On Saturday Ballymoney seconds made the long trip to Fivemiletown to play a strong Clogher Valley team in the Crawford Cup quarter final.
The match kicked off in dry conditions with Ballymoney receiving the ball and immediately taking the game to Clogher through their mobile pack. Strong work around the ruck forced Clogher into giving away the game’s first penalty. The Ballymoney outhalf failed to convert, pushing the long range effort just wide of the posts.
From the restart Ballymoney continued to test the Clogher defences with strong running in the centre from Calvin and Smith. Clogher conceded another penalty for offside but again Campbell pushed it just wide. The number 10 redeemed himself after 20 minutes however, when good lineout ball found its way to Calvin who offloaded in the tackle for Campbell to score between the posts. He added the extra 2 points to leave the score at 7 points to nil.
The Valley men came back strongly and despite some fierce tackling they scored late in the second half but missed the conversion to leave the half time score at 7 points to 5.
That missed conversion would prove to be difference in the 2 sides as neither team scored in a tense second half.
The contest became a very tight affair with both sides having few chances to score. With Valley chasing the game it was the Ballymoney men that shone in defence. Excellent performances from the front row of Blair, Kyle and Bellingham ensured Valley were on the back foot at scrum time, and the second rows Clyde and Allan linked well in attack gaining valuable yards.
Frustrated by the solid defence, Valley used the boot to try to exploit space behind the Ballymoney line. The back three of Clarke, Murphy and Dunlop were excellent under the high ball and linked well to gain territory and secure possession.
The back row of Garvin and James Bellingham, and Curtis Montgomery worked tirelessy making tackle after tackle, and with this huge team effort in defence, Ballymoney closed out the game in the Clogher Valley half, winning 7-5.
The semi final will be played in 3 weeks time against either Dungannon or Ballynahinch and all support is welcome. Come on the Toon!!!