Ballinasloe gave their promotion chances a huge boost with a convincing win over league leaders, Castlebar, at Moher on Sunday.

Coming into the game with some good form behind them, the locals produced  their best performance of the season to date to send the Mayo side home without even a bonus point to savour.

As the league reaches its climax, it is all very tight at the top with only three points separating second placed Ballyhaunis from Dunmore in sixth place. Ballinasloe are lying fifth but have a game on hand on two of the sides above them on the table. It is still all very much to play for in the remaining games.

After a good opening period the home side led at half time 9-5 and outscored their opponents in the second half 13-7. It wasn’t as though Castlebar were out of sorts, more a case of the locals arriving at the party with all the goodies.

Ballinasloe’s outhalf, Kealan O’Neill, was in excellent form with the boot all through and landed three first half penalties to keep his side on song.

The hosts scored their try soon after the change over when a flowing move across the backs provided the platform for No8, John Hayes, to touch down by the sticks with O’Neill converting. He also added two further penalties before the game was out.

Castlebar were never going to surrender the points cheaply and posed a threat for a long time in the game as when they scored their second try with the conversion being added. However, with the local backs running and passing to good effect and a hardworking pack with Niall Staunton to the fore, a home win was strongly on the cards before the game entered its final stages.

Ballinasloe team: M.Tierney, Cian Loughrey, R.Doolan, C.Johnston, M.Gibbons, K.O’Neill, Conor Loughrey, J.J.Carey, A.O’Hara(capt), T.Dolan, H.Reynolds, N.Staunton, R.Wakefield, J.Hayes, A.Doorley. Replacements: K.Gavin(for J.J.Carey), A.Wade(for A.O’Hara), M.Harrigan(for H.Reynolds), A.Loughrey(for R.Wakefield), B.Brophy.

The club also recorded two good wins in under-age cup fixtures at the week-end. The U15s posted a big win over Buccaneers when winning by 22pts to nil. They played with confidence right through while the visitors found it difficult to make any serious impact. Scorers: B.Horkan, I.Muldoon, J.Nevin and F.Stewart (1try each), E.Galvin(1 conv).                                                                                                        The U14s travelled to take on NUIG Barna in their cup fixture and met strong resistence before coming through 29pts to 12. Ballinasloe scorers: J.Canning(2tries and 2convs), B.Sinclair,S.Bleahin and L.Powell(1try each).                                                                                                                                       Liam Courtney                                                                                                                                                          PRO Ballinasloe RFC


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