Galwegians gained their second successive AIB League win over Ulster opposition as they outscored Ballymena by three tries to one at Eaton Park on Saturday afternoon
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Saturday, October 18
BALLYMENA 5 GALWEGIANS 19, Eaton Park
Scorers: Ballymena: Try: Jamie Smith
Galwegians: Tries: John Cleary 2, Chris Briegl; Cons: Robert O’Beirne 2
Kevin Tierney’s men, 27-21 winners at home to Dungannon last week, produced another encouraging display, crowned by the finishing skills of John Cleary and the hard work of the pack.
‘Wegians established a 7-0 lead thanks to an intercept try from in-form winger Cleary, who cantered clear as Ballymena midfield duo Ian Whitten and Seamus Mallon were caught out.
Full-back Robert O’Beirne stepped up to land the conversion and both sides cancelled each other out coming up to half-time.
Ballymena made decent yardage gains with team captain Ian Caldwell and pack heavyweights Tommy Booth and Chris Henry carrying well.
But they lacked invention behind the scrum and ‘Wegians were able to cope with anything thrown at them out wide.
Matt Brandon kept the hosts at arm’s length with some strong kicking out of hand, while the westerners’ front row of Brian McGovern, Conor Muldoon and James Stephen more than held their own in the set-piece.
‘Wegians defended resolutely and worked South African centre Chris Briegl over for a try from close range, to start the second half in style.
With Briegl being a former Ballymena player, the score did not go down too well with the Eaton Park faithful but ‘Wegians deserved it as they turned the screw through the forwards.
Ballymena’s afternoon worsened when Cleary crossed for his second try. O’Beirne converted for a 19-point lead.
Full-back Jamie Smith, Ballymena’s most exciting player throughout the 80 minutes, managed to salvage some pride with an injury-time try but it was definitely a case of too little, too late.