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Ballymena Take The Derby Spoils

Ballymena Take The Derby Spoils

Ballymena took the spoils in this edgy Ulster derby, securing their first AIB League win of 2009 with scrum half Craig Woods touching down twice.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Saturday, February 22

DUNGANNON 15 BALLYMENA 19, Stevenson Park

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Scorers: Dungannon: Tries: Neil O’Kane, Mark Jenkinson; Con: John McGuckin; Pen: John McGuckin
Ballymena: Tries: David Bradford, Craig Woods 2; Cons: Craig Woods 2

Dungannon, who had only scored 13 points in their last three league games, lacked the firepower to finish off the Braidmen who were 15-12 behind in the final quarter.

But the visitors bounced back to score a clinching, converted try. Scrum half Craig Woods broke Dungannon’s first line of defence near the ten-metre line and he outpaced the cover to dot down close to the posts.

Without a league win since early December, Dungannon made a strong start to this must-win tie.

Full-back John McGuckin kicked a third-minute penalty and then loosehead prop Neil O’Kane burrowed over for a try after 13 minutes.

O’Kane was joined in the front row by Ulster-contracted prop Declan Fitzpatrick, while ‘Gannon also had the services of Bryn Cunningham and Thomas Anderson.

McGuckin converted the try for a 10-0 lead but John Andrews’ men struggled to maintain control of possession and Ballymena were soon back on the attack.

On 21 minutes, David Bradford scored out wide for the Braidmen and three minutes before half-time, Woods backed himself to score off a close range ruck and did just so, adding the conversion to give his side a 12-10 half-time advantage.

Lock Mark Jenkinson edged Dungannon back in front, scoring a well-worked try off a lineout set-up, but Woods had the final say for Jacques Benade’s side.