AIL Division 1A.
Garryowen 25 Ballynahinch 5
Report by James Kirk from Dooradoyle.
The Division 1A landscape continues to be a chastening place for Ballynahinch as they suffered a fourth consecutive defeat on their return to the top tier of club rugby in Ireland.
They travelled in good heart with a strong side bolstered by Ulster releases Kyle McCall, Zac McCall, Marcus Rea, Jack Regan and debutant Hayden Hide and with a capable bench including Aaron Hall and Tom Stewart. But the errors which have blighted their start to the campaign and a lack of cohesion which was exacerbated by more injury problems left them on the end of another defeat.
The game was played in terrible conditions at a wet and windy Dooradoyle and was a largely forward dominated exchange. The deadlock was broken in the 27th minute when Irish U20 star Ben Healy gave the home side the lead with a penalty and when prop Jonny Blair saw yellow Garryowen took full advantage with a converted try from full back Jamie Heuston giving them a 10-0 lead at the break. Having lost influential number 8 Conall Boomer and winger George Pringle to injury already and with conditions making chasing down a lead difficult the situation was certainly not in favour of the locals.
This proved to be the case in the second half when Garryowen scored three unanswered tries to wrap up a bonus point before Ryan Wilson crossed for a consolation try in the dying moments of the game to get Ballynahinch on the board. This defeat leaves them bottom of the table with a crucial home fixture against a strangely out of sorts Lansdowne side this weekend. Brian McLaughlin and his team will have plenty of work to do this week in training to galvanise their charges towards a positive result on Saturday ahead of two very difficult away trips to Trinity and defending champions Cork Constitution.
They are not yet cut adrift at the foot of the table and must take heed of Terenure’s superb league form since their appalling start to last season as they look to change the narrative around the team. There are plenty of twists and turns to come.
Ballynahinch 1sts squad: Kyle McCall, Zac McCall, Jonny Blair, James Simpson, John Donnan (c), Jack Regan, Marcus Rea, Conall Bommer, Rhys O’Donnell, Sean O’Hagan, George Pringle, Ryan Wilson, Hayden Hyde, Aaron Cairns, Ross Adair, Tom Stewart, Conor Piper, Aaron Hall, Paddy Wright, Greg Hutley.