Junior 1B

Loughrea 14 beat Ballinasloe 11.

Ballinasloe suffered their second league defeat after a titanic struggle away to Loughrea on Sunday.

In a game full of honest endeavour and no little excitement, a missed Ballinasloe placekick two minutes from time denied a stalemate finish after 80 gruelling minutes.

In a primetime show of junior rugby at its best, both sides slugged it out on a gluepot pitch soundtracked by parochial sideline spectators. Ballinasloe flew out of the traps scoring first through Mark Gibbons, who scampered through for an unconverted try before Loughrea could draw first breath. Stinging, the hosts countered by camping in the visitors’ half long enough to engineer two successful penalty kicks from the boot of Stephen Creaven. Ballinasloe took the hits and responded with a penalty from Robert O’Beirn 25minutes in. He was off-target three minutes later.

Ballinasloe’s Donal Fenton found himself on the wrong side of the ruck shortly before finding himself on the wrong side of the touchline for 10 minutes. Loughrea, one man up, began dominating in the final stages of the first half. Another penalty gave Loughrea the lead 9-8 at the break.

Noel Mannion’s charges began to impose themselves and the hosts had to defend.

Lady Luck scowled on Ballinasloe two O’Beirn shots bounced back off the paintwork, one found the mark for 11-9 Ballinasloe.

Loughrea pushed a penalty deep into the Ballinasloe corner on the 68 minute mark, claimed the throw and cheeky scrumhalf Greg Glynn scurried over for Loughrea’s final five-pointer. No strangers to a scrap at the death, Ballinasloe toiled to get within 35m of the Loughrea line, won a penalty but could not convert.

The Ballinasloe seconds fielded a young and inexperienced side against Tuam on Saturday night in a Junior2 league fixture, put in a good performance but succumbed 22-nil. The stronger visitors led by 17pts at the interval but the locals grew in confidence as the second half progressed and restricted Tuam to one try in the second period while missing out on a few scoring chances themselves.

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