RORY’S STORY Ballinrobe’s Rory Murphy scored a try against Ballinasloe in the Connacht Junior Cup last Sunday. Pic: Conor McKeown
Tries: R Murphy, L Burke
Convs: E O'Brien (2)
Pens: E O'Brien (2)
Try: A Mannion
‘JOB done, move on’ is the best way to describe this hard-fought victory for Ballinrobe at The Green on Sunday last, against a spirited, physical and well-drilled Ballinasloe XV.
The result qualifies the ‘Robe for the quarter-final against Galwegians next Sunday.
The previous week against Loughrea, Ballinrobe had an easy ride, but not so this week as the South Mayo men found their Galway opponents very difficult to break down.
In truth, the visitors were the better team for long periods, and it was only Ballinrobe's dominance at scrum time which ensured they had a foot-hold in the game.
The line-out malfunctioned throughout and the performance was unfortunately dotted with individual errors across the park. But credit to the home side, they stuck to the process and the game plan and didn’t panic at all.
The one positive was a magnificent performance at scrum time, where the Galway men were completely overpowered for the 80 minutes. Even when Ballinrobe brought in the front row replacements, they continued to surge forward every time they packed down.
The first 20 minutes was played largely in Ballinrobe’s half, in what was a perfect day for rugby, no rain or breeze just a bright winter’s day.
The pitch was soft in spots, but largely in great condition.
The first score came with almost 20 minutes gone, with the first meaningful home attack.
A scrum deep in the Ballinasloe ‘22 saw the impressive Rory Murphy pick from the base and power his way over. Evan O’Brien obliged with the extras to but Ballinrobe 7-0 up, somewhat against the run of play.
The visitors continued to dominate possession and territory but couldn’t muster a score, as Ballinrobe saw out the half with 14 men, after Shane Biggins was yellow carded for not rolling away in a ruck.
The Mayo men started the second half brighter, and were rewarded with a penalty on 45 minutes which O’Brien slotted to put them two scores ahead.
The Galway men hit back again with another period of sustained pressure, but somehow, Ballinrobe hit them on the counter, this time with Liam Burke evading a clutch of would-be tacklers and racing over from all of 65 metres, to score his fourth try in two games.
O’Brien tagged on the extra two to put some daylight between the teams: 17-0.
Back came the visitors again, and this time they were rewarded when impressive full back, Andrew Mannion, dotted down for a well-deserved away score. Mannion was impressive throughout, as was number eight, Stephen Grenham, scrum-half, Aaron McGreal and centre, Kyle Blackweir. The difficult conversion was missed though to leave the score 17-5.
Ballinrobe had the last say when O’Brien drilled over a long range penalty from 40 metres on the stroke of full-time.
Best for Ballinrobe were Tom Lynagh, Rory Murphy, Donal Vaughan and Tom Staunton.
S Conroy, C Walsh, T Staunton, S Biggins, L Burke, E O'Brien, D Vaughan; J McTigue, P Finlay, C Hansbury, P Finnerty, P Moylette, T Lynagh, J Ormsby, R Murphy.
Replacements used: C McHugh, I Jennings, M Mikolajewski, D Madden, C Cronin, E Lynagh, K McAleenan, JE Flannelly.
A Mannion, J Carry, R Enraght-Mooney, K Blackweir, C Barrett, C Finn, A McGreal; R Ward, L Feehily, J Curley, S Holland, M O’Neill, S Egan, P Grehan, S Grenham.
Replacements used: R Carry, C Harewood, C Smith, B Feeney, B Willmore, B Doyle, G Enraght-Mooney, T Fitzpatrick.
Referee: J O’Donnell