Lisburn 3rds 5 - 39 Ballymoney 4ths
By Jimmy Speers
Ballymoney Fours Impressive in League Finale away to Lisburn.
The River Ridge backed Ballymoney team, travelled to Lisburn for their final match in the Premier League, keen to secure second place runners up spot. One week after the McCambley cup final heroics, the visitors quickly returned to action, keen to continue their good run of results and carry on the winning run.
It was a blustery afternoon as Ballymoney kicked off and it only took two minutes of play for the visitors to open the scoring. The Lisburn defence were caught flat footed as Ballymoney took a penalty and quickly changed the direction of pay. Blindside flanker, Aaron Ramage powering over the line for the opening score. Ballymoney extended their lead through a Sammy McMullen try. The powerful centre fshowing good support and awareness, when he collected an off load from Rab Shannon, after lovely break from the prop forward. Sammy squeezing over despite the valiant efforts by the Lisburn defence. Ballymoney continued the scoring with a lovely try through flying winger Jimmy Nevin. Jimmy carved through the Lisburn defenders following good phases of play by the now dominating Ballymoney pack. Ballymoney’s fullback, Aidy White, showing he clearly hadn’t lost his touch of class, releasing Bracey for the fourth score of the half and securing the bonus point early in the game. For the remainder of the half, Lisburn tried hard to work their way back into the match. The Ballymoney defence however, was resolute, led by Rab Shannon and Sammy McMullen, both having an outstanding match, relishing the challenge of the physical Lisburn attack. Half time score, Lisburn 0 Ballymoney 20.
The second half kicked off with the away side continuing with the high tempo game and quickly regained the dominance in procession. It was just reward when Aaron Ramage crossed the line for his second score of the match, coasting past at least three Lisburn defenders before touching down. Ballymoney continued to apply the pressure, patiently working through the phases. Lisburn, equally defending hard to keep their fading hopes of a home win alive. Ballymoney’s efforts were justly rewarded when Mark Morrison crossed the line for a deserved try. From the restart the Ballymoney pack again put the visitors under pressure. This forced an infringement from the Lisburn back row, and the referee awarded a penalty. The ball was quickly fed to Chris Clarke, the winger, evading a number of Lisburn attempted tackles, before diving over in the corner for an excellent score. Ryan Brace stepped up to slot over his over the conversion kick, his second of the game. Lisburn did earn themselves a consolation try in the final few minutes, however by this stage the game had ended as a contest. Final score 39 points to 5 in the Toons favour.
The Ballymoney Team manager Cormac was more than impressed with the performance and obviously delighted with the win. “Both sides were physically, we won the early collisions and that set the trend for the match. We played the territory and procession game and our patience was rewarded with some excellent team scores. It was a very pleasing performance and a good game for the spectators. We had a lot of very good individual performances however, I thought the forwards played very well. Rab Shannon continues to be impressive, he had a tremendous game at loose-head. Aidy White, Aaron Ramage, Ryan Brace and Sammy McMullen also had inspiring performances”. After what has been a very successful season, the fours earn a well-deserved break now after five weekends of action in succession, including winning a Cup final. Team Captain Jimmy Speers would like to extend his thanks to all who played for the fourth fifteen throughout the season, coaches, physios, water-boys and supporters. It has been a hugely successful season for the team, club and all involved with the Mighty fours.