While giving competitive debuts to three youngsters in the back division, Ballinasloe will still be disappointed with the outcome of their opening league fixture in this Junior 1B clash at Dunmore on Sunday. Finding themselves 7pts in arrears even before the ball had got wet on a showery afternoon, they battled their way back into contention with a big second half performance but still came up short at the final whistle. Dunmore took the lead straight from the kick-off when Nigel Silke pounced on a blocked down kick for a try with Stephen O’Toole adding the extras. Ballinasloe found it difficult to get any rhythm going but defended resolutely while playing against the hill in the opening half. Both sides were full of early season endeavour but found forward momentum thwarted as each side fell foul of the tackle area.

With the homeside unable to build  on their early lead, the visitors turned down the opportunity to reduce the arrears before half time when Killian O’Neill was off target with a penalty attempt.  The second half was dominated by the visitors. They showed early intent when a knock on saw a try go a begging. As they upped the ante Dunmore found it hard to hold their discipline and had three players yellow carded, two being for high tackles. As the clock ticked on Ballinasloe camped close to the locals line and a succession of scrums ensued. The third yellow card was flashed  for a scrum infringement at this juncture and Dunmore could count themselves very lucky that the referee did not take a trot to their sticks to award a penalty try.

Ballinasloe made the almost inevitable breakthrough in the seventy second minute when lively out-half replacement, Paddy Birch, skipped in for a try following a neat pass from Cian Loughrey. The conversion went astray. They pressed on but could not create a further opening for a winning try. Still they could have snatched victory at the death but were wide with a penalty from thirty five metres in the last action of the match.                                                                                                              

 Ballinasloe: M.Tierney, C.Loughrey, C.Johnston, N.Loughrey, M.Gibbons, K.O’Neill, R.Doolan, J.J.Carey, A.O’Hara, T.Dolan, M.Harrigan, D.Fenton, H.Reynolds, R.Wakefield, A.Doorley. Replacements: G.Donellan, A.Wade, N.Staunton( for D.Fenton ), W.Shorte, C.Loughrey, P.Birch( for K.O’Neill ).                              

LIAM COURTNEY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 PRO BALLINASLOE RFC

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