Braidmen’s reign as Senior Cup holders comes to end

Ballymena’s two-year reign as First Trust Ulster Senior Cup champions came to an end on Saturday when they were beaten 43-10 by Malone in the quarter-final.

Ballymena's Darrell Montgomery has his progress halted by Malone's Shane Kelly during Saturday's Senior Cup quarter-final. Picture: Press Eye.

Malone started the quicker and within 3 minutes took the lead when they turned the Braidmen over and the Malone full back scored out wide. The tally wsas doubled to 14-0 five minutes later when the number 8 barged his way over the line.

Ballymena started to get back into the game and when Rory Drysdale broke out of his own half he found support out wide in the form of Mike McKeever who was released to score out wide. The conversion was missed 14-5.

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Ballymena confidence was growing but they couldn’t find their way through a determined Malone defence.

In the dying minutes of the half Malone scored against the run of play through their number 8. The conversion was added, to make the half time score 21-5.

Ballymena started the second half strongly and soon Malone was reduced to 14 men when one of their forwards was yellow carded. Ballymena kicked the ball deep into the Malone half for a line out.

At the line out David Whann rose the highest and after a couple of recycled phases Whann found himself crossing the line for a try. The conversion was missed, 21-10.

Malone was soon back to full strength and a well worked move saw their full back breaking through some week tackling to score in the corner. The conversion was missed, 26-10.

The momentum had again swung back to Malone who turned over Ballymena to score a break away try to the right of he posts. The conversion was missed, 31-10.

The Braidmen rallied but unfortunally they were let down by the final pass. Ballymena had committed to an attack and when the ball was over turned they couldn’t set the defensive line and Malone scored through their out-half.

With the final play of the game saw Malone add to the score when their flanker was pushed over the line. The conversion was added, final score 43-10.

Ballymena: Kirkpatrick, Taggart, Cundell, Ireland, Rea, Smith, Macintosh, Hamilton, McCrudden, Bailey, Foster, McKeever, Montgomery, Johnston, Drysdale, Young, Ferguson, Whann, Patterson, McMullan.