Connacht U14 Cup Final
Ballina 33-22 Galwegians
Ballina clinched the Connacht U14 Cup title in style at the Sportsground with a 33-22 win over Galwegians after an outstanding decider at the Sportsground.
There was no sign of cup final nerves for either side in a rip-roaring encounter that saw both teams play some thrilling running rugby.
Ballina made the better start with inside centre Sam Callinan darting through a gap to cross from close range for the first try in the opening minutes.
Scrum-half Hugh Reddan orchestrated the Galwegians response as his dancing feet made the initial break before prop Nikki Pheiffer touched down in the right corner.
Galwegians then hit the front after they were awarded a penalty for a high tackle with Charlie Power obliging to give Galwegians an 8-7 lead.
Ballina then enjoyed a real purple patch with captain Alex Hennigan making a number of excellent runs with no.8 Fiachra Barrett scoring in the right corner after one such run to make it 12-8 after 20 minutes.
Callinan thought he was in for his second try shortly after but a foot in touch well spotted by the touch judge.
Ballina didn’t have long to wait for their third try though as Barrett touched down his second try on 26 minutes and David Feeney made it 19-8 with the conversion.
Galwegians were in desperate need of the next score and they got it on the stroke of half-time as winger Darragh O’Malley showed great pace to touch down in the right corner before Power slotted a superb conversion from the touchline to make it 19-15 at the interval.
Ballina struck first in the second half as Seamus Mason showed great anticipation to grab an intercept try from 30 metres with Harry West’s conversion pushing Ballin 11 in front.
A bit of magic from West in his own half created the next opportunity with the out-half skinning the covering defence to score a magnificent try and move Ballina firmly into the driving seat.
Galwegians showed great heart to keep the game alive thanks to a very well-taken Luke Martyn try with the outside centre kicking his own conversion to move Galwegians within 11 but Ballina held out to secure the Connacht title.
Ballina RFC: Paul Brennan; John Ginty, Liam Golden, Sam Callinan, Seamus Mason; Harry West, David Feeney; Alex Moran, Darragh Walsh, Daniel Boland; Sean Murphy, Jack Gawley; Alex Hennigan (C), Ciaran Boland, Fiachra Barrett.
Replacements: Patrick Morrin, Ronan McLoughlin, James Rafter, Liam Connor, Iarla Quinn, Mark Barrett, Michael McHale, Tadgh Staunton, Kian Meryeink, Eoin Fox, Cormac Jackson.
Galwegians RFC: Hugh Gavin; Darragh O’Malley, Luke Martyn, Charlie Power, Patrick Nash; Ben Vlarke, Hugh Reddan; Kyle Brogan, Dylan Keane (C), Nikki Pheiffer; Marcus Lowry, Alex Naughton; Adam Fitzgerald, Mark O’Connor, Mark O’Dwyer.
Replacements: Nathan McCormack, Malachy O’Brien, David McCaul, Roan Elwood, Andrew Sherlock, Ciaran Park, Dara McAodha, Ben O’Malley, Jack Fitzgerald.