Ballina bow out of junior cup

Ballina Rugby Club bowed out of the All-Ireland Junior Cup at the last four stage in Meath last weekend.

Defending champions Ashbourne proved a step too far for the north Mayo side who succumbed to a 22-17 defeat following a bruising encounter.

David Newman's side held a 7-3 half-time lead following a low scoring opening 40 minutes but it proved as good as it would get.

Ballina were forced to play 20 minutes of the second-half with just 14 men on the pitch after yellow cards for captain Fergal Tully and Gary Kavanagh. This offered Ashbourne a way back into the game, and the defending champions duly took full advantage to open a 22-10 lead with eight minutes left on the clock.

A converted Chris O'Neill try near the end gave Ballina some hope and put the pressure on the hosts but the experienced home side saw out proceedings to advance to a second successive final.

Thoughts in north Mayo now turn to Saturday's Cawley Cup final against Castlebar Rugby Club. That game affords Newman's side the chance to retain the trophy they collected following an epic extra-time win over Connemara last year.


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