Late late show for Portadown see Toon exit Cup
Report by C McIlmoyle
Late late show from Portadown sees Toon exit Cup
On a mild autumn Saturday at Kilraughts Road, JKC sponsored Ballymoney 1st XV entertained Q1 side Portadown in the Junior Cup, looking to bounce back from the away league defeat to Lurgan the previous week .In the front row, Peter Irvine
returned from injury, with Russell Blair
& Danny Platt
returning in second row. Steele & Hyndman also returned at halfback and Watson joined Irwin in midfield .Thomas Hunter
also returned at fullback.
Ballymoney kicked off and were penalised almost straight away when the home winger was adjudged to hold the ball in the tackle.Portadown kicked too the corner and from the lineout ,a mistake at pillar in the home defence allowed the Portadown wing forward through a gap to open the scoring , try converted 7-0 Portadown.
The Toon hit back within minutes when a high tackle on Marty Irwin gave John Hyndman
a kick at goal which he duly knocked over, 7-3.
The toon were unlucky not to add to this further straight away when NO 8 Ramage cut a great line through the visitors defence only to be held up over the line,the ref however brought it back for a Toon penalty however Hyndman pushed it just wide.
The first try for the Toon was not long in coming though, another high tackle gave Hyndman the penalty which he kicked to the corner. From the resulting lineout, Ballymoney had several pick and drives before big Danny Platt
smashed his way over with Hyndman adding the extras.
Portadown were then reduced to 14 after yet another high tackle deep inside Ballymoney’s 22.Ballymoney continued to work extremely hard and moved further into the lead from a Hyndman penalty following yet another high tackle.
The second Ballymoney try came from a turnover in midfield , the ball quickly moved out to Nevin who made great yards ,the pack then smashed it up the middle before it was recycled out wide to Armstrong on the far wing who popped it inside for Irwin to smash over out wide left , conversion narrowly missed , score now 18-7 Ballymoney .
A Watson attack was thwarted just short of the line and from the scrum the big Portadown winger made a fantastic break the full length of the pitch just to be chopped down yards from the line by the retreating Irwin however the ref awarded a penalty which the visitors opted to scrimmage from which the referee somehow awarded a penalty try.
With no more scores the ref brought the entertaining first half to a close.
Ballymoney were straight at it again after the restart when replacement prop Adam Smith
intercepted a ball in midfield and was stopped just short of the line however the huge home support didn’t have to wait too long for more as Irwin scored his second try when he took a short pop and broke two tackles from a lineout deep in Ports 22 and with the impressive Hyndman adding the extras brought the score to 25-14.
Portadown worked tirelessly to get back into the game but the home defence was resolute and continually turned over ball and holding the Port attack up on numerous occasions.
With approximately 15 minutes left on the clock and the Toon defence working flat out, the referee yellow carded Irwin for what he deemed as a high tackle.Portadown were buoyed by this and kicked to the corner from the penalty from which they caught and drove the lineout to narrow the score to 25-21.
With their tails in the air and with a numerical advantage the ball was shifted to the big winger who attacked hard down the left and the ball was recycled infield where the centre saw a gap and dived over for the away side to regain the lead with minutes on the clock.
The home side tried in vain to get back into the game but it wasn’t to be their day , a long range penalty attempt from Hyndman went narrowly wide before Portadown sealed the win when a lineout deep in the Toon 22 was driven over , leaving the final score 35-25 to the visitors.
A disappointed Jonny Hanna said after the game “Today was a chance to make up for the poor away performance of last week and I felt for the big majority of the game we were excellent, we stuck to our plan and worked tirelessly in defence It was pleasing for the coaching team to see the drills we worked on through the week pay off on Saturday.To me the defining moment of the game was the dubious yellow to Marty, this swung the momentum back to Portadown when I felt we looked pretty comfortable in defence and the quick second try knocked us for 6. We take so many positives from this game, don’t forget Portadown are a Q1 side and for the big majority of the game we were by far the better side.We move on from this, it’s disappointing to lose however we look to next week where we play Lisburn at home and we will continue to work hard at training .A big thanks to the huge support today ,we look forward to it again next week”