Officials of Ballyclare RFC had hoped to celebrate the senior side’s promotion to Qualifying League 1 with a home win against bottom placed Strabane at The Cloughan on Saturday, but it ended in anti-climax.
Strabane, without a single point from 18 outings in their first season in Qualifying 2, decided to duck out of a probable mauling in Ballyclare, and forfeited the points on Friday afternoon.
However it was decided to go ahead with the usual pre-match lunch in a rather muted atmosphere without the normal visiting contingent.
Praise was lavished upon coach Bob Young from Ballymena, who in his third season with the club guided them back to the top junior section, after having languished in Q2 for almost a decade.
Apparently Bob has plans to strengthen his squad, in the hope that in case of injury he will be able to replace like with like.
With main rivals, Omagh Accies, having collected a bonus point from their final fixture, Ballyclare finished just three points ahead of the Tyrone men, who had never been out of the promotion equation all season.
In the new season Ballyclare will come up against a famous Ulster club, Instonians, who have been relegated from the All Ireland League Division 2B.
But missing will be long-standing Q1 stalwarts, Coleraine, who have been relegated.