Ballynahinch wrote another chapter in their history by dumping defending All Ireland Cup champions Shannon out of the competition to set up a quarter final meeting with Galwegians.
A week after claiming their first Ulster Senior League title Hinch went to Limerick and beat the eight times AIL champions 15-14 with a last gasp penalty by Kiwi Ryan Bambry.
“Last week was a big, historic day for us and to do what we did in Shannon is another step forward for us,” said club spokesman John Dickson.
“It’s a hell of an achievement and the last five minutes were incredible. For them to give away a stupid penalty like that you could say they probably gave us the match but Bambry still had to put it through the posts into what was a very strong breeze, and he did.”
After losing to a dubious decision in their last game against Galwegians, Hinch will relish the chance of a return visit to Galway for the quarter final.
“We’ll not need any motivation to win in Galway and, having won at Shannon the way we did, we’ll have no worries about going anywhere. If we can play like that we’ll be a hard team to beat,” added Dickson.
What made the result in Limerick more remarkable was that Hinch were, at one stage, reduced to 13 men as Ulster centre Rob Dewey and lock Chris Napier both received yellow cards. Playing with the elements, Hinch built up a 12-0 lead with four Bambry penalties.
Shannon made their numerical advantage count with converted tries by flanker John O’Connor and scrum half Fiach O’Loughlin to take a two-point lead, but Bambry’s fifth penalty sealed the thrilling victory.
Ared coach Mervyn Tweed took a youthful Ards side to Cork, for their last 16 match against Dolphin, but they couldn’t repeat Hinch’s success, going down 44-6, although the scoreline flattered the home side.
Michael Lawton kicked two penalties for Ards but the home side scored seven tries.
Full back Rory Kenneally scored a hat trick while Paul Hurley, Gary O’Keefe, George Finn and Nick Williams each went over for a score.