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Andrews hails cool Braidmen after easy win over BRA

Ballymena 20-9 BRA

Ballymena Academy qualified for the semi-finals of the Danske Bank Schools' Cup with a comfortable 20-9 home win over a gallant Belfast Royal Academy.

The Belfast side took the lead with a Michael Wilson penalty but the Braidmen hit back with a fine try.

Ulster Under-19 openside flanker Jonathan McKeown peeled off a maul to exert some strength to cross for out-half Bruce Houston to grab the points.

Houston added a penalty but the visitors kept in touch when a rare foray into Ballymena territory led to a second Wilson penalty, leaving the scores 10-6.

Houston and Wilson swapped penalties but as the game progressed Ballymena upped their performance and were rewarded with a second try.

It came following encouraging work by Connor Cosgrove who set up outside centre Angus Kernohan to beat the covering defence to touch down.

With 10 minutes remaining and needing two scores, BRA had little chance of coming back.

Ballymena coach John Andrews thought it was a very physical game. He said: "We expected it to be tough as we knew Brian McLaughlin had been putting Academy through their paces and I felt we deserved the win.

"There was a lot of untidy play by both teams as they struggled to keep possession. The opposition were seldom in our territory in the first-half but on each occasion we gave away a penalty.

"This is one aspect we will have to work on before we face Inst in the semis. There is still a lot of work to do."

David Creighton, the BRA coach, thought his team didn't look after the ball well enough. He added: "It was a typical hard-fought Cup tie and Ballymena played well and took their chances when they got them, which proved the key."

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