Braidmen suffer AIL ‘shutout’ at Quins

BALLYMENA’S Ulster Bank All-Ireland League Division 1B promotion hopes suffered a setback when they lost 9-0 to Belfast Harlequins on Friday night.

In a game dominated by the elements, Ballymena failed to take advantage of a strong wind at their backs in the first half at Deramore Park.

The first half was spoiled by the rain, which resulted in neither side being able to open their account.

Unfortunately for Ballymena, that statistic persisted into the second period but Quins were able to break their duck with three penalties from their Ulster out-half Ian Porter.

As the conditions worsended, neither team were able to get their backlines into the game and it became a war of attrition up front.

John Semple sliced an early penalty wide for the Eaton Park side but despite the best efforts of Richard Aingworth, Blane McIlroy and captain Paul Pritchard there were few other opportunities for them throughout the 80 minutes.

The defeat sees Ballymena lose top spot in Division 1A, albeit only on points difference from Ulster rivals Ballynahinch.

John Andrews’ men will be anxious to get back to winning ways this Saturday when they entertain old rivals Dungannon in a crunch fixture.

Ballymena: Ricky Andrew; Roger McBurney; Alasdair Frazer, Richard Aingworth, John Semple; Martin Irwin, Blane McIlroy; Conor Carey, Jonathan Burns, Simon Shawe, Darrell O’Kane, Josh Christie, Ross Hackney, Paul Pritchard (capt), Stephen Mulholland. Replacements: Andrew Warwick, James Carson, Andrew Kerr, Joel Andrew, David O’Hara.