Patterson ends three decades in wilderness for Ballymena
Ballymena Academy came out on top at Ravenhill yesterday after a Callum Patterson drop-goal secured his side's first final success for 29 years.
The game was keenly contested but Ballymena, after levelling just before half-time, had much the better of the second-half exchanges.
Belfast Royal Academy missed an early penalty but that was followed by an excellent try. Scrum-half Conor Spence chipped over the forwards and, in a well-planned move, full-back Jordan Buchanan ran through and gathered to score beside the posts for David Cartmill to convert.
The Belfast team were dictating possession and had territorial advantage, but gradually Ballymena came back into it.
One minute before the interval, out-half Patterson cut inside and, after Charlie Simpson was involved, the final pass went to Caleb Morrison, who touched down. Patterson converted from the touchline to make the score 7-7.
After the restart Ballymena looked the stronger and Patterson added that drop-goal. The Belfast team attempted to come back but they found the confident opposing defence too difficult to penetrate.
A deserved victory for Ballymena, whose winger Morrison was the man of the match.
Belfast Royal Academy -- J Buchanan; E Devlin, D Cartmill, M Glover, M Robinson; S Olding, C Spence; I Henderson, R Clarke, T Vincent, C Levkey, N O'Neill, D McCallum, N Sinclair, A Martin.
Ballymena Academy -- C Simpson; J McClelland, C Delpy, P Storey, C Morrison; C Patterson, P Banda; P Wallace, G Dennison, T Patton, D Whann, M Rea, K Galloway, J Andrew, S McNabney.
REF -- D Wilkinson