Ballyclare progress after hard fought Dungannon battle
Ballyclare HS 17 - RS Dungannon 12
Despite having three possible tries disallowed and three players yellow carded, Ballyclare High emerged victorious with a late try against a gallant RS Dungannon side.
There was a dramatic start when in the first 90 seconds with play close to the home line, Dungannon charged down a clearance kick and Patrick Forster dived over for Aaron Perry to convert.
Following a number of phases the home forwards made ground and Dean Jones broke through the visiting defence to touch down for Owen Hutchinson to goal.
Throughout it was an evenly matched contest between two strong teams and the result could have gone either way.
Both defences were robust but it was Ballyclare that made the first breakthrough in the second period. Owen Kirk ran in from 40 metres out but soon afterwards Dungannon were back on level terms with the try of the game when their opponents were reduced to 13 players.
They had taken up a position close to the home line and following a few penalties the forwards advanced before an accurate cross kick was gathered for Aaron McCammon to dive over.
"This set-back made us concentrate more and we started to exert more pressure," said the home coach Mike Orchin-McKeever.
In the final five minutes, a Dungannon clearance failed to find touch and that gave Ballyclare the chance they had been waiting for. Ballyclare brought play back and prop forward Johnny Crockett showed his strength to go in for the deciding try.
Orchin-McKeever added: "I felt that the replacements we made had an impact and showed that we have strength throughout the squad. Dean Jones and Andrew Seymour put in a lot of work and Alastair Burke ran strongly with ball in hand and his passing was top class."
Gareth McClintock, the Dungannon coach said: "Our backs defended stoutly but this was a game we could well have won. Peter Doran had a few piercing runs while Calvin Nelson and Joseph Cashel were always in the middle of the action."