Good start key to Ballymena victory

 

Ballymena 20 Blackrock College 13:Ballymena may have blown hot and cold in the league to date but Saturday proved one of their warmer days - at least on the field of play.

It was Paddy Wallace, in tandem with Gary Longwell, who proved the architect of this Ballymena success. Longwell's influence in the pack both in the tight and loose was considerable, while Wallace landed ten points, all in the first half.

It was Longwell who sent Ballymena on their way with a fifth minute try which Wallace converted and when the latter added a penalty shortly afterwards, Ballymena began to look much more comfortable.

Wallace further embellished Ballymena's lead with his second penalty and four minutes before the break McDowell charged in for Ballymena's second try which Wallace converted to give them a 20-0 advantage.

But Blackrock had no intention of throwing in the towel and just on the break Aidan Turner streaked in for a try which Conor Kilroy converted. They showed much more enterprise in the second and Kilroy added two further penalites but they could make no further inroads..

SCORING SEQUENCE: 5 mins: Longwell try, Wallace con 7-0; 13: Wallace pen 10-0; 21: Wallace pen 13-0; 36: McDowell try, Wallace con 20-0 ; 40: Turner try, Kilroy con 20-7; 44: Kilroy pen 20-10; 49: Kilroy pen 20-13 .

BALLYMENA: S Young; J Topping, S McDowell, A Larkin, G Mitchell; P Wallace, A Kettyle; S McConnell, P Shields, B Young, M McCullagh, G Longwell, S Graham, J Taggart, R Nelson.

BLACKROCK: A Turner; A O'Neill, M Jackson, G Brown, C Kilroy; J Curry, B Willis; I McLaughlin, S Byrne, P Wallace, B Casey, J Fitzgerald, D O'Brien, R Woods, D McGettigan.

Referee: O Trevor ( Munster).