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Pivotal win for senior squad on the road

Pivotal win for senior squad on the road

Michael Gallagher11 Feb - 09:56
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Victory in Clonmel is a huge boost for senior squad

NE

They gathered in the changing room, hands wound around one another's shoulders, deep breaths taken and silence all around.
Then, team captain Gary Kavanagh stepped forward and led from the front once again as the song we all love so well rang through the Clonmel air.
"Sooooooo, Boys stick together in all kinds of weather, don't show the white feather wherever you roam, just be like a brother and love one another like stout-hearted men from the county Mayo."

It was a moment a long time in the making. Winning on the road hadn't been a regular occurence in recent years and some of the finest people had come and gone since the last lusty rendition by our seniors outside of Heffernan Park. On Saturday it was different. The game had to be won. The game was won. It was time to acknowledge that fact.

One could write all day about line-speed and line-outs, rucks and running rugby, but the simple fact is each and every man in green gave every ounce of energy they had for the crest on the chest.
The match was originally scheduled to take place in Clonmel's famed Ard Gaoithe pitch but was moved to the excellent facilities at High School Clonmel due to flooding, but that had no impact on the Ballina story.

In front after eight minutes following a fine try from Bradley Nealon, behind by a point at half time after two Clonmel penalties from Josef O'Connor.
In front, 8-6 after 43 minutes when Darragh Whyte kicked a penalty. In front 11-6 after 50 minutes following another Whyte penalty. In front 18-6 after 61 minutes when Joe Murphy got over for a try and Whyte converted from wide out.
In front 18-13 after 74 minutes when O'Connor got in for a Clonmel try and then added the conversion. However, there was to be no reprieve for the home side and when Whyte added another penalty in injury time the deal was sealed and Ballina had won.

The victory was built on a huge team effort. Gary Kavanagh, Sean Hopkins and Sean O'Connell led from the front. Thomas Hannigan and Harry Regan were tireless in the second row while the back-row of Niall Murphy, Alex Corduff and Blayze Molloy never stopped all day.
Cian Quinn and Cody Chilcott were brave, bustling and smart. Outside them, Joe Murphy and Liam Golden mixed attack and defence very well while the wings were well-served by Nealon and Cathal Kelly.
Minding the house and kicking the points was Darragh Whyte at full-back while the replacements played a pivotal role in the victory with Ross Bourke, Brian Boland, Caolan Hopkins, Niall Keane and Cian Anderson all making huge contributions as players interchanged all day.

Now, all thoughts turn to another pivotal match, the meeting with Midleton in Heffernan Park on Saturday next, February 17 at 2.30pm. This is a crucial encounter and the players and management are sending out a message today asking for everyone with Ballina RFC in their heart to come along on Saturday and shout them on. We're confident that this is the moment when stout-hearted men, women and children will step forward in abundance.

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