On Saturday, Ballymoney Firsts played Omagh from Kukri Q1, in the quarter final of the Town’s Cup and lost by the narrowest of margins in extra time by 9-3, reports Uel McDowell.
The home side played some excellent rugby and managed to keep Omagh pinned in their own twenty-two for a large stretch of the first half. The Ballymoney men were unfortunate not to score in the corner, from a blindside move by the forwards, but the referee deemed the ball to have been held up, much to the relief of the Omagh men.
Ballymoney played open rugby with the backline stretching their opponents at every opportunity, and midway through the half the pressure paid dividends when Omagh infringed on their twenty-two and Andrew Young confidentally slotted over the kick, putting Ballymoney three points ahead.
From the restart, Omagh worked their way into the Ballymoney half, using their pack and quick ball to keep the Kilraughts Road men on their toes. However hard the visitors pressed, the home side defended resolutely, quelling each attack. Just before halftime, Omagh drew level with a penalty kick in front of the posts, leaving the halftime score 3-3.
The second half saw both sides attacking and counter-attacking with neither side being able to break through stout defending and although Ballymoney had a few opportunities to score they could not cross the Omagh line. When Ballymoney attacked, Omagh counter-attacked at pace and this led to an entertaining but nerve wracking end to the second half.
There were several missed penalty kicks for both sides during this period which could have paid dividends for either team. The second half ended 3-3 and the sides went into extra time.
During this period both teams gave their all, but in the end it was the Omagh men who progressed to the semi-final by converting two penalty kicks and were fortunate to secure their win by 9-3.