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Derby Success Ends Dungannon’s Losing Streak

Derby Success Ends Dungannon’s Losing Streak

The battle to avoid relegation on the final day of AIB League Division 1B season will involve four teams, after Dungannon secured a vital Ulster derby win over Ballymena on Saturday afternoon.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, March 27


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Scorers: Ballymena: Tries: Simon Shawe, Penalty try; Con: David O’Hara; Pen: David O’Hara
Dungannon: Tries: Craig Gilroy, Mark Farquhar, Conor Gaston; Cons: James Shiells 2; Drops: James Shiells 2

Bottom side Ballynahinch (19 points), Dungannon (22), Buccaneers (23) and Ballymena (24) are all still scrapping for their lives, with two sides to drop down to Division 2.

Saturday’s victory was Dungannon’s first in eight league matches and a huge shot in the arm ahead of Galwegians’ visit to Stevenson Park on April 10.

The Tyrone men will need another win there and either Buccs or Ballymena to falter, in order to stay in Division 1B for next season.

This tussle at Eaton Park was a game of poor quality, riddled with mistakes, which was understandable given the pressure on both sides to produce a result.

‘Gannon held a 7-3 half-time lead, having fallen behind to a 12th minute penalty from Ballymena’s David O’Hara.

An intercept try from winger Craig Gilroy, which out-half James Shiells converted, saw the visitors take the lead, seven minutes before the interval.

Ireland Club international prop Simon Shawe claimed a 47th minute try to nudge Ballymena back in front.

A drop goal from Shiells and subsequent try from prop Mark Farquhar saw Dungannon forage clear again at 15-8.

But the hosts, urged on by coach John Andrews, got back on terms courtesy of a penalty try which O’Hara converted.

There was no sign of Dungannon panicking though, and an injury-time try from full-back Conor Gaston, allied to a second Shiells drop goal, settled the issue late on.