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Clontarf Maintain Pace In Play-Off Race

Clontarf Maintain Pace In Play-Off Race

Clontarf are now just one point off top spot in AIB League Division One heading into the final round of matches after Saturday’s comfortable three-try success over Ballymena at Eaton Park.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Saturday, April 11

BALLYMENA 0 CLONTARF 22, Eaton Park

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Scorers: Ballymena: –
Clontarf: Tries: Niall O’Brien, Daragh O’Shea, Max Rantz-McDonald; Cons: Daragh O’Shea 2; Pen: Daragh O’Shea

The final scoreline was a touch flattering for the north Dubliners, as Ballymena enjoyed some decent spells in possession, but Andy Wood’s side showed a clinical edge when it mattered.

‘Tarf were 10-0 ahead at half-time. Team captain Daragh O’Shea kicked a penalty to split the sides after an even opening.

Then left winger Niall O’Brien, one of the form backs in the country, cut through for his fifth try in three league games, with O’Shea converting.

Ballymena’s only real scoring chance of the first half fell to scrum half Craig Woods who was off target with a penalty attempt at 3-0.

The Braidmen, in coach Jacques Benade’s final home game in charge, rallied and enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the third quarter.

With the wind at their backs, they got within sight of the Clontarf line but dropped passes and poor decision-making saw them fail to convert their scoring chances.

The game sparked back into life in the final minutes. Centre O’Shea snuck over for a 78th-minute try, which he converted himself, and then winger Max Rantz-McDonald touched down in the last attack of the game.

The result has pushed ‘Tarf up to fifth in the standings and they will fancy their chances of reaching the play-offs, with lowly Dungannon the visitors to Castle Avenue next weekend.