Ballina secure big home win in round one of AIL qualifiers

Rugby: Junior Rugby

Heading back up: Castlebar celebrate after gaining promotion to the top flight of Connacht junior rugby last weekend. Photo: Castlebar Rugby

Heading back up: Castlebar celebrate after gaining promotion to the top flight of Connacht junior rugby last weekend. Photo: Castlebar Rugby

Ballina continued their drive towards promotion to the Ulster Bank All Ireland League with a big 45-26 win over Bandon last weekend in Heffernan Park.

The north Mayo outfit are battling it out with the top junior sides from the three other provinces for a crack at the second bottom team in team in division 2B in the Ulster Bank League for a spot in the national league next season.

Ballina will continue their quest in this round robin tournament with two away trips in the round robin competition, firstly against Ulster top dogs Instonians on Saturday, April 21, and then the following week they will renew rivalries with Leinster winners Ashbourne who beat them 22-17 in the All Ireland Junior Cup final last December.

Last weekend Ballina ran in seven tries against Munster side Bandon at home with Marc Feeley, Kieran Lindsay, and Daniel Molloy each running in two tries with Conor Mason getting the other try, while Kieran Lindsay landed five conversions for the north Mayo men.

Castlebar make it back to the top table

After a number of years trying to make it back to the Connacht Junior 1A league, Castlebar achieved that goal last weekend. The Cloondeash men had to do it the hard way trailing 15-3 at the break against Galwegians in Headford. They kept their nerve and a Jack Rowland try which was converted by Ronan Conway and a penalty from Conway to go with the one he kicked in the first half put just two between the teams.

Wegians edged the lead back out to five points with a penalty, but the county town men kept banging at the door and David Staunton crossed for a vital try to bring the game back to level terms. Conway held his nerve to add the extras and send Castlebar back up to the top flight of junior rugby for next season.

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