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Gallant Dev XV go down fighting in Tuam

Gallant Dev XV go down fighting in Tuam

By Michael Gallagher
10th February
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Tuam 14-6 Ballina

Ballina's Junior Cup campaign came to an end at the quarter-final stage in Tuam on Sunday when the gallant Development XV were edged out by a dogged home side.
Ballina were hugely competitive throughout and on another day would have emerged victorious.
The Moy men were dominant in the scrums and lineouts early on and this paid dividends when Craig McCormick landed a penalty after ten minutes.
The out-half was unfortunate not to double the lead five minutes later when his well-hit effort came back off the post and was cleared.
As the half progressed, the Ballina front-row of Brian Boland, Brian Dunleavy and Paul Newell were bossing the opposition and a fine kicking game from McCormick and Steve McCarron kept Tuam pinned back.
However, things changed when the referee took exception to Ballina hands in the ruck when they were pushing for a try and issued a yellow card.
This left Tuam with an extra player and they made that pay with a fine unconverted try in the corner for a 5-3 lead.
Tempers were getting frayed at that stage and a red card was issued to Ballina and a yellow to Tuam before the short whistle.
Ballina coaches Andy Moynihan and Con Rooney with manager Rob Gawley, gave direction to keep it tight after the resumption into the wind.
They made a number of changes with Alex Quinn retiring for the second half, having made an impact in the first.
Ballina began well with Conor Forde and Mike Finnerty dominating lineouts, taking both their own throws from Billy McVann and the Tuam throws as well.
This possession allowed some fine breaks from Bradley Nealon, Niall Keane and Ronan Molloy.
After 53 minutes, a fine long-range penalty kick into the wind from McCormick put Ballina in front, 6-5.
However, Tuam hit back with a penalty of their own and then thanks to Ballina indiscipline and the vocal and influential home support resulted in two further penalties which were converted in the 69th and 75th minutes to put the home side 14-6 clear.
Ballina refused to bend the knee, and with Luke Sweeney to the fore and well-backed up by Nathan Herbert, Darren Holmes, Michael Collins and Neil Molloy, they looked for a way back into it.
However, the experience of Tuam who are currently leading Connacht J1B with an unbeaten record, stood them in good stead.
The Ballina boys will learn a lot from today and take heart from a game, that on another day would have gone their way.
Special thanks to Alan and Sarah McCormick, Marie Sheridan and Daragh Quinn for the report, pictures and coverage of today's match

BALLINA: McCarron, Nealon, Quinn, Molloy, Dodd, McCormick, Keane; Newell, McVann, Dunleavy, Hewson, Finnerty, J Sweeney, L Sweeney, Forde
Replacements; Boland, Herbert, Holmes, Collins Molloy

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