Ballinasloe came face to face with the realities of competing consistently at the highest level of Junior rugby when they came off second best to Monivea in in this second round of the Cawley Cup at Ballinasloe on Sunday. There was little enough difference between the sides in terms of the more rudimentary aspects of the game but when it came to the more subtle features like creating space, reading movements and controlling the match then there was a notable gulf in class. To be fair to Ballinasloe, who are presently in the top half of Div. 1B, they were facing a side from the top of Div.1A who have been courting AIL rugby in recent seasons. There was no loss of face for the locals in this defeat as they fought manfully for the duration and kept the visitors honest in the process.
Having dominated the early posession Monivea took the lead in the tenth minute when scrum half, Ger O’ Connor found a gap in the Ballinasloe defence and went in for a try. He was short with the conversion. Ballinasloe played their best rugby after this score and forced the visitors into a defensive strategy in their own half for the next twenty minutes but found it difficult to create anything worthwhile. Mike Colohan reduced the arrears with a penalty after thirty minutes but then Ian Murphy added to the locals woes when he was allowed through uninterupted for Monivea’s second try which was converted by O’Connor. There were no further scores in the opening period with the visitors 12 to 3 ahead at the break.
The second half was only five minutes old when centre John Culkin scored try number three, converted by O’Connor and there was no way back for Ballinasloe. The locals did not throw in the towel however and both Mark Harrigan and Aidan Doorley lead forays to the Monivea line but they were repulsed each time by a well drilled visitors defence. Mike Colohan was off target with a fifty fifth minute penalty from thirty five metres before Ronan Coughlan added to Monivea’s try count without the conversion to bring the score to 24-3 in favour of the visitors. As the game entered the final fifteen minutes the superior fitness and strength of the visitors began to take its toll on the home side and in an energy sapping finale Monivea ran in three late tries courtesy of Ian Murphy(his second), Colm Neary and Seamus Fahy  two of which were converted by O,Connor to give Monivea a comfortable win in the end.
Ballinasloe: M.Colohan, R.Shepherd, I.Loughrey, J.Dunne, N.Loughrey, G. Hogan, S.Daly, J.J.Carey, A.O’Hara(capt), T.Dolan, K.Dolan, H.Reynolds, A.Wade, M.Harrigan,A.Doorley. Replacements:A.Moloney, C.Bartlett, N.Staunton, K.Hogarty, A.Naughton.


Mini-Rugby between Ballina RFC and Loughrea RFC