. However, they weathered the storm and in the 30th minute gave a cameo of what they can frequently do on a good day. John Hayes set up a rolling maul and when OLBC pulled it down illegally, Ballinasloe kicked the resultant penalty towards the corner. They took the line out ball cleanly, set up a second rolling maul and were in and over in a jiff with Aidan Doorley receiving the claps on the back as the players got up. The conversion went wide of the post. This was followed shortly afterwards by a Dooley penalty before Ruaidhri Doolan was short of the target with a long distance kick at goal. Just before half time prop, J.J.Carey, smartly intercepted the ball and made a strong dash to the line for the visitor’s second try. The conversion was not added, leaving the score 15-10 at the interval.

OLBC  started the second half with serious intent and dominated the exchanges with the action being played out on the Ballinasloe 22 metre line. They had a tactic of bringing outside centre, David Prior, into play with his running from deep and getting in behind the visitors cover to set up ball for his colleagues. While OLBC were on top they threatened more than they delivered and an unconverted try by Dave Reilly was scant reward for their dominance.

Ballinasloe, to their credit, never gave up and battled their way manfully into the locals red zone to set up camp there for the final ten minutes. Despite their below par efforts they were still only a score away from a losing bonus point. Driven on by John Hayes and replacement second row Mark Harrigan they had the locals on the back foot but just could not find a way through or indeed engineer a kick at goal. At one stage during this ascendancy period Ballinasloe had their opponents in all sorts of bother in a scrum close to their line. When  OLBC were penalised the visitors opted for a second scrum and though again having the upper hand the referee spotted an infringement in their ranks and awarded a relieving penalty to the city side. It was that sort of a day for Ballinasloe.

BALLINASLOE: D.Burke, C.Gormly, D.Freeman, R.Cullinan, Cian Loughrey, R.Doolan, Conor Loughrey, J.J.Carey, A.O’Hara(capt), T.Dolan, K.Headd, N.Staunton, R.Wakefield, J.Hayes, A.Doorley. Replacements: (all used) K.Gavin, M.Harrigan, H.Reynolds, J.Kelly, M.Tierney.                                          

Liam Courtney, Club PRO


The Jes reach last four with last minute winner