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It took Ballyclare a while to get into this game, with Ards putting up strong resistance in the first half hour, but a four try burst towards the end of the first half pushed the game firmly in their favour. 

Ards enjoyed the better of the first quarter and racked up a penalty from Paul Cox to take a 0 – 3 lead after 6 minutes.

Paul Cox sends over an early penalty for Ards

The home team eventually worked their way into the Ards half and tied the game at 3 – all after a penalty from Matthew McDowell. 

The midfield battle continued until the half hour mark when Owen Kirk slid over on the right for an unconverted try and Ballyclare broke loose with three more tries in quick succession to push the game their way. 

Mike Kirk slides home for a try against Ards

Mike Kirk broke from deep to cross under the posts and he was quickly followed by Joel McBride who finished off a powerful run from Ballyclare’s young wing forward before Gary Clotworthy went over on the left for their fourth. McDowell converted two to give Ballyclare a 27 – 3 lead at the break. 

McBride and Owen Kirk each crossed for a second try in the third quarter with McDowell converting the first to push the score along to 39 – 3. 

Ross Torney hits the line for Ards try.

However, it was Ards who finished the game in some style and, after a period of sustained pressure on the Ballyclare line, the hard working Ards pack were  rewarded with a try from second row Ross Torney at his second attempt of grounding the ball. 

The game ended without further score, Ballyclare progressing to the next round of the Towns Cup with a 39 – 8 win. 

HUGE GALLERY BELOW

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