But cometh the moment, cometh the man and the man in question was the majestic James Topping who ran in as good a try as will be seen anywhere to seemingly put the outcome beyond doubt and stretch the Ballymena advantage to 12 points (25-13).
Clontarf to their great credit refused to buckle and they turned the game upside down with a try from Ollie Winchester with fifteen minutes left to play. Then they peppered the Ballymena line and looked to have tied it up when David Moore crashed over under the posts only for referee Alain Rolland to adjudge that Moore had made a double movement.
Ballymena had learned their lesson. They played the remainder of the game in the Tarf 22 and Larkin made it safe with a drop-goal in injury time.
Clontarf. D Hewitt; N O'Brien, D O'Shea, J Downey, O Winchester; A Dunne, R O'Reilly; W O'Kelly (capt), B Jackman, A Clarke, B Gissing, A Wood, D Quinn, D Moore, S O'Donnell. Replacements: J Wickham, A Cullen, G Flynn, C Power, R O'Reilly, D Higgins, D McElligott.
Ballymena. P Wallace; J Topping, M Waterhouse, H Jones, S Young; A Larkin, P Spence; S McConnell, P Shields, B Young, M Blair, G Longwell, M McCullough, R Nelson (capt), N McMillen.Replacements: I Campbell, N McKernan, D O'Kane, A Graham, A Monson, A Maxwell, D Topping.
Referee: Alain Rolland (IRFU).