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Brigl Back With Ballymena

Brigl Back With Ballymena

Ballymena have confirmed their player transfers for the 2009/10 season, with a total of 21 players being recruited from clubs and schools in Ulster and beyond.

As was confirmed last month, John Andrews has taken over as Ballymena’s head coach for the 2009/10 season and the first year of the new AIB League format of Division One Section A and Division One Section B.

Ballymena will be competing in Section B and and Andy Graham (forwards) has come on board to assist Andrews, with David Smyth also involved as director of rugby.

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Number 8 Sam McKinney, a son of former Ireland and Lions player Stewart McKinney, has been installed as club captain. He was in outstanding form last season and was nominated for the Ulster Rugby Club Player of the Year award.

In transfer news, South African centre Chris Brigl has rejoined the club. He linked up with Ballymena in 2006 but spent the past season with Galwegians, whom he helped reach the quarter-finals of the AIB Cup and secure a place in Division One Section B.

Luke Marshall, the talented Ireland Schools out-half, will be hoping to get his first taste of AIB League action with the Eaton Park side, while Mark Wilson, Paul Smyth and Andrew Kerr will bolster the forward ranks.

Amongst the players to have left Ballymena for pastures new are goal-kicking scrum half Craig Woods, New Zealand out-half Tommy Woods, experienced second row and 2008/09 captain Ian Caldwell, former Ireland Under-20 hooker Stephen Douglas and former Ulster centre Seamus Mallon.

Both Douglas and Mallon have joined an Instonians squad that will be aiming to bounce straight back up to AIB League Division Two after being relegated last term.

BALLYMENA TRANSFERS – 2009/10 SEASON:

Players In –  

Rory Drysdale (Winger) Instonians, Neil McCullough (Centre) Ballymoney, Rodney Hall (Prop) Ballymoney, Mark Wilson (Lock) Instonians, Ryan Fisher (Hooker) Ards, Ross Hackney (Back Rower) Ards, Paul Smyth (Back Rower) Rainey, Ricky Andrew (Full-Back) Dungannon, Andrew Kerr (Lock/Back Rower) Rainey, Jimmy Carson (Prop) Ballymoney, David Andrews (Out-Half) Coleraine, Matthew Hopper (Hooker) Ballyclare HS, Adam Best (Prop) Ballyclare HS, Luke Marshall (Out-Half) Ballymena Acad, David O’Hara (Scrum Half) Instonians, Ian D’Arcy (Centre) Lansdowne, Chris Brigl (Centre) Galwegians, Kyle Moore (Centre) Ballymena Acad, Roger McBurney (Full-Back) Cambridge Hse, Andrew Warwick (Prop) Ballymena Acad, Stephen Cassell (Utility Back).

Players Out –

Craig Woods to Portadown, Seamus Mallon to Instonians, Stephen Douglas to Instonians, David Bradford to Instonians, Ian Caldwell to Coleraine, Rob Johnston, Tommy Woods, Tommy Booth.