Early in the season Ballymena had inflicted a 35-24 defeat on Trinity, but even at that stage ir was clear that were a very good side, and they proved that in College Park on Saturday by beating Ballymena comprehensively, scoring six tries in the process. In the first scrum of the game they issued a statement of intent, shunting their opponents backwards, winning a penalty which enabled them to establish a position to attack. Trying to keep them out, Ballymena conceded another penalty which Trinity kicked to the corner. They executed the catch and drive perfectly and despite Ballymena’s best efforts, they mauled them over the line for a try, the touchdown accredited to lock Jack Burke. The conversion was missed, as were three other conversion attempts in the course of the game. Trinity continued to look the more impressive side, and no. 8 Tom Ryan notched up another try off a five metre scrum, again not converted, and centre Seb Fromm added to Ballymena’s woes by shrugging aside some pretty ineffectual tackling to score under the posts. The conversion made the score 17-0, but a sustained Ballymena attack,, rounded off by some sharp handling, put Rodger McBurney over for a try far out on the left. McMaster converted, to make the score at the break 17-7.
The second half began with Trinity once more pressing hard, and after an initial incision by right wing Maupin, out half McDermott scored his side’s bonus point try. At 27-7 in arrears Ballymena’s cause looked lost, but a purple patch of twenty minutes yielded two Shanahan tries and brought them to within eight points of Trinity at 27-19, and an amazing recovery looked possible, but the Trinity defence held firm and a last minute try by replacement Slater and conversion put the game out of reach.
This defeat doesn’t change the league table a great deal. Unless something unforeseen happens Ballymena will finish third in Division 1B, and will meet the second placed team in the play off semi final. That is most likely to be Trinity in Dublin again, but their game against St Mary’s when the league resumes in April will determine who gets the automatic promotion spot. There is now a three week break in UBL action, and Ballymena play the penultimate match of the season against Dolphin on Saturday 2nd April.