Thursday 21 June 2018

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Staunton's try crucial as Ballinrobe repel brave Dunmore rally

Dunmore 14 Ballinrobe 15 Heineken Junior Plate

Ballinrobe RFC celebrating their Junior Plate win over Dunmore at the Sportsground (Pic Conor McKeown)
Ballinrobe RFC celebrating their Junior Plate win over Dunmore at the Sportsground (Pic Conor McKeown)

Ballinrobe edging out Dunmore in a thrilling Heineken Junior Plate final played amid swirling winds at the Sportsground.

Dunmore played into the stiff breeze for the first half and with both teams happy to play with ball in hand the first opportunity came ten minutes in when Ballinrobe's No 8 Jack Winters picked off the base of a scrum and offloaded to Conor Varley who was shepherded into touch by Jamie Murphy just yards from the Dunmore tryline.

Dunmore, struggling to get out of their own half, conceded a penalty on 25 minutes and Ballinrobe's out-half Stephen Conroy kicked the first points for the Mayo side. Dunmore sparked into life on the half hour mark when centre Damien Kelleher crashed through the Ballinrobe defence to score under the posts, adding the conversion himself to give Dunmore a 7-3 lead.

Ballinrobe struck right back and were very unlucky not to score as they knocked on over the line.

Ballinrobe continued their ascendancy when the game restarted, piling pressure on the Dunmore goal-line with a driving maul only to be held up over the line and four phases later Dunmore forced a knock-on and were able to clear their lines.

Dunmore found their stride ten minutes into the second half and some great kicks, supplemented by the strong wind, kept Ballinrobe pinned in their own 22 but they weren't to be contained for too long and an excellent line break took play back into the Dunmore 22 and after a dominant scrum and an attacking penalty Ballinrobe finally crossed the Dunmore line, replacement Sean Mullin crashing over from short range.

Out-half Conroy couldn't add the extras but Ballinrobe were up by a point with just over ten minutes left. Ballinrobe kept the pressure on, a driving maul pummelled Dunmore back 20 metres and earned them a five-yard penalty.

Four phases later centre Tom Staunton crashed through the Dunmore line for well-earned try, Conroy's conversion pushing Ballinrobe into a 15-7 lead with less than ten minutes left to play.

Dunmore struck back with a try from John Noone and Damien Kelleher's conversion brought it back to a one-score match. Kelleher had the opportunity to win the match for Dunmore with the last kick of the game but his penalty attempt drifted left of the posts and Ballinrobe were champions.

Ballinrobe - James McHugh, Christopher McHugh, Kevin Staunton, Anthony Coleman, Patrick Mylotte, David Madden, Conor Varley, Jack Winters, Jack O'Toole, Stephen Conroy, John Mannion, Michael Walsh, Tom Staunton, Thomas Lynagh, Robert Holian. Reps: Damien Burke, Martin Joyce, David Reilly, Eoghan Lynagh, Sean Mullin.

Dunmore - Paddy Costello, Jamie Geraghty, Stephen O'Toole, Anthony Glennon, Brendan Walsh, Eugene Stritch, Andrew Doherty, Brendan Burns, Colin Lyons, Jamie Coen, John Noone, Damien Kelleher, Dara Walsh Jamie Murphy, David Finnegan. Reps: Martin Donnellan, Nigel Silke, Mark Coen, Declan Rattigan, Martin Walsh.

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