Rugby: Ballymoney smoke not so golden Virginia

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Ballymoney 1st XV kicked off their home league campaign, hoping to build on the away bonus point victory at BHSFP, with newly promoted Co. Cavan outfit Virginia the visitors to Kilraughts Road.

With Captain John McFetridge missing due to a neck injury and Calum McDonald also out with a broken nose, Nathanael McCollum and David McKeaman came in with experienced centre Chris Watson also making his first competitive start of the season.

Ballymoney’s early pressure soon paid off and with 10 minutes on the clock, David McKeaman opened the scoring after a well worked passage of play. Outhalf Andy Young adding the conversion.

After the restart, the Toon upped the pressure again as Nathaniel Steele scored the second and again Young converted.

After the interval Michael Allan crashed over in the corner, and he was at it again minutes later scoring his second and securing the all-important bonus point with Young converting.

McCollum added the fifth, throwing an outrageous dummy to score below the sticks, again Young added the extras. Virginia now deflated, and with a man in the bin for constant infringements, Michael Allan got the hat-trick to cap a fantastic display with Young again adding the conversion.

Man of the Match Matthew Steele weaved his way across the line after more forward dominance and with the game almost over Thomas Knight galloped over to score the eighth try.

“I felt we dominated the game from start to finish and although we took our foot off the gas midway through the first half, we upped it again in the second half and we finished strongly, showing that the hard pre-season work is paying off,” said Coach Johnny Hanna.

“We have a tricky game next week away to P.S.N.I so we need to continue to put in the hard work in training.”