Corinthians completed their home campaign in this season’s Ulster League division two with a hard earned and deserved 29 - 27 victory over Ballymena.
The victory pushed Corinthians back up to sixth place, but with just one fixture remaining, a fifth-place play-off for promotion, looks beyond them now.
Corinthians, however, ensured they signed off at Cloonacauneen with a flourish. First on the scoreboard after 13 minutes, quick recycling paved the way for the backs to capitalise with outhalf Conor Murphy supplying Eoin Griffin who finished off.
Ballymena replied within four minutes with a penalty, but the home side took advantage of a penalty from the scrum with Sean Gerrity dotting down in the corner after Connacht’s Mick McComish took a quick tap.
The home side had bagged their third try by the half hour after winger Wayne Williams offloaded to centre Cian Begley to score.
The impetus was clearly with the home side, and they grabbed their fourth try and bonus point before the break. Scrumhalf Mark Dolan chipped and gathered for an individual try, and Murphy added a second conversion for a 24 - 3 half-time lead.
It was a different ball game in the second half with Ballymena enjoying the elements, and their revival started within a minute when winger Roger McBurney touched down. Although Corinthians’ James Buckley scored a fifth try for the home side, it was all Ballymena after that. Lock Darrell O’Kane capitalised on loose ball in the ruck to grab the visitors’ second try, and centre John Simple, who converted, crossed for their third.
With 10 minutes remaining the home side battened down the hatches until the final minute when Ballymena substitute winger John Nicholl got through the Corinthian defence to score a fine try. The conversion was missed to draw the game.
Corinthians: D Claasen, J Buckley, E Griffin, C Begley, W Williams, C Murphy, M Dolan (M Roche ), D Buckley, J Merrigan (D Bardon ), D Small, G Ward, P Cunningham, A Conneely, S Gerrity, M McComish.