A spirited performance from the home side and some stout defending helped as they held on in a hotly contested local derby.
Donegal Town RFC . . 24
Ballyshannon RFC . . .22
Ballyshannon drew first blood in this game and it was as if there was a turkey hangover for the home side. However Donegal replied instantly through Victor Mitchell in a well worked team move.
Unfortunately David Murray was wayward with the conversion. Ballyshannon again came up the field and went ahead 12-5.
The game swung back and forth with both teams being denied tries from some stout and resolute defending. Some great defensive work from the home back line led to they home sides 2nd try courtesy of an Intercept from debutant centre Conor Classon. David Murray added the extras. Donegal then lost influential scrum half Hugh Morrow to injury. Some more defending was necessary before half time where Donegal lost veteran hooker Keith Anderson for ten mins to the bin in what seemed a harsh call.
Half time 12-12.
Donegal came out in the second half with a point to prove and straight from the restart Donegal broke up the field and some great inter play from centres Eddie Gallagher and Conor Classon sent winger John Harkin in for a try. Unfortunately it wasn’t converted.
Donegal knocked on the restart but turned over possession quickly in the resulting scrum and again the centres combined well with winger who put through flanker Laurie. The try was converted.
John Harkin was next in the bin in what was a harsh call something the home team can feel aggrieved by. While down to 13 Ballyshannon got in for their third and final time. Donegal spent the rest of the half defending and some brilliant tackling from Diver, Harkin, C.Classon and McGinty kept the home team with five between them.
The referee was extremely consistent in the way awarded the visitors most 50-50 calls and just as Harkin re-entered the fray Donegal lost Eddie Gallagher to the bin. Ballyshannon knocked over a late penalty but the Donegal pack turned defense into attack on a number occasions and the game finished in the oppposing 5.
One to fifteen Donegal played very well but Conor Classon deserves a special mention for his tackling while man of the match was team Captain Ciaran Harley who tackled and carried at every opportunity.