Ballymena travelled to Limerick to take on table topping Shannon, and , as expected, found it pretty tough going, eventually losing 27-15. For most of the game exchanges were pretty even but Ballymena found it very difficult to establish and kind of a foothold in Shannon territory in the face of a very aggressive defence. At the same time, Shannon were finding it difficult to get through the visitors’ defence, and all they all they had to show for their efforts were a try from a maul close to the line and a penalty, to give them a half time lead of 8-0.
Almost from the kick off Brett Herron kicked a penalty, from the restart Shannon began to exert territorial control and in trying to break out from their 22 a Ballymena long pass was intercepted by the Shannon No8 who ran in the few remaining metres for a converted try. This seemed to energise Ballymena and from a concerted piece of phase play they won a penalty, which Herron kicked to the corner. It wasn’t that close, but a concerted drive by the pack assisted by some of the backs, brought a try with Callum Patterson getting the touchdown. Herron kicked the conversion to make the score 15-10 to Shannon with only ten minutes left. Any hopes of a revival were dashed when another Ballymena attempt to run the ball from well inside their own ended up with a dropped ball in midfield, which was seized upon by the Shannon centre who ran in unopposed for a try, making the score 22-10 and putting the game virtually out of reach. Another abortive attempt to run the ball from deep resulted in another Shannon interception and another converted try. All credit to this new look Ballymena team who kept plugging away, scoring a try at the death from a maul through Ryan Mattison, to make the score 27-15 in Shannon’s favour.

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