OLD WESLEY 18 BALLYMENA 21, Donnybrook Report from IRFU website
Scorers: Old Wesley: Tries: David Rowley, Eoghan O’Reilly; Con: Josh Miller; Pens: Josh Miller, Jack Maybury
Ballymena: Tries: Callum Patterson, Rodger McBurney; Con: Brett Herron; Pens: Brett Herron 3
HT: Old Wesley 15 Ballymena 3
It was a tale of two halves at Donnybrook where Ulster’s Callum Patterson and Brett Herron inspired Ballymena’s 21-18 comeback victory over hosts Old Wesley.
The Braidmen had a good deal of ground to make up when trailing 15-3 at half-time, with Wesley’s two tries scored by David Rowley and ex-Buccaneers winger Eoghan O’Reilly. Kilkenny College and Leinster Under-19 out-half Josh Miller supplied the other five points from the tee.
Ballymena, who had Argentinian prop Nacho Cladera Crespo making his league debut, enjoyed a real purple patch in the third quarter, kick-started by a 41st-minute try from Patterson who had passed a late fitness test to start.
Strong-carrying full-back Rodger McBurney could not be stopped in the 55th minute, bringing Andy Graham’s men level before a Herron penalty put them in front on the hour mark. In a tense finale, there were no further tries but Ballymena ultimately kept hold of their three-point advantage as another Herron kick in the 75th minute – cancelling out a Jack Maybury penalty six minutes earlier – got them over the finish line.
OLD WESLEY: Rory Stynes; Eoghan O’Reilly, David Poff, Cillian Monaghan, Richie Jermyn; Josh Miller, Adam Kennedy; Cronan Gleeson, David Rowley, James Burton, Donnachadh Phelan, Josh Hinde, Johnny O’Sullivan, Josh Pim, Darren Horan (capt).
Replacements: Conor Maguire, Ryan Healy, Mark Robinson, Matthew Bursey, Jack Maybury.
BALLYMENA: Rodger McBurney; Matthew Norris, Callum Patterson, Alan Smyth, Jonny Rosborough; Brett Herron, Glenn Baillie; Nacho Cladera Crespo, Adam McBurney, Chris Cundell, David Whann, Connor Smyth, Stephen Mulholland, Willie McKay, Adrian Hamilton.
Replacements: Tim Savoury, Josh Bill, Mark Foster, Darrell Montgomery, Dean Reynolds.
Images courtesy of Darrell O’Kane Photography