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Ballymena overcome their nerves to secure Subsidary Shield

Ballymena Academy won the Danske Bank Subsidiary Shield for the fifth time in 10 seasons with a 20-10 victory over Down High School at the Kingspan Stadium.

Ballymena had the edge in the first period but the two teams were rather nervy throughout with both making a number of basic errors. Andrew Magrath kicked two Ballymena penalties and Joe Bingham replied with one for Down High.

The Braid turned up the heat in the opening 15 minutes of the second period, scoring two tries.

The first was a team effort with the ball being spread wide to Angus Kernaghan, who scored for Magrath to add the conversion.

And for the second, centre and captain Josh McIlroy took a good line to go in and make the score 20-3. Down replied with a brilliant try when full-back Bingham showed pace to cut through, touch down and convert - but it was a mere consolation.

Ballymena coach Gavin Murray said: "It was a hard-fought tie but after a sticky first half we settled."

Down coach John Gunson knew it was going to be physical, saying: "They are very strong but I am proud of our team. It was a great experience for them."

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