CREGGS  12——–BALLINASLOE  10

Ballinasloe are certainly not getting any rub of the green in their opening league games this season as they went down to Creggs at The Green by the narrow margin of two points on Saturday night. They lost by a similar margin in their opening league game against Dunmore and on both occasions they had last minute penalty kick opportunities to snatch late wins. Played in ideal conditions under floodlights and against the backdrop of a harvest moon, this was about as romantic as the night became for Ballinasloe.                                                                                                                   

Proceedings began on a sombre note of a minute’s  silence in tribute to the Ulster player Nevin Spence and members of his family who died tragically the previous week-end.

When the action began Ballinasloe were the early pace setters and as the hosts were penalised for off side after five minutes Paddy Birch kicked the visitors into an early lead. The action settled down after this with little to choose between the sides as both tried to dust away early season cobwebs. Ballinasloe should have scored at least one try midway through the half when a number of charges at the Creggs line came up agonisingly short each time. The locals weathered the storm and landed two penalties before half time from the trusty boot of out half Noel O’Flynn.

Creggs went further ahead early in the second period when the same player repeated the dose and had his side 12pts to 3 in front by the 50th minute. To their credit, Ballinasloe never flagged. They plugged away and deservedly scored the game’s only try after fifty seven minutes. Aidan Doorley took a ball at the tail of a lineout to set in motion a rolling maul that saw prop J. J. Carey barge over for the touch down. Paddy Birch added the extras to leave two points between the sides with the final quarter still to play. He was off target with a penalty kick to restore the visitors lead minutes later. Shortly afterwards Doorley saw yellow for a late tackle that looked rather lightweight but as the referee thought differently he trotted away for an unplanned break. Creggs could not add to their lead during the sin binning but forced the visitors to play the closing stages around half way and clear from causing any damage. Ballinasloe’s last minute penalty kick at goal was from distance and fell to land a few metres short of the posts.

Ballinasloe: M.Tierney, M.Gibbons, C.Johnston, K.O’Neill, C.Loughrey, P.Birch, R.Doolan, J.J.Carey, A.O’Hara(capt), T.Dolan,  K.Dolan, D.Fenton, H.Reynolds, N.Staunton, A.Doorley. Replacements: G.Donellan, A.Wade( for A.O’Hara), M.Harrigan(for D.Fenton),  B.Brophy, C.Loughrey.                   LIAM COURTNEY                                                                                                                                                 PRO BALLINASLOE  RFC                     

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