- John Russell
- David Leyburn
- Adam Milligan
- Lewis McCrabbe
- Stephen Todd
- Matthew Montgomery
- Michael Lawton 5
On a beautiful sunny afternoon at Eaton Park it was Dungannon that benefited from the sun on their backs as they took the points in this eagerly awaited encounter between the country cousins. In a fiercely contested contest Dungannon got their noses in front early on and when Ballymena looked as though they might get back into the game the Tyrone me countered with another score. It was a beautiful afternoon but most heartening of all was the sight of 30 young men playing a spirited game of rugby football again.
Dungannon started brightly with significant bursts by Ross Stewart and Mark Faloon taking them up to the Ballymena five metre line. After a couple of drives scrum half John Russell darted over beside the posts leaving Michael Lawton with a simple conversion.
0 – 7
A good break by Jordan McIlwaine was halted when a pass went astray but Gannon kept the momentum up with another burst from Ross Stewart. Eventually Stephen Todd broke through and gave a great off load to the ever supporting David Leyburn who ran over beside the posts giving Michael another reasonably simple conversion after twenty-five minutes.
0 – 14
Dungannon now had their tails up and when they won a scrum on their own ten metre line a great pass by Adam Evans sent Matthew Montgomery away on a thirty metre run; when stopped he passed to Adam Milligan who raced in from the twenty-two for a try on thirty minutes. Michael again converted.
0 – 21
The Dungannon pack continued to dominate and following a drive won a lineout close to the Braidmen’s line. The tireless Leyburn drove and when held initiated a secondary drive that allowed Lewis McCrabbe to score his first try of the season after thirty-five minutes.
0 – 26
Dungannon were gifted another attacking opportunity when an offside gave them a penalty that was dispatched deep into the Ballymena twenty-two. When Malcolm Allister was stopped just short of the line Ballymena won a penalty that they surprisingly decided to run. That materialised into a second penalty and when a Dungannon player unwisely gave some questionable advice to the referee Quinn Ballymena had a penalty close to the halfway. Another quick tap saw fleet footed centre Pierce Crowe show his talent as he ran in a score from just inside the Dungannon half beating several defenders enroute. The try was converted by Tim Small on forty-two minutes.
7 – 26 Ballymena started the second period strongly and some direct running saw their right wing Sam Millar go over in the corner after forty-three minutes.
12 – 26
A break by Connor McGeough started another Dungannon attack that was taken up to the Ballymena twenty-two. Stephen Todd gathered a pass and ran on strongly to dive over between the posts for a most welcome score that Michael Lawton converted on forty-six minutes.
12 – 33
Ballymena then had a period of pressure and enjoyed the better of play until Dungannon broke up field. A terrific tackle from Andrew McGregor on the Ballymena ten metre line resulted in a counterattack being halted and Dungannon winning possession. Mark Faloon made some space and fed Matthew Montgomery wide on the right. Monty used his head to beat two defenders and run around behind the posts for the try goaled by Michael Lawton on sixty-five minutes.
12 – 40
Ballymena attacked from the kick off and Crowe was eventually caught by Lawton just two metres short of the line. Although Dungannon cleared the danger Ballymena attacked again and there followed a five minute assault on the Dungannon line that was successfully defended.
With the last play of the game Ballymena got their third try after the strong running Pierce Crowe fed Ireland Under 20 wing Ben Moxon who touched down. Tim Love converted.
19 – 40
Dungannon will be pleased with this performance; they got in front and kept the pressure on Ballymena by doing the basics well. The pack performed well and worked hard in the loose whilst the backs looked cohesive in attack and kept their defensive line against a potent Ballymena backline.
However let’s not get too excited, enjoy the day but it’s only the first competitive match of the season
Dungannon: Connor McGeough. Matthew Montgomery, Michael Lawton, Mark Faloon, Jordan McIlwaine. Andrew McGregor, John Russell. Ross Stewart, Sean O’Hagan. Stephen Todd, Lewis McCrabbe. David Leyburn, Adam Milligan, Peter Doran. Daniel Mikolajczyk, James Gamble, Cameron Steenson, Adam Evans, Stuart Patterson
Referee: Oisin Quinn