Ballina secured their status as a top division side in Connacht junior rugby last Sunday when they saw off the challenge of Castlebar in Ballyhaunis in a nail-biting promotion-relegation play-off.
Ballina who finished second last in the top division after a helter-skelter end to their league season held on against a Castlebar side who finished second in the division below them thanks to two late penalties from out-half Andy Moynihan. The Ballina number 10 kicked his side into the lead will less than five minutes to go, and then added on an insurance score with the last kick of the contest to seal a 16-12 win against the men from Cloondeash.
Castlebar, with the aid of a strong breeze, went in leading 12-3 at the turn around thanks to four penalties from the boot of Ronan Conway with Moynihan kicking the three points for Ballina. The big score in the second half came from Ballina’s Callum Quinn who touched down after a strong run. Moynihan added the extras to leave two between the sides. Conway had a chance to put his side further in front than the two points that separated the sides after the converted try, but his effort missed the target.
Ballina kept plugging away, and when the opportunity arose at the end Moynihan held his nerve to keep Dave Newman’s men in the top tier and condemn Castlebar to another season of trying to regain their own top flight status next season.