DALRIADA 24 BALLYMENA ACADEMY 38
Ballymena Academy progressed to the quarter-finals of the Danske Bank Schools’ Cup with a determined second half display against a spirited Dalriada School in the fouth round at the Ballymoney venue.
Ballymena will now face a tricky away quarter-final tie against Wallace, while Dalriada will meet Down High School in the Subsidiary Shield quarter-finals. Both games are due to be played on Saturday, February 18.
Thomas Hunter was outstanding for Dalriada but Ballymena eventually showed their potential with a late rally in the match.
Ballymena started strongly and took a 14-0 lead in the opening stages of the first half. Oisin Jordan touched down for a try which was converted by Bruce Houston before Azur Allison scored a try which, once again, was converted by Houston.
Dalriada recovered from the early setbacks and took the game to the visitors. Hunter kept up his impressive try scoring record in the current campaign when he took advantage of hesitancy in the Ballymena defence to run in for a score. He added the conversion to reduce the Dalriada deficit.
Ross Fallows then outpaced the Ballymena cademy defence to touch down for a try and Hunter drew the tie level with the conversion.
Ballymena took the advantage going into the interval when Jordan touched down for his second try and a 19-14 lead.
Dalriada reduced the deficit to 19-17 early in the second half when Peter Elliott was successful with a penalty kick.
Ballymena increased their lead to 26-17 when Stewart Moore ran in for a try which was converted by Houston.
Back came the spirited Dalriada team and Dennis Posternak ran in for a try. Peter Elliott added the extras to reduce the Dalriada arrears to 26-24.
The introduction of Angus Kernohan to the Ballymena backline seemed to reduce the anxiety levels within the team. Mark Thompson scored a try, which was converted by Houston, to push them into a 33-24 lead. Mark Thompson then sealed the deal for Ballymena when he ran in for an unconverted try.