Braidmen beaten by Shannon in penultimate AIL fixture

Ballymena Rugby Club.
Ballymena Rugby Club.

Ballymena suffered an 18-11 defeat at Shannon in their penultimate Ulster Bank All-Ireland League game of the season in Limerick on Saturday.

With little to play for after their own promotion hopes ended, Ritchie McMaster’s early penalty put Ballymena ahead.

But it was a short-lived lead as within two minutes Shannon winger Richie Mullane went in for a try out wide which David O’Donovan was unable to convert.

Ian Sherwin’s home side missed a couple of scoring opportunities with a foot in touch and a missed penalty from Tadhg Bennett, and a second three-pointer from McMaster saw the Braidmen leading 6-5 at the break.

Shannon resumed in fine fettle, though, taking the game to the visitors with Bennett splitting the posts five minutes in and replacement Niall Horan touching down after a bout of forward pressure in the 55th minute.

Ballymena hit back with an unconverted effort from centre Paddy James, only for Shannon to have the final say with a decisive penalty from Bennett nine minutes from the end.

Ballymena travel to face Dungannon in the Ulster Championship League this Saturday,