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Captain has case for the defence as Ballymoney make last four

 

By Ronnie Ingram

Banbridge II had the vast majority of the possession but it was the superb Ballymoney defence that saw them through to the Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup semi-finals 22-6 at Kilraughts Road.

The others to qualify were Ballynahinch II, who eliminated Enniskillen 30-7, and Armagh II with a 27-5 success against Coleraine.

The Malone II versus Portadown tie was abandoned after seven minutes of the second period when the referee sustained a leg injury. The Belfast team were 22-3 ahead at the time and next Saturday is out for the rearrangement as Portadown travel to Ballina in the Irish Junior Cup.

Bann II, with only one defeat this season, dominated the first quarter at Ballymoney but had only two Macauley Little penalties to show for all their efforts.

"They were encamped in our half and we were under sustained pressure," admitted Ballymoney captain John McFetridge.

On a rare foray into Bann territory centre Chris Watson made a break and scrum-half Matthew Steel drew the covering defence to dive over in the corner.

It was the captain McFetridge who set up the final try following a line-out. He made ground through the middle and after some re-cycling Thomas Hunter found half a gap. The outside centre sprinted through and managed to cross to the right of the posts for Clelland to goal.

McFetridge thought it was a real team effort: "Everyone excelled so there was no man of the match this week. It was a feisty game and Bann were formidable opponents.

"I would say that was the best we have played all season and they were certainly the most difficult we have come up against.

"The little possession we gained was used effectively but it was our defence that won the day.

He added: "We can now look forward to the semi-final draw and after this effort nobody will want to come to Kilraughts Road."

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