Ballymoney 4ths 11 - 8 Dromore 3rds
By Jimmy Speers
Ballymoney McCambley Cup Champions!
At a sun drenched Kingspan Stadium it was the men from Ballymoney who brought the famous McCambley trophy back to Kilraughts Road. This, the fiftieth anniversary year of this prestigious competition. Team Captain, Jimmy Speers, lifted the trophy to the delight of the large support who travelled down to the home of Ulster Rugby, at the Kingspan stadium to support their heroes.
Dromore started off the strongly, running hard lines at Ballymoney in the opening period and testing the defence. The Ballymoney back row of Jason Taggart, Aaron Ramage and Sam McAuley leading the effort as the men from the toon resisted the attacks aggressively. The early pressure paid off for Dromore when their fly half slotted over a penalty goal after ten minutes. The referee penalising Ballymoney for not rolling away in the tackle. Ballymoney responded with a Ryan Brace penalty and they moved into the lead soon after with another penalty goal by the out-half. Ballymoney, now enjoying most of the possession moved further ahead with the first try of the game. An attacking lineout deep inside the Dromore 22 saw a clean take by Andy Gardner, the pack piled in and the resulting drive saw Sam McAuley power his way over the line. Dromore finished the first half strongly, however the Ballymoney defence was again solid and weathered everything Dromore threw at them. Half time score Ballymoney 11 Dromore 3
The temperature soared as Dromore continued into the second half, much as they had just left the first. The Ballymoney defence again held up well and when they won the ball back, looked dangerous on the counter attach, Rory Strang and Darren Smyth threatening when they had the ball in hand. Only a dropped ball or poorly executed final pass, hindering Ballymoney from moving further ahead. Ballymoney continued to up the tempo. James Bleakley and Nathanial Steele were both having huge games. Prop forward Rab Shannon was also having an outstanding match, giving his opposite number a torrid time in the front row and working tirelessly in the loose. Dromore never gave up and made the final few minutes of the game a nail-biting climax when their winger scored a try late on. Ballymoney however was not to be denied and held on a famous victory and this team creating a little bit of history as they brought the trophy for only the second time in its 50-year history. Full time Ballymoney 11 – Dromore 8
Team captain, Jimmy Speers, was understandably exhausted and delighted when he spoke after the match. “That was a tough game. Dromore to their credit never gave up and made it a very exciting match. I knew that we had a very good team this season and the belief has been immense throughout our squad. To win this completion, I am overjoyed both for the team and the club. I again have to emphasize that it was a squad effort. Each team member played their part. I would also like to thank the support who made came down to cheer the team on, the noise was amazing, and it really helped push us on when we needed it most”. The party went on late into the evening at Kilraughts road after Jimmy and his team brought the trophy back home.