Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby Club Rugby

Last gasp try seals Towns' Cup triumph as Hinch IIs battle past brave Enniskillen in extra-time

Ballynahinch IIs 17 Enniskillen 13

By Jonathan Bradley

There is yet more silverware headed to Ballymacarn Park after Ballynahinch IIs lifted the River Rock Towns' Cup at Kingspan Stadium yesterday.

Having already secured the Senior and Junior Cups this season, it is another historic campaign for the Co. Down club, but it was heartbreak for Enniskillen who, looking to win the trophy for a first time in 80 years, led in the final seconds of extra time only to concede a last gasp try in the corner to winger Chris Orr.

A low-scoring but pulsating contest, Hinch dominated for large portions of the game but were met by a resoundingly solid Enniskillen defence that refused to give in until the very last.

Having reached the final 12 months ago, only to be beaten by a treble-winning Bangor side, Enniskillen were determined to make up for that disappointment but found themselves having to go through countless defensive sets in the first half an hour of the contest and, after seven minutes, Patrick Wright kicked Hinch into an early lead.

The full-back was close to creating the first try as he stormed round the corner on a promising break, but Orr was forced into touch by Robert Baloucoune.

The same man made his second try saving tackle in as many minutes when Hinch next attacked, this time bringing down James McBriar after a great burst of pace from Callum McLaughlin.

Another foray into the opposition 22 was abruptly halted by a knock-on, but it felt only a matter of time before the Enniskillen resistance was broken.

Captain David Buchanan did well to snaffle a lineout from the County Down side but, when the same man was pinged for coming in at the side, Hinch went for the corner again.

Still living dangerously, the Fermanagh men were defending stoutly and bundled the opposition across the sideline to eventually relieve the pressure.

After absorbing every punch thrown in their direction, Enniskillen could have led at the half when Ashley Finlay led a lightening quick counter attack, but the full-back did not have enough pace among his supporting team-mates to keep it alive.

In the second-half, David Harris thought he had finally brought the game's first try when he got on the end of McBriar's chip over the top, but the move was called back for a knock-on.

And Enniskillen drew level eight minutes after the restart when Adam Lendrum punished a high tackle with an accurate effort off the tee.

With that kick lifting a vocal support, the game was a far more even affair from that point and indeed, for all their stoic defence, it was Enniskillen who ended up the first to dot down.

A fine link between the dangerous backs Finlay and Baloucoune saw the latter set across the whitewash, and Lendrum had no problems with the conversion to move his side into what had seemed an improbable 10-3 lead.

And when hooker Ben Pentland was binned for a high tackle with only 15 minutes remaining, Enniskillen tails were firmly in the air.

With a numerical disadvantage, Hinch were spurred into action, starting with a line-out steal from Andy Simpson.

Marching into the opposition 22, it was a clever line picked by Conor Phillips that saw him barrel across the whitewash for a huge score and shift of momentum.

When Quinn converted, the scores were level and a barnstorming finish was in store.

Having been held largely in check, Hinch had one more attack before the 80 minutes were up but, true to form, Enniskillen proved too tough to break down.

With the showpiece going to extra time for a first time since 2013, Lendrum gave Skins the lead for a second time via a penalty and their defence seemed set to take them to the title.

But, one last thrust from Hinch finally broke their resistance with patient build-up after another Phillips break freeing Orr in the corner for the game winner.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph