The JKC BMW and Geotech sponsored Ballymoney RFC 1st XV entertained Omagh 2nd XV in the conference league at Kilraughts road on Saturday and in an entertaining game ran out 45-5 winners.
It was a sunny day but there was strong wind blowing towards the club house which Ballymoney choose to take advantage of. The home side started the brighter and started the stronger of the sides. From a strong scrum the ball was moved through the back line and John Hyndman who was playing outside centre was on the end of some good handling to add the pace needed to round his opposite man and race in from 20 metres. Rory Strang added the extra 2 points and Ballymoney took an early 7-0 lead.
That was to be the tone of the game with the Ballymoney forward setting up a platform for the impressive backline to add the cutting edge and finish off the move with points. The second try came after 15 minutes when again some hard carrying from McFetridge and Munnis took play to the 5 metre line. The ball was spun out the backline and an inside pass from Hyndman to centre partner John Laughlin to see him crash over at the posts. Rory Strang slotted over the conversation to take the score 14-0.
Omagh put in a series of phases which took them into the Ballymoney 22. From a penalty they mauled close to the line and the Omagh forwards showed good strength to drive over the line. The conversion was good and the score after 30minutes was 14-5.
Ballymoney added one more score before the end of the first half as again they moved the ball to the far right and then back again to the left touchline for replacement Jonny Linton to outpace the cover defence and score in the corner. Rory Strang again added an excellent kick from touch line to take the score to 21-5 at half time.
Shortly into the second half the game was stopped for a serious injury to young Ballymoney prop Daniel McConaghie. He was replaced by prop Peter Irvine. It took a few minutes for Ballymoney to get back into their flow but from a long Omagh kick Peter Dunlop spotted a gap in the Omagh defence and beat several defenders before chipping the fullback and outpacing the Omagh cover to score a great individual try. Again Strang added the conversation to extend the lead 28-5.
With 30 minutes remaining a strong carry by Munnis and quick hands by McFetridge set the backline moving again. This time it was Hyndman who was to show his pace and strength to beat two defenders and spirit in from 40 meters out to score to bring the score to 33-5
The scrum was now dominating in the final quarter and from a penalty 5 metres out, it was the turn of scrumhalf and Captain Matthew Steele to burst over. The conversion went narrowly wide but the scoreboard moved to 38-5.
The final try of the game came straight away from the kick off as Omagh tried to switch the play and kick to the back line but Laughlin reacted quickly and gathered the high ball and drew his opposite number to put the dangerous Peter Dunlop away again on a run down the wing to score the final try of the game below the posts. The trusty boot of Strang added the points and Ballymoney lead 45-5.
Omagh finished the game strong and drove at the Ballymoney line but the home defence held firm. A knock on from the visitors saw the referee blew for the end of the game.
Man of Match: Peter Dunlop
Team: M. Blair, C. Montgomery, J. McFetridge, A. Tweed, N. Mulholland, D. Ramage, L. Wray, J. Munnis, M. Steele (c), M. Irwin, M, Bell, J. Laughlin, J. Hyndman, P. Dunlop, R. Strang, P. Irvine, J. Linton.
Coaches Comments: Manager Chris McIlymole stated after the game “The win today was over shadowed by the injury to prop Daniel McConaghie. Daniel suffered a dislocated elbow and broken arm. He’s had surgery and we wish him a speedy recovery and we all hope he can return to rugby soon and continue the great potential he had shown at the start of the season.
The backline today was excellent. The forwards carried hard and made ground but once the ball was moved out the backs they looked very dangerous. The new combinations the guys had worked on at training game off well and we can continue to experiment next week when we travel to Bannbridge in the Conference league. John McFetridge and Jordan Munnis showed some great play to link well with the back line. It was good to see a return to 1st XV rugby to Peter Irvine, Neil Mulholland and Jonny Linton and we hope they will continue to push for places in the squad.
Saturday seen the last game for Peter Dunlop as he heads off on his travels. All at the club would like to wish Peter all the best for his travels and we hope he will be back scoring try’s at Ballymoney again soon”.