Ben inspires Lurgan U19’s to victory over Ballymena

Ben McIlwaine receives the Man of tee Match Award from Portadown Rugby Clb chairman, Eamonn Haughey
Ben McIlwaine receives the Man of tee Match Award from Portadown Rugby Clb chairman, Eamonn Haughey

Lurgan 20 Ballymena 5

Ballymena had the early possession and territory but could not turn their advantage into points on the board as Lurgan defended their line with turnovers in the loose and strong tackling.

The first opportunity to open the scoring with a penalty for offside with fullback Paul Rainey’s attempt hitting the post and rebounding back into play.

Lurgan blindside Peter Burke made a break from his own 22 and strong running took his team up to the Ballymena 10m line.

Lurgan were then awarded a penalty taken by outhalf Ben McIlwaine which was short of the posts.

Lurgan opened the scoring from a tap penalty by scrum half Dylan and a line break saw outhalf feeding Peter Burke scoring an unconverted try in the corner.

Ballymena centre Thomas Wilson made a couple of mazy runs from his own half but the Lurgan defence held out.

The last scoring attempt of the first half was a penalty to Ballymena for not releasing but again Paul Rainey’s attempt fell short .

The second half saw both teams upping the intensity and again Ballymena got themselves into a scoring position but silly mistakes cost them their chances.

Lurgan should have scored from a set piece with an overlap in the corner but the pass went astray. It was Lurgan who increased their lead with Dean Wilson scoring and the extra points added by Lurgan’s outhalf. Ballymena responded and from a tap penalty their openside Adam Longwell went over the line to reduce the arrears, Paul Rainey’s conversion attempt was wide.

Lurgan increased their lead with a penalty scored by Ben McIlwaine making the score 15-5 to Lurgan.

Ballymena upped the pressure and went looking for another score but resolute defence from Lurgan kept the Braid men out.

Lurgan had two players yellow carded and even down to 13 men they had the last score with Paddy McVeigh scoring on the whistle to leave the final score 20-5.