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Ballymena Prepare For AIB League Opener

Ballymena Prepare For AIB League Opener

Ballymena, coached this season by John Andrews, will commence their AIB League Division 1B campaign against top flight newcomers Ballynahinch next Saturday at Eaton Park (kick-off 2.30pm).

Ballymena RFC is delighted to announce their match sponsor for their opening AIB League game will be CRASH, the accident management people.

CRASH are Ireland’s premier accident management company, who can assist with any motor incident, no matter which insurer you are with. Further information can be obtained on www.crashservices.com.

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Ballymena were successful in the opening Ulster Senior League match at Ballynahinch in early September, claiming a 32-20 victory.

The Braidmen’s new head coach John Andrews, who was in charge of Dungannon and Rainey Old Boys in past seasons, is looking forward to what should be a hotly-contested local derby.

Number 8 Sam McKinney, a son of former Ireland and Lions flanker Stewart McKinney and an Ulster Club Player of the Yeat nominee last season, will captain Ballymena this season.

Andrews wants Ballymena to be competing in the top eight of the AIB League, Division 1A, within the next two years.

“I would certainly like to see us gain promotion within the next two seasons,” he told the Ballymena Times. 

“Hopefully we can have a really good go at finishing in the top two in the season ahead and go on from there.

“If we can get off to a good start and build up our form and momentum, I would be confident that we can do well.

“We have had good numbers at training and I have been delighted with the response of the new players and also the extra applications shown by the existing ones.”

The Eaton Park residents finished 13th in the 16-team top flight last term, losing seven of their eight league games in the calendar year of 2009 – ironically their only win was against Andrews’ Dungannon side.

“One of the first targets is to get back to being the best club in Ulster,” he added.

“We can certainly say we have been in the top three but Ballynahinch probably took that particular plaudit with all they achieved last season.

“We have Ballynahinch in our opening AIB League game and it will be a good test for us.

“We want to try to turn Eaton Park into a bit of a fortress because the club suffered a lot of home defeats – many of Ballymena’s best results in recent seasons have come away from home.”

Related Links –

Ballymena RFC

Ballynahinch RFC

CRASH Services