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Ballymena weather the storm to keep that winning feeling

All-Ireland League

By Michael Sadlier

Published 26/09/2016

On the move: Dave Shanahan spreads the play for Ballymena
On the move: Dave Shanahan spreads the play for Ballymena

While Ballymena made it two wins from two in Division 1B, the lower leagues make the most pleasing viewing from an Ulster perspective as both Armagh and Rainey top Divisions 2B and 2C respectively after they also won again.

But the third-placed Braidmen were still the headline act as they took another four points this time by beating Naas by 15-8 at a rain-lashed Eaton Park.

Mark Best was again on the scoresheet with a try, conversion and penalty with the other try coming from Stephen Mulholland, with all the Braidmen’s points being accumulated in the opening 40 minutes.

Coach Andy Graham’s men led 15-3 at the turnaround and the only score which came in what followed was a Naas try by full-back Fionn Higgins, who then shipped a serious leg injury which forced a lengthy stoppage.

Ballynahinch came crashing back to earth after their impressive opening victory when UL Bohemians scored six tries to see them off in Limerick by 38-22.

Hinch found themselves having to chase the game but managed to score three tries through Stephen McCauley, Aaron Cairns and Jordan Grattan.

“We’re disappointed, but it’s not the end of the world. We were beaten by a better team so we we’ll put it behind us and move on,” said Hinch coach Derek Suffern.

In 2A, Banbridge remained unbeaten but only by dint of their 19-19 draw at a weather-beaten derby clash at the Dub with Queen’s University, which saw Dan Soper’s squad battling back from being 16-0 down at half-time.

And, not too far away, at an equally sodden Gibson Park, Malone also shared the spoils with Highfield, the game ending at a mere 3-3.

At least Belfast Harlequins managed to win and their first taste of victory came on the road at Corinthians, Andrew Gillespie’s squad beating their hosts 16-11.

In Division 2B, Armagh got the better of still winless City of Derry at the Palace Grounds with the home side’s 18-6 derby victory positioning them at the top of the table.

Dungannon also had a good outcome from their trip to Skerries with their 24-13 result bringing the Tyrone side their second win and placing them third in the table.

Rainey lead the way in 2C with another bonus point victory this time in rather more impressive manner when they humbled Boyne 38-3 at Hatrick Park.

And Bangor got their first win, the Seasiders leaving Navan 23-19 to the good.

Division 1B: Ballymena 15 Naas 8, Buccaneers 27 Shannon 3, Galwegians 31 UCC 14, Old Wesley 21 Dolphin 10, UL Bohemians 38 Ballynahinch 22,

Division 2A: Corinthians 11 Belfast Harlequins 16, Malone 3 Highfield 3, Queens University 19 Banbridge 19, Sunday’s Well 23 Blackrock College 33

Division 2B: Armagh 18 City of Derry 6, Greystones 25 Wanderers 16, Barnhall 16 Old Crescent 16, Skerries 13 Dungannon 24, Thomond 10 Bective Rangers 49

Division 2C: Bruff 16 Midleton 35, Kanturk16 Seapoint 12, Navan 19 Bangor 23, Rainey 38 Boyne 3, Tullamore 12 Sligo 8

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