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Braidmen endure nightmare results

Saturday was a disappointing day for the Ballymena club as it was the first time in many seasons that all their teams lost.

The Firsts were defeated 13-7 in the AIL by Malone, the Seconds were eliminated from the Junior Cup by Enniskillen 24-19, the Fourths lost 20-15 in Junior 4 to Randalstown II and the Fifths lost 40-20 in Junior 5 to Armagh III.

Fifths manager Peter Crabbe said: "We tried to change our game to Friday night as we knew half the side was going to the Ireland match but unfortunately we couldn't come to an agreement with Armagh. Consequently we travelled with 12 forwards and three backs and found ourselves trailing 19-0 in as many minutes. I have to settle for the result and am not too disappointed as I know we can still win this league."

Armagh stormed in front with tries from winger Jamie Monaghan and out-half Ken Faloon before Robert Thompson ran in for the third. Faloon converted two and later added a third when David Bingham gave Armagh a 26-15 interval advantage. Ballymena netted a try from wing forward Kevin Doherty, playing in the centre, before out-half Matthew Banks kicked a penalty and glided in for a converted try.

In the second period, Ballymena hooker David Cooke was driven over and centre Paul Campbell and Thompson converted tries for the home team.

Armagh captain Trevor Girvan thought his players stepped up to the mark. He said: "It was a great effort that takes us up to joint second with Ballymena behind Portadown IV but it was overshadowed when our winger Lewis Morton sustained a serious neck injury"

Ballymena, with experienced players like 52-year-old David Laughlin, are looking forward optimistically to the remaining games.

"We have now lost twice but are only two points behind Portadown with a game in hand and have already beaten them 59-7. Also, we have only two away fixtures to fulfil and this squad has been together for many years and during that time have only lost twice at home," Crabbe concluded.

Belfast Telegraph