Ballymoney First XV made eight changes for their Junior Cup match against an extremely strong Portadown side who are flying high in Q1.
Ballymoney started strongest and were rewarded with 3 points through a Cormac McCartney penalty after Portadown infringed at the breakdown on 6mins. McCartney doubled the lead on 10mins with another penalty from just inside his own half.
Ballymoney continued to dominate territory and possession however Portadown scored the first try of the match.
Ballymoney responded positively and their continued dominance at scrum time was rewarded with a penalty try on 30mins when Portadown buckled under pressure for the third scrum in a row on their own line.
Portadown struck back with another break away try on the stroke of half time. Some slack defence allied with a missed forward pass from the referee allowed Portadown to go into the break one behind, Ballymoney 13,Portadown 12.
Portadown were first to strike in the second half through a penalties on 45mins. Ballymoney responded when once again their dominant scrum set the platform for John McFetridge to power over from close range on 52mins McCartney missedthe extras.
On 67mins Portadown scored another controversial try. Their second row who only served 7mins in the sin bin returned to the field. From the ensuing line out Portadown rumbled to the Ballymoney line and squeezed over for a try, the extra points were missed.
On 69mins Cormac McCartney raced onto a loose Portadown pass, then outpaced the defence to score an excellent try. He added the conversion. Three mins later Portadown added another try after a defensive mistake by Ballymoney.
In the final few minutes Ballymoney were encamped on the Portadown line and looked favourites to win the tie. However, inexplicably the referee awarded the visitors a free kick at the scrum to allow them an easy escape. On the stroke of full time Portadown kicked another penalty to seal Ballymoney’s fate.
From time to time in sport you don’t get what you deserve, this was one of these occasions. There were some excellent individual performances from Thomas Knight, Joel Hegarty and James Blair.