Donegal Town got their rugby season off to a good start, proving too strong for a plucky Ballyshannon in the annual Dinsmore Cup tie.
Donegal Town 32
The scoreline is flattering to Ballyshannon as Donegal were the superior side, but the visitors never gave up and two late tries were great reward for that effort.
The rivalry between the teams was evident from the start. Donegal Town had a full reserve side on the sideline as new coach Gary Prenderville had his side primed for the start.
The winners were quick to exert superiority, especially up front and there were just minutes on the clock when Brian Mulhern broke from a ruck and when Ballyshannon were penalised, Donegal opted for a scrum and Mulhern broke again and forced his way over. Peteso Cannon, excellent throughout, converted, and three minutes later he landed a penalty to leave Donegal 10-0 ahead.
Ballyshannon missed a penalty but Mark Rooney got them on the scoreboard from a penalty after 30 minutes.
Donegal’s response was swift with the score of the match. Peteso Cannon was the architect and he found full back Declan Bushell on the burst and he went over under the posts to give Cannon an easy conversion.
Before the break Cannon added another penalty to leave Donegal Town ahead by 20-3 at the break.
Ballyshannon got the perfect start to the second half with big Donal Hannigan breaking the Donegal cover to go over under the posts and Mark Rooney converted.
But any chance they had of bridging the gap were not helped by wayward shooting with Ray Gallagher and Rooney missing easy penalties.
Donegal, despite making numerous changes, closed out the game with tries from Sean Mahon and an excellent effort from Gareth McMurray with Cannon converting the second to stretch the lead to 32-10.
But then Ballyshannon finished well with Richard Gallagher and Paul Connolly getting over for two good tries and Mark Rooney added the conversions.
There were positives for both sides as they begin their league campaigns but for now the bragging rights are with the Donegal Town men.
In a competitive game, it wasn’t the place for a local referee, but nobody told Shane Toolan, who gets full marks for exercising the pea in his whistle to the fullest. There was plenty of encouragement and advice from the sideline but it was like water off a duck’s back!
Donegal Town: David Morrow, Emmet Brogan, Ronan Gillespie; Sean Mahon, Craig Trimble, Brian Mulhern, Ernan Cassidy, Jimmy Brogan, Declan Gallagher, Peteso Cannon, Peter McDyre, Lee Mosby, Gareth McMurray, Rory Boyle, Declan Bushell. Replacements: Jason Vance, Adrian Herrity, David O’Neill, Robert Hannafin, Hugh Morrow, Ian Lynch, Ciaran Norby, Ciaran Harley, Daniel Gildea, David Murray.
Ballyshannon: Brian Killalea, Stephen Loughlin, Paul Cassidy, Enda Wymbs, Christian Carroll, Gary Gilmartin, Darren Gillespie, Donald Hannigan, Evan McGloin, Eoin Halliday, Paddy Flanagan, Mark Lyons, Mark Rooney, Dominic Gillespie, Paul Connolly. Replacements: Alan Prendergast, Richard Gallagher Raymond Gallagher.
Referee: Shane Toolan.