Toon lose out to Limavady
On a bright sunny early spring afternoon, the JKC/Causeway Geotech sponsored Ballymoney 1st XV made the short journey across the mountain to league leaders Limavady , with the Toon looking to secure a top 4 league playoff place .
Aaron Gervais made his long-awaited return from injury, replacing the unavailable Matthew Steele and John Laughlin also returning in centre after a period on the side-lines. James Cleland came in at fullback after Rory Strang was unable to play due to injury.
Ballymoney started strongly taking the game to Limavady and were unfortunate not to open the scoring after a period of pressure inside the home 22 but were penalised on several occasions from an attacking lineout.
On 20 minutes the home side opened the scoring when a break up their right wing was stopped just outside the 22 , the ball was whipped across the field leaving an overlap and their left winger crossed in the corner , conversion missed 5-0 Limavady .
Limavady doubled their lead shortly afterwards, they won a lineout just outside the 22 and moved the ball to the opposite corner to score. Unfortunately, during this move, James Cleland had to leave the pitch with a suspected broken arm and Ballymoney had to reshuffle the side by moving captain Dave McKeeman to the wing.
On 35 minutes, another lapse in concentration by the away side gave Lims the chance to capitalise again and scored a carbon copy of the first try out wide left. Again conversion was missed leaving half time score 15-0 .
Second half started with Ballymoney with the bit between the teeth but an early score took the wind completely out of their sails and unfortunately Ballymoney then lost no 8 Jordan Munnis with a badly cut eye .
Ballymoney continued to press but their execution in the opponents 22 was poor with wayward passes and dropped balls all too common and Limavady closed the game down to win 20-0 , putting a dent into the plan of finishing within the top 4 .
After the game Marty Irwin said , “ Today was a very disappointing day for us , I felt we played very well with the set piece functioning a lot better than it has in recent weeks but we just didn’t have the cutting edge to open up our opponents - our execution in their 22 left a lot to be desired .This we have to improve on if we hope to have any chance of finishing in a playoff place .
Credit to Limavady, they are a good side and are not top of the league by chance .They were very clinical and took their opportunities and were able to shut us out on the day .
We must continue to work hard at training as we look ahead to our trip to Larne, we must try and get as many points from our last 4 games and we can only do this with full commitment from the squad .I would also like to wish James Cleland a speedy recovery as he faces surgery after breaking his arm during the game .Hope to see him back around the club very soon .”