Seconds’ Towns’ Cup dream comes to end

Ballymena Seconds release the ball quickly during Saturday's Powerade Towns' Cup semi-final defeat by Clogher Valley at Eaton Park. INBT 12-912H
Ballymena Seconds release the ball quickly during Saturday's Powerade Towns' Cup semi-final defeat by Clogher Valley at Eaton Park. INBT 12-912H

Ballymena’s hopes of reaching the Powerade Towns’ Cup final came to an end after losing 27-17 to Clogher Valley in Saturday’s semi-final at Eaton Park.

The visitors exerted most of the pressure in the first 15 minutes, largely due to a ragged and lifeless display by Ballymena, and it was the Tyrone-based side who took the lead with a penalty.

This seemed to energise the home side and they began to play some fast, attractive rugby.

That brought a penalty which was converted by Callum Patterson, and sustained pressure on the Clogher line saw Mark Foster crossing for a try, followed not long after by a try from full back John Nicholl.

Both tries were converted by Patterson to make the score 17-3 for Ballymena, which is how it stayed until half time.

At that stage in the game Ballymena looked comfortable, and they began the second half in much the same vein.

The turning point in the match came when Patterson was yellow carded, and from that point on they seem to lose the momentum that they had built up.

That in turn allowed Clogher Valley back into the game, and they scored three unanswered tries, one from a line out drive, one the result of a penalty try awarded by the referee for the first scrum offence and one from close range after a speculative hack down the field had been badly dealt with by the Ballymena defence.

All three tries were converted so Clogher ran out winners by 27 points to 17 - a disappointing result and end to the season for the Seconds.