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Ballymena boss delighted after resolute display

By Ronnie Ingram

Ballymena V were able to field a strong and experienced team against Coleraine III and in consequence eliminated them from the Forster Cup 17-3.

Home advantage for the undefeated Section 6 side also made a big difference against a team two sections above them in the Junior League.

The Braidmen got off to a flyer when they were deep in the opposition territory and the forwards combined to drive Kevin Doherty over for a try after only two minutes.

Matthew Banks added the conversion but an infringement on the ground allowed Coleraine to strike back with an Ian Young penalty.

There was little between the teams for a time with both packs battling it out in the middle of the pitch. Eventually, just on half-time Banks kicked a penalty to make it 10-3.

"In the second half both teams fought it out with neither being able to break the line for the next 30 minutes," observed Ballymena manager Peter Crabbe.

"Then Paul Campbell released Garrett Bell, who broke through the Coleraine defence and showed a clean pair of heels to go under the posts for Banks to goal.

"We knew the tie was going to be a formidable challenge so I am happy with the determination the team showed in attack and defence."

Brian Kneeland, the Coleraine manager, admitted he was surprised by the strength of the Section 6 side.

Kneeland said: "They were much bigger and stronger but I thought our forwards all performed well.

"Flanker Robert Andrews was always in the action and No 8 Andy Dreycott was our man of the match.

"I also felt the scoreline didn't reflect the closeness of the contest.

"I would say we were in their half for three-quarters of the time but maybe our young players were a bit inexperienced and naive on the day."

There was plenty of excitement at Ballymacarn Park where, all three Ballynahinch teams qualified for the quarter-finals of the Crawford Cup.

Results: Ballynahinch III 52 Bangor II 0, Ballynahinch IV 10 Omagh II 5, Ballynahinch V 28 Ballyclare II 12, Clogher Valley II 20 Ballymoney II 12, Dromore II 7 Queen's III 13.

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