Connacht Junior League Div 1A

GALWEGIANS 12
BALLINA          52
(In Crowley Park, Glenina, Galway)

Ballina travelled to Galwegians last Sunday and secured an impressive bonus point win, scoring eight trys in the process. Ballina’s Number 8 Phillip Timoney scored the opening try and the bonus point was secured before half time thanks to a hat trick of trys from David Newman. Played in glorious late autumnal sunshine conditions suited an expansive flowing game and both sides tried to execute a positive expansive game plan on the day. In fact in the opening minutes there was good enterprising play from both sides. When they got their hands on the ball Ballina wasted no time in executing their attacking game plan. Out Half Cory Brown broke down the short side of a ruck, put the hard running Chris O’Neill free in some space and after good continuity play from Ballina, Phillip Timoney crossed the line and touched down for the first try of the game just four minutes after the kick off.  Cory Brown was unsuccessful with his conversion attempt so the score was 5-0 to Ballina. Galwegians responded and Ballina’s defensive resolve was put to the test as Galwegians brought play right up to the visitors try line, but despite their best efforts and a series of scrums five meters from the line, they couldn’t find a way past the hard tackling Mayo men. Flanker Phillip Lewis was a very prominent force of destruction for Ballina, as were his back row colleagues Judd Ruane and Phillip Timoney.
Galwegians Out Half Darragh Mullins was wide with a penalty kick attempt after Ballina strayed offside in their enthusiasm and inevitably the visitors weathered the storm and broke into the Galwegians half again. The Centre partnership of Chris O’Neill and David Newman was proving to be a lethal attacking force and a difficult one for the home side to contain. With half backs Michael Murphy and Cory Brown orchestrating matters behind a pack that was providing a solid platform of set piece ball for them to play off it wasn’t long before Ballina notched up another score. Another break by O’Neill, followed by good interplay between himself and Newman, with the former eventually being tackled short of the try line but still able to pop the ball up into the hands of Newman who’s support play was rewarded when he crossed his first score. A well struck kick by Cory Brown added the conversion and gave Ballina a 12-0 lead. Galwegians remained positive and tried to get back in the match and Hooker Jack Kelly was at the heart of their efforts in much of what they did well, but the visitors pack was performing well also. William O’Connor replaced the injured Judd Ruane at Flanker and he brought another dimension to the lineout. His brother James O’Connor was effective at Tight-head Prop in the scrums and Hooker Rodney O’Donnell was doing well finding his lineout targets. The ruck was producing fast ball and following good attacking play involving Full Back Kieran Rouse and Winger Niall O’Malley O’Neill and Newman were once again causing havoc the latter running over for his second try which again Cory Brown converted to stretch the score to 19-0. Galwegians tried to establish a foothold in Ballina territory, but David Newman wasn’t finished yet. His array of skills were all on display as he accelerated forward with the ball in hand chipped the ball over the defence, gathered the ball again himself, stepped inside the closing scramble defence and outpaced all to score a great individual try which secured the bonus point. When Cory Brown added the conversion it was 26-0 to Ballina and remained so until half time.
In the second half Ballina continued to attack relentlessly and it took just ten minutes for them to unlock the Galway men’s defence again. Chris O’Neill’s hard running was rewarded when a delayed pass from Cory Brown put him away in space and able to cross the line untouched to score under the posts. The conversion was added by Brown stretching the lead to 33-0. Daniel Carrabine was introduced in the Ballina Second Row for Conor Forde and Hooker Liam Lynch came on to replace the hard working Ciaran Melvin in the Front Row, as Rodney O’Donnell moved to Prop. Lynch’s support play was rewarded when following excellent continuity, good handling and a patient build up of phases of attack, Galwegians ran out of defenders as the ball was put through the hands by Ballina in a sweeping right to left movement which culminated in him crossing for a try. Cory Browns conversion brought the tally to 40 points for his side. Galwegians rallied and a series of penalty infringements by Ballina allowed them to establish themselves in Ballina’s 22 before good patient retention of the ball by the home side eventually lead to Second Row Declan Hogan crashing over for a try which Darragh Mullins converted. The score was now 40-7 but not for long as immediately Ballina established themselves in Galwegians half. They formed an effective driving maul from a lineout which was still going forward when Scrum Half Michael Murphy broke leaving all in his wake as he stepped inside the cover defence and scored under the posts. Cory Brown was unerring with the conversion which brought the score to 47-7. Des Howley came on for David Newman and Ballina added another try when again their hard running, evasive skills and quick ruck ball proved to lethal a combination for the hard pressed Galwegians defence. It was Kieran Rouse who finished off his sides scoring on the day when he touched down for a very good try. It was just reward for the Ballina Full Back who had an excellent game, both fielding and kicking but especially when initiating much of his side’s counter-attacking play. Cory Brown missed the difficult touchline conversion, and the game Galwegians side were justly rewarded themselves when in their final attacking play of the game Scrum Half Marty Connolly scored a try which was unconverted leaving the final score 52-12. It was an impressive display by Ballina and one which shows the strength in depth of their panel as they rested some of their players who would be considered regulars. Ominously for those who have to play them yet Ballina’s post match attitude was to focus on what they could improve on and certainly not to get to carried away with the emphatic victory. They must focus on a different competition next Saturday as they travel north to take on Dromore in the All Ireland Cup. It will be a very different and difficult challenge, especially with just six days between the matches, but it also one that they have demonstrated they can rise to.

GALWEGIANS: Jarlath Naughton, Jack Kelly, Barry Ahern, Declan Hogan, Ronan Geraghty, John Mackey, Josh Downing, Mark Rouse, Dave O’Flaherty, Simon Crawford, Ralph Parkes, Sean Egan, Danny Carr, Darragh Mullins, Martin Connolly, Dan Ryan, Remi David, Mike Mullins, Senan Quain, Rory Murphy.
BALLINA: Ciaran Melvin, Rodney O’Donnell, James O’Connor, Mark Healy, Conor Forde, Phillip Lewis, Judd Ruane, Phillip Timoney, Michael Murphy (C), Cory Brown, Niall O’Malley, Chris O’Neill, David Newman, Michael Clarke, Kieran Rouse, Liam Lynch, Dan Carrabine, William O’Connor, Aidan McNulty, Des Howley.
REFFEREE: Noel Crowley.

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