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Late Tries Complete Ballymena Revival

Late Tries Complete Ballymena Revival

Two tries in the closing five minutes of Saturday’s AIB League Division 1B clash at the Mardyke saw Ballymena take the points away from a tiring UCC side.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, October 10

UCC 28 BALLYMENA 31, The Mardyke

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Scorers: UCC: Tries: Brian Derham, Colin Crowley, Sean Scanlon; Cons: Andrew Burke 2; Pens: Andrew Burke 3
Ballymena: Tries: Tommy Seymour, Ross Hackney, Sam McKinney; Cons: Rory Drysdale 2; Pens: Rory Drysdale 3; Drop: Rory Drysdale

Ballymena’s heavier pack took control in the closing stages and initiated converted tries for Ross Hackney and inspirational captain Sam McKinney, giving new coach John Andrews his second league win.

The Braidmen were 21-11 down at half-time after UCC made a lightning start, founded on Brian Derham’s third minute try which Andrew Burke converted.

Burke’s opposite number Rory Drysdale opened Ballymena’s account with a drop goal, two minutes later, and Tommy Seymour crossed for a try in response to a Burke penalty.

Ireland Under-20 international Burke struck another penalty before winger Colin Crowley weaved his way through for an unconverted try.

An eventful first half was closed out with Drysdale and Burke swapping penalties, and UCC had the first say after the break when winger Sean Scanlon touched down, with Burke converting.

However, the remaining 40-plus minutes saw Ballymena get on top. Two penalties from Drysdale closed the gap before those two late tries saw UCC cough up their 17-point lead.

Hackney dotted down as the Ballymena scrum powered over the UCC line, and then, after an injury-time penalty was pumped to the corner, McKinney was driven over on the end of a lineout maul.