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Braidmen back in race for top two place

By Ronnie Ingram

Ballymena's 31-14 victory over Seapoint and the defeats of both Queen's and City of Derry has moved the Eaton Park team up to third in the table and back into the Division 2A promotion chase.

Galwegians made virtually sure of winning the title with a 28-12 home win against Derry while Queen's lost to UCC, 12-0. The Connacht team has opened up a 13 points gap with three games to play.

Ballymena are now one point behind second placed Barnhall, who they meet at home in the last match of the season, so with two teams automatically promoted this is certain to be a crunch game.

Barnhall face the prospective champions in their next fixture and the Galway team will be out to put the issue beyond doubt.

"It was a game of two halves," said Ballymena Director of Rugby Pete McKenzie.

"Seapoint had the use of the wind firstly but it had died away by the time our turn came.

"We were slow to get into our stride and after taking a first half lead suddenly found ourselves down 14-9 when they ran in two quick tries within the first five minutes of the second half.

"We had to dig deep but settled and went on to record a comfortable win ,although we failed to win a bonus point.

"It was the Davy O'Hara show as he scored 21 of our points," he concluded.

Seapoint's indiscretions allowed O'Hara to kick penalties in the eighth, 18th and 39th minutes to give the home team a nine points advantage but then Seapoint retorted quickly.

From the drop-out, Sam Hanley crossed for Brian Keegan to goal and then prop Brian Cunningham scored the second converted try.

Andrew Warwick crashed over to level and O'Hara added the second, which he also converted.

A penalty followed after 23 minutes and the issue was put beyond doubt with a Martin Irwin converted try.

A special mention goes to Armagh in 2B who led leaders Nenagh/Ormond with two minutes remaining but the home side scored a converted try to retain their undefeated record.

Results involving Ulster teams: 2A – Ballymena 31 Seapoint 14, Banbridge 26 Old Crescent 15, Queen's 0 UCC 12, Bective 34 Rainey 20, Galwegians 28 City of Derry 12; 2B – Ards 5 Thomond 31, Nenagh/Ormond 20 Armagh 18. Postponed: Richmond v Instonians.

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