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Ballina record crucial All-Ireland League win



Ballina 24
Omagh Academicals 17

Michael Gallagher

SCENES of unbridled joy greeted the final whistle in Heffernan Park on Saturday afternoon as Ballina recorded a crucial victory over a talented and rugged Omagh outfit.
The Moysiders have fielded a very inexperienced side all season in the AIL which meant points have been hard to come by, but last weekend’s draw in Midleton hinted at a change in fortune and the men in green followed that up on home soil here.
The first half was a battle of wills as both sides threw the ball around and attacked at every opportunity.
Ballina got over for two tries courtesy of team captain Calum Quinn and out-half Ben Matheson who also converted both. However, the Ulster men were 17-14 clear at the break after tries from Adam Longwell and Ryan Mitchell and seven points from the boot of Josh Kyle.
Ballina knew they had to be better in the second half, and with Billy McVann leading the pack they threw body and soul at it. They took the lead just four minutes after the resumption when Bradley O’Leary got over and Matheson converted for a 21-17 lead.
Omagh tried to get back into it, but couldn’t get enough field position to do so. Ballina were the dominant team in the closing stages and Matheson stretched the lead to seven with a well-struck penalty.
The final whistle was greeted with great joy and it wasn’t long before ‘The Boys from the County Mayo’ was ringing around the famous old ground.
Read the full match report with reaction and photos in Tuesday’s edition of The Mayo News.

D Whyte, L Golden, Calum Quinn, R Molloy, I West, B Matheson, Cian Quinn; S Hopkins, B McVann, G Kavanagh, T Hannigan, B O’Leary, A Corduff, H Regan, A McNulty
Replacements: E Creaven, M Walker, B Boland, B Nealon, N Feeney, C Kelly.

S Maclaine, N Brown, S Ballantine, J Kyle, R Mitchell, S McCain, F Lagan; D Braden, J Matthews, S Creane, J Duff, R Sproule, R Braden, A Longwell, M Clyde
Replacements; G McKinley, E McKeown, M Gibson, J Rainey, A Allen

Referee: S Tuohy

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