Ballymoney Seconds back on track with impressive win

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After last week’s tight loss to the league leaders, the Second XV were up against Dungannon, who have been a bit of a mixed bag this year. With snow on the ground, the trip up must have been a slow one, and the good conditions under foot surprised the visitors, who must have been expecting a mud bath.

Ballymoney Seconds are a strong side this year, right up at the top of Junior 3 alongside Portadown 2s, and 1st XV sides Virginia, Cavan, and Donegal. And it proved that they were too strong for the visitors, as right from the off the pressure told.

Tries came thick and fast in the first half - first Matthew Pollock wriggled over from a spell of close attacks, then Adam Hewitt controlled a 15m lineout maul, and veteran Andy Borthwick crashed over from short range shortly after - and Andrew McConville was on target with the conversions.

A welcome sight was Matthew Johnston rampaging over to get a try - the young second row stepped up again and performed well in the Seconds. This try came with good support in the midfield, and beating the last man to power over next to the posts.

The backs decided to get in on the action as well - first captain Chris Clarke finishing well on the wing to mark his full return from injury, and then John Gilkinson opening his second XV account.

As the game turned at half time, the Ballymoney team knew the result was in the bag, so structure and discipline would be the watchwords in the second half. And the momentum continued, with substitutes Andrew McIlrath, Craig Anderson, and Neal Mulholland straight into the action.

A further try came on 50 minutes, before a long break for an injury to a Dungannon player saw the game moved to the 3rd pitch. Fortunately, the injury seems less serious than initially feared, and we wish the player well on his recovery.

With the result clear, and the scrums uncontested, the final try came from Kenny McAneaney, appearing stealthily on the fringe to coast over untouched.

The referee blew for full time after 60 minutes, with the score 48-0.

This was a solid performance from the Seconds and sees them back on track, with tight games coming up against Donegal and Cavan.

Team Manager Sam McAllister will be looking for the same aggression and discipline, and a tightening up on the basic errors as these key games approach.

A challenge for the league and cup double is still very much on the cards for this exciting young Second XV.

BALLYMONEY LADIES

Ballymoney Ladies travelled to Ballynahinch RFC for the first round of the development league ReJenerate cup on Sun 24th January.

Owing to job commitments and illness, the Toon Ladies had an understrength side for their away fixture, and as Ballynahinch Ladies have so far been undefeated this season, they were in for an uphill struggle.

This took its toll as only ten minutes into the first half, the Toon ladies suffered enough injuries to players that the match had to be abandoned, giving the Hinch ladies the points for the fixture.

Ballynahinch kindly loaned the Toon ladies some players and the match was finished as a training exercise, to enable all players to gain some valuable match time.

Ballymoney Ladies would like to thank John Lavertys Optometrists of Ballymoney for sponsoring the match and providing training tops for the team.

The Toon Ladies next fixture will be at home to South Donegal at Ballymoney RFC on 21st Feb, K.O. at 1.30pm, and all support is welcome.

THIRDS

Ballymoney Thirds were due to play Newry Seconds in the Cup but unfortunately the game was cancelled.

On Saturday, February 6 they return to league action when they travel to Instonians.

MINIS

This weekend Ballymoney Rugby Club Minis travel to the counterparts at Eaton Park to play Ballymena.

IRELAND UNDER-20S

The Ireland U-20s, sponsored by PwC, kick off their Six Nations campaign on Friday in Donnybrook and tickets are on sale now.

A family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) costs just 30 Euro and tickets are on sale now. The 30-man squad features four players from last year’s campaign - Jacob Stockdale and Adam McBurney from Ulster, Andrew Porter of Leinster and Conan O’Donnell of Connacht. Lansdowne and Leinster A second row James Ryan will captain the team.