League leaders Clontarf end their run of 5 wins with a draw at Ballynacarn Park against Ballynahinch firsts
John Robinson Honoured After Year As IRFU President
There was a full house at the pre-match lunch on Saturday to celebrate our own John Robinson’s successful year as the President of the IRFU writes James Kirk.
John is the first person from our club to achieve the office and represented himself and his club superbly during Ireland’s successful Grand Slam season.
He was presented with a token of our appreciation by club President Graham Furey and returned the compliment by donating a signed Irish jersey to the club.
Ballynahinch Hold League Leaders To A Draw
AIL Division 1A,
Round 6 on Saturday 18th November at Ballymacarn Park,
Final score: Ballynahinch 24 Clontarf 24.
Leaders Clontarf arrived at Ballymacarn Park with five wins out of five and had to dig deep to force a draw as Ballynahinch solidified their position in the playoff places after six rounds of the Division 1A season writes James Kirk.
Adam Craig was able to call on a number of Ulster releases with James French, Cormac Izuchukwu, Marcus Rea joining Academy players George Saunderson and Bryn Ward in the forwards and Conor McKee, Ben Moxham and Ben Carson joining Ethan Graham in the backs.
Regular frontliners such as Callum Irvine and Paul Kerr were able to have an extra week of rest prior to a hectic Christmas fixture list, but the price to pay for such a raft of changes was continuity and it took the locals until the second half to impose themselves on the match.
They started superbly with an excellent try and conversion from Conor Rankin after 11 minutes.
A smart miss move in midfield gave Rankin space and he cruised in from 40m. Ballynahinch failed to capitalise on this opportunity and spent the rest of the half defending or falling foul of the referee.
Clontarf hit straight back with a maul try from Dylan Donnellan and landed a penalty to take the lead before another sweet strike from Rankin nudged the home side ahead.
The Dubliners struck just before the interval with another penalty to lead by a point and given they had the worst of the conditions their supporters were delighted to turn round with the lead.
They were given further cheer when full back Tadgh Bird went over after the Clontarf forwards had sucked in defenders with another effective maul.
The conversion was missed but a penalty on the hour put nine points between the teams and defeat looked likely for the locals.
However, they burst into life with a rousing fifteen minutes of play, scoring converted tries through the lively McKee, running a classic scrum half support line and Izuchukwu from close range following a long period of pressure on the Clontarf line.
Leading by a score going into the last ten minutes Ballynahinch will be disappointed not to close out the win, but Clontarf showed all their class to gather themselves and score again from their dominant maul to level the score with five minutes to go.
The conversion was missed and both sides had enough possession in the final moments to force a win but the game ended in an entertaining draw heading into a well earned rest a week before hostilities resume in December.
Ballynahinch 1-23: George Saunderson, Claytan Milligan, James French, Cormac Izuchukwu, Tommy Donnan, (capt), Marcus Rea, Zack McCall, Bradley Luney, Conor McKee, Jack Milligan, Ben Moxham, Mark Best, Ben Carson, Ethan Graham, Conor Rankin, Kyle McCall, John Dickson, Bryn Ward, Declan Horrax, Dominic Clapcott, Chris Gibson, John Robinson.