On Easter Monday afternoon, Kingspan Stadium hosted the Towns Cup Final, the first after two Covid related cancellations. For Ballyclare it was their fourth final in a row, for Dromore, it was their first final since 1998.
With the sun shining, Dromore were first out of the blocks, when Adam McDonald knocked over a close range penalty goal for a 3-0 lead, after 9 minutes.
Only 3 minutes later, a series of Dromore drives, resulted in a try by Graeme McCandless, converted by McDonald to move them out to 10-0.
Ballyclare pressure yielded a penalty, which was converted by Matthew McDowell, but 4 minutes later McDonald replied to restore Dromore’s 10 point lead, at 13-3.
With Kingspan clouding over and rain threatening, Ballyclare upped their game. From a maul, close to the line Ross Johnston powered over for an unconverted try to reduce the deficit to 13-8.
Following a Dromore sin binning, and in the last move of the first half Jack Black drove over. McDonald’s conversion gave Ballyclare a 15-13 halftime lead.
Minutes after the break a clever chip by McDowell, when attacking options seemed to run out for Ballyclare, was fielded by Owen Kirk to claim the ball, in goal, and score. With McDowell’s conversion, Ballyclare led 22-13.
As the rain fell steadily, Ballyclare continued to press. Space was created on the left for Josh Cowan to dive over in the corner for an unconverted try on 60 minutes.
Cowan, again found space on the left, 5 minutes later and ran round to score midway out and Ballyclare had a commanding 32-14 lead deep into the fourth quarter.
With the return of bright sunshine, Dromore had a series of rucks close to the Ballyclare line and Andrew Black crashed over close to the posts. McDonald’s conversion made the score 32-20.
Ballyclare seemed to lose their way. Dromore kept battling and were rewarded with a Matthew Shirlow try after 78 minutes. TJ Morris’ added the points and it was a one score game at 32-27.
Dromore fielded the restart and in a series of moves tried to keep the ball alive. A knock on resulted in the final whistle for a relieved Ballyclare side.