Those supporters who were in attendance at Moher on Sunday were treated to a try fest when the ball was touched down no fewer than nine times in the course of this second round Junior Cup fixture between Ballinasloe and Ballina. While the visitors went into this game as warm favourites and twelve places separated them from the   locals in their league placings, nevertheless they had to pull out all the stops to win this one.They had an edge in the backs and dictated the pace at stages but a plucky Ballinasloe side never gave in and played their part in an entertaining encounter.
It took this game some time to warm up but when it did it took off. Ballina went ahead in the thirty second minute with a try from Francis Conroy converted by Cory Brown.
Ballinasloe’s response was rapid and the hard driving No.8 Mark Harrigan went over between the sticks for a try, convertwd by Alan Naughton. Just before the break, incidentally the first half ran a few minutes over the normal forty for some unknown reason, talented Ballina centre Chris O’Neill scored his side’s second try again converted by Brown.
Early in the second half the visitors went further ahead when Brown converted a David Newman try before Harrigan and Naughton repeated their first half act to bring the score to 14pts to 21 in favour of the visitors. Ballina were up next and Conroy scored his second try, converted by Brown. Ballinasloe were still not finished and Richie Shepherd went over with Naughton adding the conversion at the second time of asking. Only seven pts seperated the sides with five minutes to go. But then the floodgates opened and from nowhere Ballinasloe were blitzed in the dying minutes by way of a man of the match performance from the elegant O’Neill who ghosted through the tiring Ballinasloe defence for two very late tries, the second of which Brown converted to put a real gloss on the scoreboard
for Ballina. Ballinasloe had some success in age grade rugby at the week-end when their U13 side defeated Ballina by 42pts to 12 in the cup away on Saturday while the U14s beat Westport by 38pts to 12 in their cup match at home on Sunday morning.
Liam Courtney


Mini rugby in focus: Buccaneers RFC