All Ireland League: Ballynahinch on the up as Dungannon aim high
Three re-arranged AIL games and three wins for the Ulster clubs constituted a perfect weekend with Dungannon, Ballymena and the now promoted Ballynahinch all enjoying the positive vibes from their bonus point results.
In Division 1B, Dungannon made it two wins in a row — which moves them up to fifth and still on track to possibly finish in third to bag a play-off place with the bottom side from Division 1A — after they beat second-placed Buccaneers 28-25 at Stevenson Park.
The result now positions Justin Fitzpatrick’s squad a mere three points off third-placed Lansdowne and they now must aim to finish their campaign with two wins — their remaining games are against Buccs away and UCC at home — and hope that others falter along the way.
Dungannon racked up a bonus point win thanks to tries from Ali Birch, Chris Cochrane and a late winner from Conor Gaston while Michael Lawton scored for the second week running and also added a penalty and two conversions.
All decent preparation for ‘Gannon ahead of Saturday’s All-Ireland Cup semi-final clash with Corinthians, also at Stevenson Park.
In Division Two, Ballynahinch sealed promotion with their 32-19 thumping of DLSP in Dublin while, situated one point ahead the Ballymacarn Park side, leaders UCD did likewise in keeping their unbeaten campaign intact with a 27-16 result at Corinthians.
Ballymena moved from fifth to third after their 39-12 bonus point win over bottom side Thomond, a result which now puts John Andrews’ squad in an automatic promotion slot.