Welcome to Ballymena RFC @ Eaton Park – Est 1887

On Monday 1st April, Ballymena 2XV will play in their first Town’s Cup final since 2012. Having secured their place in the final in dramatic fashion, with a last minute Matty Dick try in the semi final, Gareth Fisher and Mikey Stevenson’s team will be looking to go one better that the 2012 crop and secure the trophy.

Ballymena’s side is a real blend of youth and experience with James Taggart, in his 20th year of senior rugby, the only survivor from Ballymena’s last Towns Cup victory in 2005. Taggart’s expected front row colleague for the Eater Monday final, Jacob Oliver was unable to make the game in 2005, having not yet been born.
The 2XV have been bolstered by the emergence of talent from our Youth, U20s and schools system. Joe O’Rawe, Ryan McCartney and Timmy Carson were part of the U18 team who completed the season undefeated and completed a league and Cup double in 2022. Andrew Chesney has emerged as an exciting prospect, having joined the club’s U20 system this season and Jacob Oliver in his first year put of Cambridge House has been an ever present this season for the 2XV.
Road to the final:
Round 1 – Letterkenny (A) 50-12
While.the scoreline suggests a routine win, the game was difficult for long periods of the game and the qualifying 2 proved to be a difficult opponent. Some enthusiastic supporters made the trip with the team and enjoyed the bus trip as much as the game.
Round 2- Ards (H) 52-0
Another very efficient performance, dispatching Ards while playing some fine running rugby.
1/4 Final – City of Derry (H) 23-21
This game represented a step up in terms of opposition and standard of rugby all round. City of Derry, a team in the top half of Junior 1, proved a very even match with some talented players, especially in the backline, causing Ballymena lots of problems. The game was very attritional and it took a last minute score from Josh McIlroy to secure victory.
1/2 final – Dromore (A) 18 – 17
Dromore is always a tough place to visit, with a large and vociferous crowd, and the semi final proved to be the case. Dromore, as always, were a very physical side and set out to try and win an ‘arm wrestle’. Having gone 17-13 down with minutes left to play, Ballymena made their way to the Dromore line from the restart and it took a score with the last play of the game from talisman Matthew Dick to secure the trip to Kingspan.
Coaches Gareth Fisher and Mikey Stevenson are both anticipating a tough game.
“Enniskillen will be a little bit of an unknown for us as we haven’t played them in a number of years (pre COVID).
“As a J1 team they probably play at a consistently higher standard due to the teams in their league. They are also a 1st XV so have the pick of the best 15/20 players available to them!
“We are likely to be the under dogs and quite truthfully that suits us alright.
“There will be one thing for certain… we will make it extremely difficult to beat us.
“We are a very powerful and determined side. We have an excellent blend of youth and experience and we have been blessed with a handful of boys who have filtered through from the under 20 set up… namely Joe O’Rawe, Andrew Chesney, Timmy Carson and Ryan McCartney.
When adding that youth to talented stalwarts like Matthew Dick, captain Peter Wallace, Paddy James and the forever young James Taggart then it really is a recipe for success.
“As a team we are really looking forward to the occasion… and whilst we will respect Enniskillen and their very obviously successful season… we feel that we most certainly have the ability (and heart) to cause an upset.”
Ballymena vs Enniskillen
Monday 1st April
Kick off 3pm
Kingspan Stadium
Tickets available from the link below: