TRINITY EDGE PAST BALLYMENA!
Trinity 18pts Ballymena 16pts – January 10th 2015.
Trinity somehow snatched a dramatic win over 2nd placed Ballymena in College Park on Saturday. A hugely physical encounter was decided in the last minute of play when wave after wave of attacks on the Visitors line was rewarded with flanker Brian Du Toit wriggling over from close in to score on the 15M line on the right hand side of the field. This levelled the scores at 16pts with the conversion to come. Full back Conor Kearns, who has kicked sparingly this season, stepped up and carefully guided the ball through the posts to the massive roars of the home crowd. The students had kept their nine game unbeaten run intact after being 16-8 down with only 12 minutes remaining.
Trinity played into a strong wind in the first half, but had the edge in possession and position on the field. They were at times guilty of forcing play too much and Ballymena seemed to punish them with huge territory gains as they hacked the ball down field. The teams swapped penalties and then Ballymena went ahead with another after 25 minutes 6-3. Trinity continued to attack although errors scuppered much of their intent. They did score a try off a line out, with tight head prop Tom Collis getting the touchdown which put them ahead 8-6.
Ballymena had two senior Ulster players in *8 Mike McComish and Full back Rick Andrew, plus former Ireland prop Brian Young along with several Ulster Academy players. They came back and had their purple patch of play 10 minutes before half time. During this time they took their try well after some heavy pressure on the student’s line. The score was 13-8 at half time to the Visitors.
In the second half the Northerners never really established any field position against the wind. They did however have a well organised defence, and looked dangerous on the counter attack usually off mistakes by Trinity, of which there were many!
Trinity struggled to find their free flowing form of previous weeks. Injuries forced George Walsh, Nick McCarthy and Seb Fromm all to leave the field early in the second half, not helping the continuity.
Ballymena looked to have won the game when on their only real possession in the Trinity 22 they gained a penalty which their out half Richie McMaster gratefully accepted and pushed the lead out to 16-8. Trinit, however, refused to throw in the towel. Conor Kearns kicked a penalty with 12 minutes remaining to get the score down to under seven points 16-11.
The game moved into the closing stages and Ballymena looked comfortable defending their line. Trinity struggled to get the quick ball they craved and continued to cough up the ball at inopportune times. But after a fine run by Tom Ryan, the elusive Brian Du Toit forced his way over. To leave the final action to his Full Back Conor Kearns.
Trinity now take a break from league play until they travel to Malone on January 31.
15 Conor Kearns, 14 Tim Maupin, 13 Paddy Lavelle,12 Seb Fromm (Jack Fitzpatrick 45), 11 Killian O’Leary, 10 Mark Nicholson, 9 Angus Lloyd, 1 George Walsh (Andy Keating 40),2 Richard Halpin, 3 Tom Collis, 4 Pierce Dargan, 5 Jack Burke,6 Nick McCarthy (Paddy Finlay 45), 7 Brian Du Toit, 8 Tom Ryan