Ballinasloe’s recent winning run came to an end at Corinthian Park on Sunday where they were cruelly denied a losing bonus point when conceding a last minute try before going down by 30pts to 21.

Credit to the sides for providing an entertaining fare where both had their purple patches. No one would deny the city outfit their win at the finish. They were the stronger side over the eighty minutes and were able to dip into a deeper well of experience than their opponents to see them through some crucial moments in the game.  

Yet spare a thought for a gallant Ballinasloe whose goose seemed to be cooked midway through the second half. They were trailing by 11pts with the winners coming at them in waves. Nevertheless, with big hearts and fighting spirit they clawed their way back into the game to trail by only 4pts with the final seconds being played out. While bitterly disappointed by that final sting, they will still have learned much from this outing that should stand them in good stead as the season rolls by.

Corinthians were the more eager beavers in the opening exchanges and shot into a 3pt lead after four minutes when Jonathan Dwyer landed a penalty from in front of the posts. Ballinasloe’s early play was surprisingly laboured and laced with hesitancy. Little surprise then when the locals cemented their early dominance with a tenth minute try, thanks to Colin Hegarty. The conversion kick was not productive. 

Ballinasloe slowly began to awake from their slumber and play their way into the game and Ruaidhri Doolan reduced the deficit with a penalty before the midway point of the half.

The visitors were unlucky to be denied a try when the referee spotted a double movement as John Hayes was helped over the Corinthian line to touch down before Doolan added his second penalty of the afternoon to leave two points between the sides.

Ballinasloe hit the front in the 35th minute when Andy O’Hara intercepted a pass inside his own half and made a fifty metre dash before off loading to the supporting Cian Loughrey who finished off the movement with a neat try. The conversion was missed.

The game took another turn just before the break when the hosts struck for a brace of tries; the first was the product of a slick passing movement that saw full back, Greg Flaherty, enter the line and go over in the corner while the second saw flanker, Donnacha Phelan, take full advantage of a yawning gap in the visitors defence before prancing in for a try on the stroke of half time. Both conversions were missed. The score was 18pts to 11 at the break.

Ballinasloe began the second period in a determined mood, forcing the locals back into their own twenty two but the hosts defence withstood much pressure at this juncture. And then Corinthians increased their lead in the 55th minute. A direct drive by Mark Byrne created a chance for Rory Connellan to score a try and secure his side’s fourth try bonus point. Jonathan Dwyer added the conversion to bring the score to 25-11 and cue for the locals to put their opponents under the cosh. The visitors defended stoutly, putting their bodies on the line with some stern tackling. It would have been easy to throw in the towel at this stage but this Ballinasloe side is made of stern stuff these days.

The visitors lifted the siege in the 67th minute with a strong run out of defence by Cian Loughrey, bringing play into the Corinthian half. It was like a call to arms to his colleagues and they responded in kind. Minutes later replacement prop, Kevin Gavin, who continues to impress with each outing, was making the hard yards towards the locals line before supplying Cian Loughrey, who was proving an elusive runner for the home tacklers all afternoon, with the ball for his second try. The conversion kick was off target. Shortly afterwards he was in for his hat trick of tries with the conversion going no where but more importantly there was now only 4pts between the sides. With the game deep into stoppage time Ballinasloe lost control of the ball at their own put in to a scrum inside their own half gifting Donnacha Phelan his second try and his team’s fifth. Game over.                                                                                  

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

Ballinasloe’s next league outing is at home on Sunday against Connemara. Kick off 2.30pm


Ballinasloe’s U19s travelled to Creggs for a league fixture on Friday night and came away with a whopping 76pts to 5 win. A feature of this win was Eoin McCormack scoring six tries.                      

The U15s had a much narrower league win over Buccaneers at Dubarry Park on the score line of 14pts to 12. They led by 14pts to 0 at half time before having to withstand a strong second half rally by the home side.                                                                                                                                        

The U14s travelled to Castlebar and defeated the locals 29pts to 24 in their league.                             

The U13s emulated the U19s by racking up over 70pts when overpowering Westport by 79pts to nil. Scorers for the locals were: S. Jennings (2tries,3 convs), O. McCormack (2tries,2convs), S. Horan, D. Farrell (2tries each), C. Treacy (1try,2convs), J. Cunningham, C. Potter, O. Dooley and N. Muldoon (1try each).        


Liam Courtney, Club PRO


Gallery: HT minis – Ballinrobe, Ballyhaunis, Corinthians and Dunmore