Dungannon 36 Ballymena 31
The draw for the second round of the Senior Cup was kind allowing the ‘country cousins’, Dungannon and Ballymena to meet at Stevenson Park. Some classy running rugby was anticipated but not before a rather strange opening quarter yielded lots of errors and referee’s whistle. Before the break that improved and Dungannon led 15-3. The second half produced a total of seven tries and at the finish Dungannon emerged 36-31 winners with a place in the semi-final draw. All credit to both sides for such a feast of running rugby! Ballymena kicked off and attacked from the first whistle. Two minutes later Michael Stronge missed a penalty shot for the visitors but Dungannon went one better on 5 minutes when Jordan McIlwaine hit the target. Errors continued to spoil chances for both sides until the 15th minute when good work by the Dungannon pack saw Sean O’Hagan crash over at the posts. McIlwaine’s conversion was a formality as the hosts went 10 points clear. Ballymena bounced back and a forward pass spoiled a chance when Glen Baillie and Patrick James combined. On 35 minutes Stronge had better luck with a penalty but at the other end a magnificent overhead pass from Mark Faloon found Andrew McGregor who finished the move. Errors continued to dominate at the start of the second half and a wayward Dungannon pass allowed Pierce Crowe to dart in at the posts for Stronge to convert. Five minutes later a stray Braid pass saw McIlwaine round the defence for a try that he converted himself. Ali Burke then broke down the left and that paved the way for a Ballymena try per winger, Dean Reynolds. Stronge converted to make it 22-17 on 50 minutes. Back came Gannon and an excellent drive from the forwards saw James Gamble dive over for McIlwaine to convert. A burst down the park from the experienced Rodger McBurney saw him score a converted try and Ballymena once more closed the gap to 5 points. Dungannon retorted and a phase of excellent play ended with Alex Gormley touching down for McIlwaine to convert. Ballymena hit back and Dungannon made the mistake of not playing to the whistle when a visitor appeared to knock on. McBurney simply gathered the ball and sent Joseph Thompson away to complete the scoring. This game also doubled up as a Kyle Cup match and Dungannon were happy for some early season silverware.
Dungannon:- Glenn Sinnamon, Malcolm Allister, Sean O’Hagan, Lewis McCrabbe, Peter Doran, David Leyburn, Adam Milligan, Alex Gormley, Jack Ravey Adam Evans, Jordan McIlwaine, Mark Faloon, Harrison Dudley-Rode, Matthew Montgomery, Andrew McGregor, Daniel Maxwell, James Gamble, Cameron Steenson, Craig Gibson, Johnny Toal.
Ballymena:- Scott Agnew, Andrew Ferguson, Adrian Kirkpatrick, Connor Smyth, Joseph Thompson, Matthew Dick, Dominic Gallagher, Alistair Burke, Michael Stronge, Pierce Crowe, Dean Reynolds, Glenn Baillie, Patrick James, Kane McIlroy, Mark Thompson, David Forsythe, Ryan Mattison, Ian Caldwell, Matthew Norris, Rodger McBurney.
Referee:- Oisin Quinn
The full list of Senior Cup results is as follows:-
Omagh 12 Ballynahinch 22
Dungannon 36 Ballymena 31
City of Derry 5 Armagh 39
Harlequins 13 Rainey OB 45