RUGBY: Young guns tipped to make impact as Ballymena get ready to kick-off new season

Ballymena's Callum Patterson in action with St Mary's Mark Fallon
Ballymena's Callum Patterson in action with St Mary's Mark Fallon

Ballymena coach Andrew Graham believes his young guns at Eaton Park will light up the domestic rugby scene this season.

Graham’s troops will start their AIL campaign away to Shannon on September 17 and the coach is convinced he has young talent that will shine when the business end of the season gets underway.

“We have Chris Cundell - who is a tight head prop and he is starting to grow into the position. He is 25 years old now and he is getting stronger. He is starting to influence games for us.

“We have other guys like Rodger McBurney and Callum Patterson who play in the back line and they have that wee bit of an extra thing about them. We have also signed Josh McIlroy - previously at Ballymena Academy - who is a very talented young lad. He can play centre, fullback, wing and in the back row. Nicky Stirling has come from Rainey as well. He is a speedster who will add to the good wingers we already have here in Jonathan Rosborough, Jordan Foster and James Beattie.

“Stirling has loads of pace about him and he will cause problems.

“As they say ‘speed kills’ and in rugby if you give a guy with real pace a one on one situation he is going to cause some damage and score.

“We also have a guy coming over from Scotland called Tony McGinniss and he is a big talent. And Ady Hamilton has also returned. We have a number of young lads coming through and it might take them a couple of years to come through - but they are a talented bunch,” added Graham.

This Saturday Ballymena Firsts travel to face City of Derry in the Ulster League, before they take on Armagh in the Cup at Eaton Park on September 3.