COLERAINE eyes are now firmly set on the AIL clash with Tuam after losing out to Ballymoney on Saturday.
The Galway side are coming to town for the re-arranged All-Ireland Junior League match with the Cookstown sponsored Coleraine team, having previously had to cancel because of bereavement in the club. An unknown quantity, Tuam are one of the best performing Connacht sides this season, and are sure to produce a spirited match in Coleraine.
Preparations for the game take place in the shadow of another league defeat for Coleraine on Saturday, when Ballymoney were the victors with a score of 25-12. Yet again things were close at the break at14-12 but Ballymoney made the better of their opportunities in the second half to take the win.
Speaking on Monday, Coleraine coach Richard Kernohan, said the side would be looking closely at their performance but concentrating on the AIL match.
Richard said: “We were not happy with the result and again our attitude seemed to be lacking something. Ballymoney are at the top of the league and we are near the bottom and on Saturday’s performance that showed.
“Ballymoney took their chances and we didn’t make the best of ours. There were some great individual performances in the Coleraine side but overall we lacked cohesion and drive.
“Again we were well set at the break but the performance dropped off for most of the second half. We did come to life in the closing stages of the game, playing better rugby, but it was too late to change the result.
“This week we have to look at the positives, work hard on our game plan and look to get back on track with a good performance against Tuam. We know we have the players and we now need to look at our attitude and performance on the pitch.
“We have a number of players back and available for this weekend and yet again there will be big competition for places in the team. It will all hinge on the boys and their determination.”
On Saturday Coleraine made a strong start at Kilraghts Road and within the first minute David Andrews claimed three points from a penalty awarded on the halfway line. Ballymoney soon had their own chance and full back Cormac McCartney scored three from a penalty 30 metres out.
Both sides fought for possession and with ten minutes on the clock Andrews struck for three points, again from the halfway line. His boot was again in action two minutes later for another three points following a defensive penalty 30 metres from the Ballymoney try line.
In the next ten minutes Coleraine were awarded three further penalties as Ballymoney struggled to contain the persistent attack. The first two, from near the halfway line were just off-target, the third from the Ballymoney 22 was slotted home for three points, bringing the score to 3-12.
Ballymoney then turned the pressure on Coleraine and were rewarded with another McCartney penalty from 30 metres. The attack continued and working from a ten metre lineout, Ballymoney forged across the line, Surgenor getting the touch-down. The conversion attempt was just wide.
The final score of the half went to McCartney and another penalty, 25 metres out, and the scoreline at the break was 14-12.
The second half saw Coleriane struggle to regain their composure. Within two minutes the home side scored from a penalty kick and a few minutes later just miss with another.
Coleraine brought on Jarleth Carey for Stephen Jefferson and Tommy Van Wyk for Greg Jordan.
Ballymoney scored again after half an hour, three points from McCartney, and then five minutes later, after gathering possession from a Coleraine clearance, created an overlap to score in the corner, the conversion going wide.
In the final 20 minutes Coleraine created persistent pressure and a number of scoring opportunities but were unable to get any points. Both Stuart Simpson and Tommy Van Wyk came very close to the line but were denied by a ferocious Ballymoney defence.
In the end the score was Ballymoney 25 Coleraine 12, four points for the Ballymoney league campaign and the Tweed Cup returned to Kilraghts Road. Coleraine were again disappointed with the result but will now focus on the game against Tuam.
The All-Ireland fixture on Saturday promises to be a big day for Coleraine, with substantial support expected, and both teams firmly fixed on progression to the next round. The match starts at 2.30pm. A big turnout of support will be appreciated.
In other matches the scores were Coleraine Seconds 12 Ballymoney Seconds 0, Ballymoney Thirds 21 Coleraine Fourths 17.
Coleraine First XV: S Jefferson, D Ferguson, L George, P Bogle, W Hunt, R Gibson, A Gourley, S Dickey, Simpson, G Jordan, N Irwin, D Andrews, D Orr, N Hall, B Cochrane. Subs: J Carey, T Van Wyk.