Seconds are foiled after a very promising start

JOhn McGuckin gets a pass away.
JOhn McGuckin gets a pass away.

Dungannon secured an early lead in this entertaining Towns Cup battle at Stevenson Park, but then fell behind to two Ballymena tries.

Thereafter, Dungannon were chasing the game and despite closing the gap twice the Braid men sealed the issue with a try on the hour mark.

Conditions were excellent for a running game and both sides contributed to a lively start. That said, it was a good effort by the Dungannon pack that brought the opening score when Peter Smith dived over on 4 minutes. The conversion was missed but Dungannon were more than happy to go five points clear.

Ballymena retorted before Timmy Smith charged down a kick ahead. Undeterred, the visitors held good field position until the impressive Richard McCrudden acted as provider for the onrushing Matthew Harkness to score. Jonny McMullan fired over the conversion to make it 5-7.

Five minutes later Dungannon were caught napping when McCrudden took a quick penalty to go all the way. McMullan missed the conversion but made amends midway through the half when he bounced a penalty in off the upright. Dungannon rallied and once close to the Braid line, Sean O’Hagan squeezed in to leave it 10-15 at the break.

Within ten minutes of the second half Ballymena added another 8 points. First it was McMullan with a penalty before he added the extras to a Jonny Rosborough try.

Back came Gannon and when a driving maul collapsed a Braid player was sent to the ‘bin’ and the home side awarded a penalty try that Jake Finlay converted to make it 17-25 on 57 minutes.

Hopes of a Dungannon recovery then went down with the setting sun as energetic lock David Whann charged through for McMullan to convert on the hour mark and, after a scrappy final quarter, Ballymena held on forthe win.

Dungannon: Jake Finlay, Darren Simpson, Andrew Creaney, Marcus Mulgrew, Nathan Patterson, John McGuckin, Gerard Treanor, Colin Prime, Jamie McNeill, Sean O’Hagan, Rodney Blair, John Joe Kane, Lorcan Martin, Peter Smith, Tim Smith. Reps: Declan Treanor, Andrew Lee.

Ballymena: Alan Smyth, Jonny McMullan, Darrell Montgomery, John Nicholl, Jonny Rosborough, Paul Campbell, Richard McCrudden, Chris Da Mata, Adam McBurney, Chris Cundell, Chris Smyth, David Whann, Cory Millar, Matthew Harkness, Dominic Gallagher. Reps: Andrew Cundell, Salva Palomaries.

Referee: P.Rea, Harlequins

In the Crawford Plate match at the Cran Dungannon Thirds were beaten 43-7 by Clogher Valley II.

The ‘ever green’ Philip McCammon scored the losers’ try and Robert McLean added the conversion. The two sides meet again at Stevenson Park this weekend when Junior League points are at stake.

Table Quiz resumes this Thursday, Soroptimists, good supporters of charity, in charge.