With a few weeks of pre-season under their belts, Ballymoney RFC will take on Limavady in a friendly this Thursday, 7th August, at Kilraughts Road, with kick off at 6:30pm.
In what is sure to be a tight affair at the start of the season, both coaches will be looking to have a look at how their regular squads are shaping up, and also take a look at some new players coming through the ranks.
With the youth league restructures to U18, U16 and U14, there are only a handful of players making the step up to senior level; Alan McBurney, Wesley Ferris, John McLean, Nathanial McCollum, and Gavin Thompson.
Additionally, some of last season’s Dalriada squad have moved up and will be keen to make an impression – Matthew Steele, Craig Anderson, and David McKeeman.
Sam Neilly also comes in from Limavady Grammar, and Daniel McCord from Cambridge House will bolster the ranks and create competition for places. Chris Watson will also return after a foray into Ballymena, and will look to make a significant impact.
For various reasons, Scott Nelson, James Cleland, John Richmond, and Andy Gardiner have moved on, and Jonny Hanna’s knee injury will keep him out until after Christmas.
But, last season’s breakthrough players included Garvin Bellingham, Sam Kyle, and Neal Mulholland, who all stepped up to seal regular places in the team and feature regularly in man of the match and try scoring write-ups. This season no doubt a few more players will find a new level and make significant contributions to the side.
For Thursday’s fixture, Coach Jason Taggart takes the helm for his 10th season in charge. This year there is very much a ‘back to basics’ focus and with so much player turnover fitness has been paramount in training, and defensive hunger and organisation will be important. In attack, simplicity will be key, with a strong emphasis on building phases and picking on weaknesses in close quarters.
As always, we welcome any new players, coaches, or volunteers to the club. The senior squad is training Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 – but the youth, ladies, and minis are also preparing for their new season. Youth rugby will start on August 26, with a registration and training night for all sections- U18, U16, and U14.
The ladies will feature adult, U18, and U15 sections this year, with the option of an U12 section in the minis still to be explored. And the minis will continue to build on their thriving section and tour successes of last year, with teams from P1 to P7 training and playing on Saturday mornings – registration day will be August 30 from 10:30am – or go to the new ballymoneyminirugby.co.uk website.
It’s shaping up to be another exciting season at Kilraughts Road so why not come along and get involved?