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AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Saturday, October 11

ST. MARY'S COLLEGE 31 BALLYMENA 20, Templeville Road

Scorers: St. Mary's College: Tries: Matt D'Arcy 2, Shaun McCarthy 2, Stephen Grissing; Cons: Shaun McCarthy 3
Ballymena: Tries: Tommy Seymour 2, Penalty try; Con: Tom Woods; Pen: Tom Woods

Coached by former Leinster flanker Ciaran Potts, Mary's are beginning to look the part and this five-pointer moves them to the top of the Division One table.

The club's director of rugby Peter Smyth was very pleased with the effort put in during last Saturday's bonus point win at Dungannon - and it was more of the same this weekend.

Mary's are showing a clinical edge to their play which makes them particularly difficult to play against.

They counter-attack brilliantly and facing Ulster opposition for the second week running, they managed to move 19-0 ahead with the minimum of effort.

Ballymena had the early run of possession and settled well.

Their New Zealand out-half Tom Woods, making his first AIB League start, stepped into the side in place of Ian Humphreys who was on bench duty for Ulster against Stade Francais.

Against the run of play, Mary's opened the scoring when scrum half Matt D'Arcy darted in under the posts, allowing his half-back partner Shaun McCarthy a simple conversion.

The Dubliners found another gear for their second try, 16 minutes in.

They moved the ball through a flurry of hands, with the backs and forwards interchanging, before McCarthy went over in the right corner.

McCarthy, who is also the team's backs coach, claimed an intercept for try number three, which he converted himself for 19-0.

Ballymena responded by battering away with their forwards and their work was rewarded when they gained a penalty try before the break.

But Mary's half-time advantage stood at 24-7 as shortly before the short whistle, centre Stephen Grissing made it over unoppossed.

Potts' men did take their foot off the pedal in the early part of the second half. Credit must go to Ballymena as they kept plugging away and the scores duly came.

A try scorer in last week's win over Young Munster, winger Tommy Seymour put his name to the Braidmen's two second half tries.

The free-flowing nature of the game kept the decent-sized crowd interested right until the finish and the Mary's faithful had a fifth try to celebrate.

D'Arcy completed his brace to put his side out of sight and although they lost centre Conor Donohue to the sin-bin ten minutes from time, nothing was going to take the gloss off this win.
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20 June 2018
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