Ballina show mettle to secure memorable double
Ballina U-18 15 Buccaneers U-18 12
In a similar fashion to the previous game (the U-16 cup final between the same clubs) Buccaneers got out of the blocks first at the Sportsground, putting immense pressure on the Ballina defence, but too often ill-discipline at the breakdown let them down and Ballina were able to clear their lines.
Buccs' pressure final took its toll and after Ballina were pinged for going in at the side, they had the opportunity to take the first points of the game.
Unfortunately the attempt at goal drifted wide and it was Ballina who registered the first points of the game after 25 minutes, a Darragh Whyte penalty giving the Mayo side the lead after a searing break down the right-hand touchline ended in Buccaneers players straying offside.
As the first half drew to a close Buccaneers collected a lineout and set up a driving maul, and No 8 Brian Collins was at the back to dot down. Michael Hanley converted to put Buccs into a 7-3 lead.
Almost from the restart, though, Buccaneers were under pressure and when they deliberately threw the ball dead after a speculative chip into the goal area, referee Mark Fitzgerald had no option by to award a penalty try.
Whyte converted to give Ballina a 10-7 half-time lead.
The two sides traded tries in the second half, Brian Collins crossing for Ballina before Thomas McGann scored for Buccaneers. Neither try was converted which led to an exceptionally tense finish.
Buccaneers pounded the Ballina tryline time and time again but when they finally crossed, with the last play of the game, Ballina had managed to hold the ball up, and that sealed their victory.
Ballina - Craig Naughton, Stephen Tully, Luke Sweeney, Kevin Howley, Oisin Loughney, Fergus McDermott-Quinn, Jack O'Hora, Mark O'Down (capt), Darragh Whyte, Michael Cribben, Jordan Flynn, Luke Doherty, John Luskin, Simon Leonard, Niall Keane, Shane Herbert, Jason Tully, Cody Landy, Patrick Howley, Ethan Naylor, Enda Flanagan, Brian Peoples, Harry Finlay, James Twomey, Jason Moran, Jason Moyles.
Buccaneers - James Kelly, Darren Buckley, Cian Malone, Kalem Wheatley Byrne, James Milling, Robert Teape, Jordan Murtagh, Brian Collins, Thomas McGann, Liam Costello, Conor Burns, Dylan Farrelly, Aaron Martin, Luke Carty, Dermot O'Rourke, Brian Kenny, Michael Hanley, Eric Fletcher, David Noad, Bernard McGinley, Ted Brosnan, Colin Daly.