Byers stars as Ballyclare ease through to Cup quarter-final

Ballyclare's Niall Lawther in Junior Cup against Omagh at The Cloughan. INNT 42-016-FP
Ballyclare's Niall Lawther in Junior Cup against Omagh at The Cloughan. INNT 42-016-FP

Stand-in full back, Gareth Byers, starred for Ballyclare as they eased in to the quarter-final of the Junior Cup.

He kicked all but one of his eight attempts, amassing 22 points in the process - three penalties, four conversions and a try - as the White Hare lads romped to a 42-10 win against Omagh.

A big crowd gathered at The Cloughan for what had been billed the match of the round, and they were treated to some high class expansive rugby, with the rather lop-sided scoreline reflecting harshly on the Tyrone lads.

With Robert Smith out injured, Byers filled in at full-back and was early on the scorecard to give Ballyclare a 6-3 lead midway through the first-half.

Play switched quickly from end to end and Omagh led for the only time in the match, when the pack drove to the line for a try that Ward converted.

The visitors were reduced to 14 players when one of their forwards was sin-binned for persistent offside infringements, and in his absence just before the interval Ballyclare regained the lead, when Niall Lawther and Willie Logan combined to put wing-forward Gary Weatherup in for a score that Byers goaled to give his side a 13-10 lead at the break.

With the strong wind in their favour, it was all Ballyclare in the second session.

Byers confidently stroked over his third penalty, and then added the extras when winger Jonny Reid paved the way for Logan to get his name on the scorecard.

That left Omagh trailing 23-10 and when another player was yellow carded they never recovered.

Byers crossed for an unconverted touchdown before skipper Robert Boyd scored twice - for one the big lock raced clear from inside his own half for a spectacular score in the corner - and Byers converted both increase the winning margin to 32 points.

Ballyclare: G Byers; J Reid, N Loughlin, G Clotworthy, J Greer; N Lawther, C Morrow; A Boyd, A Wylie, D Lawther, R Boyd (C), G McKinstry, G Weatherup, J McKinstry, W Logan.

The match was sponsored by a group of Ballyclare RFC Past Presidents.

The 4th XV chalked up a fine 29-10 win at The Cloughan against UUC 2nd XV in a Junior League Section 5 fixture.

Tries by David Tweed and skipper Chris Gawn gave the hosts a 10-3 lead at the interval, and they continued to have the upper-hand in the second half.

Tony Turner and M. Logan crossed for scores, one of which was converted by John Wasson, who later goaled Clarke McCartney’s touchdown, while the students were restricted to a late consolation score.

Stephen Bailie and Wasson starred in the backs, while McCartney, Gawn and Stevie Crawford were the pick of the pack.

The 2nd XV were beaten 25-7 by CIYMS 2nd XV at Belmont where Matthew Crothers got the Clare score that was converted by William Stevenson.

The hosts led 20-7 at the interval and Ballyclare held out until near the end when CI got their fourth score.

Hopper at wing-forward and Kirk at centre impressed.

The three youth teams entertained Monaghan at The Cloughan, where the Under 17s won 17-8, with scores by Ryan Lorimer, Alex Haggan and Thomas McGookin who also added a conversion.

The Under-15s lost 52-0, and the Under-13s lost 61-31.

Saturday’s fixtures: 1st XV v Grosvenor, home; 2nd XV v Dungannon III, away; 3rd XV v Ballymena III, away, while the youth teams are off to Donegal.