Ballina Too Strong in Cawley Clash

The green-and-blues at home in Heffernan put a stop to a visiting Tuam’s challenge for the Cawley Cup, 22-5.

Trevor Moore hogged headlines with a hat-trick on the wing and bolstered confidence for a Ballina cup defence. The win was a double-blow for Tuam who fancied their chances having pipped Ballina by three a fortnight ago, 16-13 in Tuam.BallinavTuam1

Condemned for much of the winter to playing swamp footy on the beleaguered Ballina pitch, Sunday’s fixture was a far cry from the rain-sodden slick of Heffernan Park. Lush green coverage was a glowing testament to groundstaff and allowed the Ballina backs top conditions to unleash. And unleash they did as Ballina set about moving the ball wide as quickly, as often as possible, as soon as the game began.

If Tuam had an advantage it was in the tackle and the ensuing breakdown where Mick Ward toiled at his best.

Tuam actually found a degree of ascendancy and while they won penalty after penalty, Ballina did much to avoid close encounters involving red-and-blue forwards.

Moore’s first came from a Ballina lineout win off a Tuam throw, centre Jerome Harrimate finding the flying winger who had a fair bit of work left before the tryline. Moore ran outside his opposite and negated the closing cover defence with a deft chip-and-chase. Other winger Francis Conroy added the extras, helped by an upright deflection.

Aidan McNulty at eight clocked a solid day at the office carrying ball, and the backs responded to front foot service by carving off large tracts of territory without going to the boot.

BallinavTuam2Tuam too fronted with some champagne backplay themselves, Owen Cosgrove playing puppeteer. Ward and Stephen Burke, both with representative experience, relished Tuam’s open-space approach, as did winger Chris Madden who got within whispering distance of the tryline before a desperate Orrie Collins bundled him into touch.

Thirty minutes in Tuam succumbed to fierce scrum pressure and found the breakdown battle equally trying. Pinged for losing their footing, Conroy was unable to knock over the extras but Ballina remained firmly entrenched in Tuam territory. Several minutes later a Tuam clearance found Michael Murphy who closed the distance and found Ballina’s hooker Richard Kelly, who found Trevor Moore.

Again, Moore had much to do but faced with a forward did well to expose the mismatch and grabbed his second, 12nil at halftime.

Moore had to wait only five minutes after the second half restart to complete the hat-trick, some fancy footwork and breakneck pace once through responsible for his third. A Conroy penalty once again pushed the margin out and Tuam faced the final half-hour 22 points in arrears.

Ballina’s Laurence Leonard fell afoul of the referee, and earned himself 10 on the sideline. Tuam needed no invitation to up the ante and made good use of the numerical advantage, and Rory Cosgrove crashed over in the corner for a try. With time running out for his side Owen Cosgrove attempted a quick drop kick conversion unsuccessfully as he tried to ensure as little as possible of the time left was wasted for his side.

However after the restart Tuam’s attempts to run the ball resulted in them losing ground under the pressure of Ballina’s defence and the game finished with Ballina camped on their line when the final whistle blew. A good result for the Mayo men who snatched a semi-final berth for their toil, at home to Loughrea on April 8.

story – Clive Moore; photographs – Corinne Beattie

BALLINA; Kevin McCarron, Trevor Moore, Jerome Harrimate, Michael Allen, Francis Conroy, Andrew Moynihan, Michael Murphy (C), Paul Newell, Richard Kelly, Alex Lee, Mark Healy, Connor Forde, Phillip Timoney, Orrie Collins, Aidan McNulty, Rodney O’Donnell, David Rowe, Laurence Leonard, Niall O’Malley, Cormac Quinn.

TUAM; Jamie Murphy, Chris Madden, Brian Ruane, Nicky Brady, Owen Halion, Owen Cosgrove, Robert Kavanagh, Mike Ward, Stephen Burke, Fergal O’Neill, Barry Ruane, Paul Canavan, Geroid Connolly, Enna Hegerty, Pa Cunningham, Dave Noone, Conor Hurst, Stephen Kavanagh, Rory Cosgrove, Rory Murphy.


Mini-Rugby between Ballina RFC and Loughrea RFC