Ballymoney extend unbeaten league run to eight games

Ballymoney's Neal Mulholland.
Ballymoney's Neal Mulholland.

On Saturday the JKC BMW-sponsored Ballymoney 1st XV travelled to Holywood looking to bounce back from the previous week’s last-minute defeat in the cup to Lurgan.

With Calum McDonald unwell and Chris Watson unavailable, David McKeeman started at No. 7 and Aaron Brown at No. 13 with Andy Millar taking his place on the bench.

Ballymoney started strongly, a penalty awarded early doors after a turnover from McKeeman. Young kicked to the corner and from the resulting line-out, a strong break from Linton was off-loaded to the supporting McKeeman who was held up over the line. From the resulting 5m scrum, a huge drive over the line left No. 8 Nathanael McCollum with an easy try, converted by Andy Young.

From the restart, a loose pass was intercepted by Holywood who drove deep into the ‘Toon’ 22 ,where they knocked it on. Unfortunately from the resulting scrum, Ballymoney were turned over and Holywood drove over the line to score. The conversion was missed leaving it Ballymoney 7, Holywood 5.

The remainder of the half was mostly played in midfield and good defence from both sides meant there were to be no more scores.

The Toon started the second half with a bit more urgency, and soon were awarded a penalty. This came from good possession from the pack and Holywood were penalised for going off their feet at a ruck. Captain McFetridge opted to go for posts and Young duly added the three points.

It was Young again who was next on the score sheet when he spotted a hole in the home defence and slipped through a few tackles to run 30 yards and score below the posts, converting his own try.

As Hollywood pushed to get back into the game, their defence opened up and following a surging run by Neal Mulholland, the ball was released to Nathaniel Steele who continued his fine try scoring run to add the third of the game which Young again converted.

Both Mulholland and McCollum left the fray injured but the dominant Toon pack drove hard up the field with Irvine and McFetridge carrying well and only foul play from the ‘Wood back row stopped a certain try. However from the resulting penalty, the ever impressive Ian Moxen tapped and drove over the line to secure the bonus point.

With Young uncharacteristically missing the conversion, the referee brought proceedings to a close, Ballymoney victorious 29-5.

After the game, coaches Hanna and Clelland were pleased with the win.

“We came here knowing Holywood would be up for this. We spoke to the players in midweek to reminding them of the importance of their game management. We knew Holywood had a good backline so we had to limit the amount of ball they got and I feel we done that well.

“We also in previous weeks have been conceding too many needless penalties and we knew this has to stop. Today we only conceded five, with only one in the second half.”

“Andy Young was ‘Man of the match’ his kicking game was good and he scored a fine try. We are delighted that after eight league games, we are unbeaten and have had seven bonus point wins. Again we will continue to work hard at training and look forward to entertaining Monaghan at Kilraughts Road this Saturday.”