UCG 12 BALLINASLOE 64

Ballinasloe returned to the bread-and-butter of league footy with relish on Sunday following their cup heroics of the previous weekend.

They chalked up an emphatic 64-12 victory over NUIG in Dangan, a mis-match in every measure.

The tourists returned after the Christmas layoff with few rusty components and have gone from strength to strength since. The students, on the other hand, looked out-of-sorts and lacking creativity, but rallied late in the piece to show glimmers of hope which could have posed a real threat if apparent earlier in the game.

Ballinasloe’s Mark Harrigan posted the first points four minutes in, Robert O’Beirn responsible for the extras. Richie Shepherd went over shortly after, and, with O’Beirne, repeated the feat within seven of that for a 21point first-quarter buffer. The bonus point came via skipper Andy O’Hara, O’Beirne maintaining a 100% strike rate, and the fifth of the first half through Darragh Burke (and O’Beirne) for 35points at half time.

Shepherd and Burke clocked up their third and second respectively but forced upon O’Beirne the ignominy of a flawed record, missing two in a row. 

Robert Ahern shot through a chink in the Ballinasloe armour 15minutes in to put College on the board, Keith Farry succeesful with the kick, 7-45.

Robbie Wakefield extended O’Beirne the courtesy of a close-in try for Ballinasloe’s eighth, but College pulled back the deficit through Andrew Carroll squeezing it (marginally) 12-52.

First tryscorer Harrigan grabbed another, and Mark Gibbons nabbed the last of the day, O’Beirne sending his final kick sailing through for 70percent and a 14point personal haul. Ballinasloe now stand alone atop to J1B table, having played 11 and won 10. Buccaneers, despite dropping three games throughout, are one point adrift picking up eight bonus points to Ballinasloe’s two. The pair is seven points clear of their nearest rival Loughrea, although the latter has two games in hand.

BALLINASLOE: D.Burke, C.Loughrey, C.Johnston, L.Feerick( R.Keller 52mins), M.Gibbons, R.O’Beirn, R.Shepherd( C.Brophy 60mins), J.J.Carey, A.O’Hara(capt)( A.Wade 60 mins), T.Dolan( E.Courtney 55mins), D.Fenton, M.Harrigan, R.Wakefield, K.Headd( H.Reynolds 60mins), A.Doorley.

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