Players praised despite cup exit

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Ballymoney First XV coaches Jonny Hanna and James Cleland can take a lot of positives out of their game with Carrick on Saturday despite exiting the Towns Cup.

The Toon found themselves 22-0 down at half time in the second round clash, but they put in an inspired second half display to leave the home side sweating at the end.

The local lads won the second half 19-5 to lose 27-19 in the end but speaking after the game Hanna told Times Sport he was pleased with the response from his players.

“We started well and did find gaps in the Carrick defence but the home side put in 20 minutes of hard running and excellent ball retention and took us by surprise to push ahead 22-0,” he said

“We were slow to react to this and not used to playing against this sort of team. However the guys dug deep and took the game to Carrick.

“Any attack we had we made yards so once we got our defence sorted we looked dangerous. It was a great comeback to win the second half 19-5 and if we could have played another 10 minutes we could have won the game as we finished the stronger team.

“I was proud of attitude the guys shown. We need to how push on and take this intensity and attitude in the remaining league games starting with Saturday when we are at home to a very strong Cavan team.

“The squad have shown in the cup they are capable of competing in a league above, but we need to make sure we gain promotion first and that is our key objective now.”