BALLINA 25

O.L.B.C.      5

(from Clive Moore in Heffernan Park, Ballina)

A great performance against a much fancied O.L.B.C. side earned Ballina another victory in the league making it two wins from two games. It was a comprehensively dominant display from the home side and in the end they will have been disappointed not to have scored four trys and earned a bonus point. Ballina started brightly and took the game to the visitors immediately.

From a ruck Ballina’s debutant Out Half Sam Johnson stepped inside his opposite number and made a break before linking up Francis Conroy who found Second Row Mark Healy in support. Healy made a great break and when he was finally brought to ground Prop Forward Tom Tolan carried the ball further before setting up a ruck inside the visitors 22. The ball was quickly passed out to Winger Connor Devers who passed to Francis Conroy but the industrious Ballina number 11 was tackled into touch. Pressure on O.L.B.C’s throw in cost them the lineout, an omen for how the set piece dominance by Ballina was to proceed for the day. Shortly after that Ballina won a penalty in a scrum 12 metres inside the Galway men’s half to the left of the posts. Sam Johnson struck the kick very well to open the scoring and give his side a 3-0 lead.

The 19 yr old Ballina Out Half was instrumental in creating the next score 10 minutes later. O.L.B.C. had earned a lineout inside Ballina’s 22, but again fell foul of the pressure being exerted on their throw in by Phillip Timoney and Stephen Dolan in particular. The ball was over thrown and Sam Johnson raced onto it for Ballina. The young Out Half displayed a great turn of speed and elusive running before linking up with Connor Devers who kicked ahead and gave chase. The covering Boy’s Club defence secured the ball on the ground but Tom Tolan lead the charge to the ruck and turn over the ball. Acting as Scrum Half Devers again kicked ahead and as he was tackled late Ballina were awarded a penalty from where the ball landed outside the Boy’s Club 22 and to the left of the posts. S

am Johnson struck the kick well and stretched Ballina’s lead to 6-0. Although O.L.B.C. took the game to their hosts, largely due to some good tactical kicking by Out Half Luke O’Donnell they never looked like seriously threatening Ballina’s line as the home side, marshalled by Captain Michael Murphy from Scrum Half, was uncompromising in defence. When the ball was turned over in a ruck inside their half the home side earned the ultimate reward as it was quickly moved wide and phase after phase was put together with Sam Johnson, Michael Allen, and Jerome Harrimate all displaying fast hands and good decision making as well as good pace before Tight head Prop Tom Tolan popped up on the wing and ran in for the game’s opening try, touching down close to the posts. Johnson was unerring with his conversion so Ballina lead 13-0.

O.L.B.C. had to respond and this they did with Prop Paul McCreanor up front and Centre Dave Prior to the fore they began to re-establish themselves in the game. Ballina began to concede penalties and when Scrum half Greg Flaherty one quickly he was tackled before the defenders were back the required 10 metres. This brought the kick within Winger Dave Dooley’s range and he struck the ball well to open the scoring for his side. The score was now 13-3. Three minutes later Ballina were penalised for sealing off a ruck in a similar position and Dooley again converted the opportunity reducing the home side’s lead to 13-6. Ballina responded and forced the visitors into conceding a penalty in similar circumstances but the kick from a difficult angle just drifted wide for Sam Johnson. Two minutes later Ballina added an excellent score when Jerome Harrimate made a powerful break and managed to stay on his feet before offloading to Michael Murphy. He in turn passed on to Orrie Collins who ran an excellent line before passing inside to Second Row Stephen Dolan who couldn’t be stopped from touching down for a well worked try. The conversion attempt by Johnson drifted wide so Ballina lead 18-6. It remained the score at half time but ill discipline by the home side in a series of rucks meant that Richard Kelly was sin binned for Ballina just before the break.

In the second half although a man down the home side continued much the same as they had in the first half with the set pieces of scrum and lineout causing particular problem for the Galway men. There was some remarkable performances and spectacular play to behold. Notably the chop tackling of Prop Alex Lee for Ballina and two wonderful and fearless feats of fielding, first by Connor Devers and then by Michael Murphy, on both occasions the Ballina men acrobatically soared through the air amid challengers before plucking the ball from the air for their team. As the tide of possession flowed against them O.L.B.C. conceded penalties and Sam Johnson had another attempt from a difficult angle which was unsuccessful. The Mayo men did increase their lead shortly after being restored to 15 men when again they turned over the ball in a ruck close to the half way line.

 Flanker Orrie Collins made a great break before setting up a ruck 5 metres from the try line on the right hand side of the field. The ball was quickly moved through the hands as Ballina had men over to the left and when Andrew Moynihan passed to Phillip Timoney the latter couldn’t be stopped from racing over and touching down. A good conversion kick from Johnson stretched the lead to 25-6.To Boy’s Club’s credit the responded well and took the game to Ballina who during this period made a number of changes. Substitutes Paul Newell and Alex Corduff worked tirelessly when they came on with Corduff putting in some bone crunching tackles while in the back line wingers Tyrone De Silva and Francesco Lo Bartolo showed great pace and attacking flair, but Ballina’s cohesion was disrupted and they found themselves defending their line for sustained periods.

 Eventually following a number of rucks and “pick and go” plays close to the line O.L.B.C. substitute Tom Breen raced in on the wing to score a good try. Dooley was unable to add the conversion so the score was 25-11 to the home side. Although Ballina continued to look for the fourth try which would have earned them the bonus point in the end it eluded them. It seemed Jerome Harrimate was clean through after a well executed backline move but the short pass to him was forward. The score remained the same when the final whistle sounded giving Ballina a well earned victory.         

BALLINA; Andrew Moynihan, Connor Dever, Jerome Harrimate, Michael Allen, Francis Conroy, Sam Johnson, Michael Murphy (C), Alex Lee, Richard Kelly, Tom Tolan, Stephen Dolan, Mark Healy, Orrie Collins, Phillip Timoney, Aidan McNulty, Paul Newell, Rodney O’Donnell, Alex Corduff, Tyrone De Silva, Franceso Lo Bartolo.

O.L.B.C.; Donnacha Carey, Dave Dooley, Dave Prior, Mark O’Boyle, Eamonn Dowling, Luke O’Donnell, Greg Faherty, Paul McCreanor, Patrick Curran, Mike Burke, James Moran, Dave Hansberry, Shane Charlton, Shane Connors, Dave O’Reilly, Eamonn O’Flaharta, Tom Haddock, Tom Breen, Joe Connolly, Sean Connolly.

REFFEREE; Joe Doyne 

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