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U14 Northern Region 9th February 2019
Scorers: McLarnon(3*Try), Seffan(3*Conv)

 

In a reversal of the corresponding fixture earlier in the season when Ballymena recorded a resounding victory, Rainey turned the tables last Saturday, in a huge result, to go joint top of U14 North Region.  Trys from centre Tiernan McLarnon and successful conversions from outhalf Adam Seffen sealed the game and ensured the 21-14 win against very good opposition

 

Rainey were out of the blocks quicker, with forwards Pitts and Thornton carrying well, while some strong attacking running from Seffan, Forbes, McLarnon and Rocks in the back division tested the Braidmen’s defence severely, but ultimately to no avail.

 

A rare Ballymena attack was repulsed at the 22’ forcing a knock-on, and from the scrum, scrum-half Gribben fed centre McLarnon, who rounded and weaved past a number of would be tacklers to score under the posts. Outhalf Seffan added the extras.

 

This was the wake up call Ballymena needed and they responded quickly with a converted try of their own to even things up.

 

With the game locked at 7 a-piece, both sides were giving nothing away.  Ballymena pressed hard and the Rainey side had to defend mightily for a period with some strong tackling from the back row of McGoldrick, Clarke and Thornton.   Some strong counter rucking from Hooker O’Neill led to a turnover and Rainey launched another attack from their 22.  The ball reached the elusive McLarnon, who again managed to break through the defence to dot down his second under the posts. Seffan added the straightforward extras.

 

Rainey continued to press home their advantage, but stout Ballymena defence held them at bay, before they were unlucky to lose a player to injury on the stroke of half-time.

 

Ballymena started the stronger in the second-half, and Rainey were forced to go to the bench early for fresh legs to shore up their defence as the pressure took its toll.  Despite their efforts Ballymena equalised with converted try of their own, setting up a nail-biting finale

 

Unbelievably, the clincher came from McLarnon once more, and it was a beauty.  A defensive scrum on the Rainey 5m line with the solid Rainey pack holding firm.  Once more, the ball was fed to the centre, who broke from his own line to run the length of the pitch and score Rainey’s final try of the day under the posts. Seffan made no mistake with the conversion.

 

Ballymena came back strongly, searching for an equaliser, but it wasn’t to be, and a final knock-on on half-way brought their efforts to a close.