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Ballymena and Ballynahinch defeats hit top four hopes

By Michael Sadlier

It was a distinctly bad day at the office for both Ballymena and Ballynahinch with their defeats inflicting potentially severe damage on the clubs' top four aspirations.

Ballymena had the worst of it on Old Wesley's artificial surface, at Donnybrook, where the hosts put them to the sword with the margin of the Dublin side's victory being 49-19.

It was 30-0 before the Braidmen got their first score through Matthew Norris' first try which was converted by Brett Heron.

It hardly made much difference as Wesley then stretched things out to 42-7 against Andy Graham's beleaguered side before they recovered and scored two more times, through Norris again and Dave Shanahan.

The result sees the Braidmen slip into sixth and, as things stand, they are four adrift of Wesley - who are now in fourth - with five games to play.

Hinch also dropped a place and are now in fifth after succumbing to Galwegians who surprisingly triumphed 20-7 at Ballymacarn Park.

It was a huge blow for Derek Suffern's play-off chasing squad but Hinch lost their way in the second half after the opening 40 minutes ended with the sides locked together at 7-7.

Ryan Wilson grabbed the Co Down side's try, which was converted by Justin Rea, but that was the last time Hinch - who were, admittedly, hit by injuries - troubled the scoreboard.

Just to what extent this home defeat has damaged Hinch's hopes of a top four finish remains to be seen - they are three points back from Wesley - but this reverse will have done some damage to morale as the season enters its closing stages.

Div 1B: Ballynahinch 7 Galwegians 20, Dolphin 24 Shannon 11, Old Wesley 49 Ballymena 19, UCC 16 Naas 13, UL Bohs 27 Buccaneers 39

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