On a cold, wet Sunday in Tuam the 2nds played Ballina in the Connacht Junior 2 League. Ballina got the better of the early exchanges with most of the penalty decisions in favour of visitors.
Following a bit of pressure in the Ballina half Tuam were awarded a scrum. Albert Lane controlled the ball at the back before scrum half Damien Kelly passed to Eugene Sharkey who popped to Johnny Tierney crashing through the centre before offloading to Dave Noone. Quick hands from Dave Noone released Eugene Sharkey who goosed-stepped his way through for a try. Tuam missed the conversion.
The next 10 minutes saw Tuam get the upper hand in most areas of the pitch with Eoin Halion showing his speed & strength when he got the opportunities in attack, while Martin Burke confidently handle every kick that came in his direction. Ballina won a scrum from a knock on in a lineout and Ballina’s no. 8 made a good break in field but Johnny Tierney ripped the ball and Tuam were awarded a penalty for an infringement at the ruck.
From the penalty Tuam got a scrum inside the Ballina 10m line and Leon Halion, who is just back from injury, broke right making it into the 22m before being tackled. The scrum half fed the ball to the backs and Johnny Tierney crashed up the middle winning a penalty. Tuam missed the kick at goal. From the restart it was loose kicks from both sides with no real gain for either. Tuam won a penalty for crossing and Albert Lane took a quick tap and go, but lost possession at the ruck, Ballina’s kick was returned resulting in a knock on from Ballina. Tuam’s front five (Stephen Kavanagh, Eanna Hegerty, Cathal Dempsey, Shane McGough & John Duggan) were starting to up the pressure in the set pieces and the ball was moved wide from the scrum to Rory Cosgrove who made good yards but Ballina’s tackler, who didn’t roll away, was given a yellow card and a penalty was awarded to Tuam. Opting for the scrum Tuam moved ball wide and Killian McDonagh sliced through the defense to score a try which Rory Cosgrove converted. Tuam 12 – Ballina 0.
From the restart Tuam had to defend in their own 22m but won a scrum for a knock on which Killian McDonagh kicked to touch inside the opposite half for the last play of the half.
Tuam 12 – Ballina 0.
Tuam replacement at half time: Norman Tierney on for hard working Shane McGough.
From the restart Tuam were under pressure after some wayward passing nearly gifted Ballina a try scoring chance except for a knock on. Tuam won the scrum but Tuam’s winger was deemed to be ahead of the kick. Substitution: Chris Madden on for Damien Kelly. The next few minutes saw a series of scrums with no big gain for Ballina because of some strong defensive work from Tuam. Eugene Sharkey relived the pressure with good kick to touch.
The game continued in Tuam’s 22m and following a well worked move Ballina scored in the corner. Tuam 12 Ballina 5. From the restart Tuam moved the ball across the pitch with some great handling from Albert Lane allowing Rory Cosgrove to score in the corner but the ref said there was a forward pass. Ballina cleared their lines resulting in a scrum on half way line. Substitution: Paul Finnerty for Dave Noone. From the midfield scrum to Tuam, centre Johnny Tierney broke right then Tuam swept back left and Killian McDonagh made a 30m break before Ballina were awarded a penalty for coming in from the side at the ruck. Leon Halion gathered the kick from the penalty and carried it into contact but was yellow carded for not releasing. Ballina kicked at goal but missed. Tuam started to get their recycling game going and a clever kick to the corner nearly saw Rory Cosgrove score. The eagled eyed referee spotted a Ballina player ahead of the kick at the restart and awarded a scrum to Tuam on the Ballina 22m. Tuam lost possession in the following exchange and Ballina kicked deep into Tuam’s half resulting in a Ballina lineout. The remainder of the game was played in the Tuam half and in the closing minutes Ballina chipped and chased to score a try in the corner but missed the conversion leaving the final score Tuam 12 Ballina 10.
Strong performances from the all in the pack while Johnny Tierney & Eoin Halion making some hard yards in the backs while Eugene Sharkey, Killian McDonagh & Rory Cosgrove impressive in attack.
Tuam 2nds: Cathal Dempsey, Eanna Hegerty, Stephen Kavanagh, John Duggan, Shane McGough, Albert Lane, Leon Halion, Dave Noone, Damien Kelly, Eugene Sharkey, Johnny Tierney, Killian McDonagh, Eoin Halion, Martin Burke, Rory Cosgrove. Subs: Niallo Higgins, Chris Madden, Paul Fleming, Norman Tierney.