BALLINASLOE 3   V    8 CONNEMARA
There was a rather bizarre start to this junior league fixture between Ballinasloe and Connemara at Moher on Sunday. The visitors were awarded a penalty within thirty
seconds of kick off for off side but were off target with a kick at goal. A minute later the home side’s two centres were departing the scene with knocks; Andy O’Hara
suffered a blow to the face while Lorcan Feerick damaged a finger.The irony of it all was that this turned out to be a very clean game of rugby. Ballinasloe took most of
the first half to adjust to the substitutions and positional switches. No surprise that Connemara bossed the early exchanges. There were nearly 25mins gone on the
clock before the home side got any foothold in their opponents half and then their pack began to rumble. Connemara were forced onto the backfoot for the remainder
of the half. Half time arrived with no score on the board.
Ballinasloe took up where they left off in the first half with their forwards dominating the exchanges.They used the rolling maul to telling effect to make the hard yards
but all they could show for their efforts was a paltry 3pts from a penalty kick after 63mins. Connemara began to take heart from the fact that they were only 3pts in arrears
as the leaders began to tire. They now started to play their rugby in the Ballinasloe half with their speedy backs spreading play across the pitch. They began to look
more and more likely to make the decisive breakthrough for the all important try. Indeed that threat was there all afternoon. Having missed a kickable penalty in the 74th minute and following some poor option taking by Ballinasloe, the westerners made the all important move with two mins remaining on the clock. Macdara Breathnach
was put in possession twenty metres from the Ballinasloe try line and he easily fended off two flimsy tackles to touch down at the posts. John Davis added
the conversion. There was not enough time on the clock now for Ballinasloe to muster one final attack to try and retrieve the situation and the locals had to be content
with yet another losing bonus point.
Ballinasloe: A.Naughton, A.O’Hara, L.Feerick, D.Manning, D.Fenton, R.Shepherd, J.J.Carey, K.Hogarty, T.Dolan(capt), K.Dolan, H.Reynolds, M.Bruce, M.Harrigan,
A.Doorley. Replacements used: E.Courtney, R.Devlin, J.Kelly.

Ballinasloe had two good wins in age grade cup competitions at the week end. The U17s had to come from behind to overtake Dunmore in a closely fought encounter at Moher. Some good play by Ballinasloe lead to their out half, Ross Keller, scoring a try under the posts which he also converted to put them 15pts to 14 up with 10mins remaining. He also scored a first half penalty where the locals trailed by 14pts to 3 at the break. A well taken try early in the second period by Cormac Clogher gave the
home side the impetus they needed to go on and win the game by the narrowest of margins.
The U13s continue in their rich vein of form with a convincing win over Connemara in their cup game, also at home.
The U15s, meanwhile, had to cancel their friendly fixture with Buccaneers on Saturday morning because of a frozen pitch.

LIAM COURTNEY,
PRO BALLINASLOE RFC

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Club & Community statement following the conclusion of domestic rugby season