Hitch for Ballynahinch as holders lose opener at Ballymena
A total of 27 tries were scored in the first series of games in the new Ulster Championship League with the biggest surprise taking place in Section One at Eaton Park where Ballynahinch narrowly lost to Ballymena 31-26. With the competition only involving four games Hinch now face an uphill struggle to retain the Stevenson Shield.
In the other Section One encounter Malone built up a 15-0 interval advantage but then succumbed to a lively Armagh 39-27 at Gibson Park.
In the second half Malone made a lot of changes and lost some of their cohesion which allowed their opponents back into the game. Andrew Willis ran in two second half tries for Armagh and Neil Alcorn had a try in each half for the home team..
In Section Two, Rainey lost to Dungannon 21-0 at Hatrick Park. In the other fixture contested on Friday evening a weakened Queen's were defeated by Banbridge 45-21 at Upper Malone.
Ulster Women lost their second game in the Inter-Provincial series when they found Munster much too strong at Thomond Park, eventually losing 43-0.
This was a better effort after last week when they lost to Leinster 38-0 but far too many basic mistakes were made and the robust home pack took advantage.
Ulster are still pointless and have conceded 13 tries and would need a win over Connacht on Saturday to salvage something from their season.
This will be difficult, even at Portadown, as Connacht only lost to Munster 8-3 when they gained a bonus point and Leinster 15-5. The series will be decided when Munster face Leinster at Thomond Park on Saturday.