BALLYMONEY Seconds lost 24-7 away to Omagh and Ballymoney Thirds were beaten 22-43 at home to Armagh.
A well drilled Omagh side made Ballymoney pay for their mistakes, but overall this was not a bad performance.
Ballymoney were looking to build on last week’s hard win over Grosvenor, but with several changes in the 1st XV, there were a few new faces. In particular, Matthew Pollock was welcomed into the side at scrum half after some good runs for the 3s.
This was always going to be a tight, forward-dominated affair, and the early exchanges proved as much. Omagh’s strong fringe defence and blitz out wide proving tough to break down.
Ballymoney did manage the first score, with Neal Mulholland taking a quick tap from an Omagh scrum offence, driving into the line, where Callum MacDonald was on hand to pick up and sprint 30 yards through to score.
But when Omagh regained possession they were well used to keeping control of the ball. The first half finished 7-7 after Omagh crossed the line following sustained pressure on the Ballymoney line.
In the second half, play was much the same, generally tight with little chance for either back line to make space.
Omagh, however, were generally better organised, scoring from tight plays around the fringes after good defence. In the end, Ballymoney had long spells of attacking play but were not able to make the breakthrough, leaving the score 24-7 for the home side.
Next week the 2s host Dungannon 3s, who have missed a few games and so will be hoping to get together for this one.
* The Thirds lost 43 22 at home to Armagh Thirds and were left to rue a poor start on Saturday. After twenty minutes they found ourselves 17 nil down. A part of this was down to starting the match with fourteen men.
With a penalty in front of the posts the captain for the day Neil asked Dean to have a shot at goal, however during the run up the ball fell forward meaning Hodges had to grab the ball and have a snap drop goal under pressure from the on charging Armagh men which unfortunately drifted just wide.
Not wanting to the let up on the pressure from the twenty two drop out Ballymoney received the ball deep with the ball being passed to the charging McIlvenna who beat the first two men before chipping the ball on. Under pressure from McIlvenna the ball squirted out of the resulting maul. In the melee that the followed Neil dived over the Armagh try line only to have the try disallowed as the Ref was unable to see the grounding of the ball in normal match speed. From the five metre scrum Armagh gave away another penalty, which was converted by Hodges.
From the restart Ballymoney continued applying pressure and were soon back in the twenty two looking for more points, but after several warnings by the Ref Ballymoney lost the first of their players to the sin bin, Andrew Millar. Down to fourteen men again and a lapse in concentration coupled with weak tackling allowed Armagh to score two soft tries just before half time.
In the second half, Ballymoney refused to give in and again peppered the Armagh line but unfortunately just couldn’t find that key to unlock the defence or when through couldn’t make the pass stick.
Against the run of play Armagh broke through Toon the defences to score again.
Ballymoney continued to play to the final whistle looking for more scores but the game finish 43-22.
After the game it was felt the first twenty minutes for a number of reason ultimately cost Ballymoney cost them and 14 men for large parts of the game and three disallowed tries also didn’t help.