Ballymena travelled the City of Derry in the AIL 2A and lost 8-3
All eyes were on this fixture as second place Ballymena took on third place City of Derry and with both teams chasing promotion it was going to be a titanic battle. Ballymena started the brighter of the two teams despite having several senior players on Ulster Ravens duties. The early pressure from the braid men led to an early penalty in front of the posts when City of Derry were penalised for holding on. Ballymena’s fullback Rory Drysdale hooked his kick wide of the uprights. Derry fought their way back into the game and their goal kicker missed 2 easy chances to open the scoring against a now lack lustre Ballymena effort. The braid men were starting to struggle and poor refereeing decisions against Ballymena meant that they could not get a foot hold on the match. Ballymena’s only good attacking came on the stroke of half time after a great team effort but unfortunally hooker John Andrew knocked the ball on as he crossed the line. Half time 0-0
The second half started with another early penalty, this time it was against Ballymena. The City of Derry outhalf dissected the posts for the first points of the game. 3-0. From the restart Ballymena were immediately awarded a chance to level the score. Rory Drysdale found his target to equalled the score, 3-3. Neither team showed much in attack for the rest of the game with the travelling support again mystified by some of the refereeing decisions. The game entered the final few minute as Ballymena pressed on the Derry line but the attack came to an end with City of Derry clearing their line. With the game now into injury time the referee awarded a scrum to City of Derry. A man down, Ballymena had to find a way to get their hands on the ball but miscommunication between Rory Drysdale and Paddy James allowed Bratton to waltz between tackles and score out wide. The conversion was missed and the game ended 8-3 to the home side. This defeat sees Ballymena slip to 4th place in the AIL and they now have a free weekend to get ready to bounce back against Cashel on Saturday 25th January.
Team- Adrian Kirkpatrick, John Andrew, Brian Young, Connor Smith, David Whann, Mathew Rea, Michael Entwhistle, Adrian Hamilton, Glen Bailey, Martin Irwin, Jordan Foster, Darrell Montgomery, paddy James, Michael Johanson, Rory Drysdale, Subs Andrew Ferguson, James Taggart, Mark Foster, Chris Watson, David Ohara.