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Quins and Dungannon set for title fight

The Ulster Senior League championship has nearly reached the half-way stage and it looks as though the title will be a contest between Belfast Harlequins and Dungannon.

They are both undefeated with 24 points with Ballymena on 15 and Ballynahinch on 13 but both these teams have already dropped six points. Hinch do have a game in hand while City of Derry are on 14 points but have lost twice.

There was little excitement at Ballymacarn Park where Harlequins came out on top against Ballynahinch 11-10.

The teams were level at the interval 3-3 but Quins made it 11-3 with an Owen McMurray try before the home team responded with an Aaron Ferris score.

Three tries in the second period helped Dungannon to a 37-13 success over Ballymena at Eaton Park. They were 16-3 ahead at half-time but the powerful visiting pack dominated to record a convincing success which included four tries for a bonus point. David O'Hara scored all his team's points with a try, a conversion and two penalties. Rainey came back from a 10-6 deficit to emerge victors over Malone 29-20 at Hatrick Park.

Gavin Martin was the match winner for Rainey when he kicked five penalties and converted both tries.

A youthful Ards team won their first points in the competition with an 11-10 win over Instonians at Hamilton Park where Paul Cox scored all their points with a try and two penalties.

* It was another disappointing weekend for Ulster junior teams participating in Inter-Provincial series. On Friday evening the Ulster Under-20 side lost at Leinster 31-13 and three more defeats followed on Saturday.

Ulster Under-19A lost at Connaught 25-8 where Mark Gribben kicked a first half penalty and David Patterson later scored a try.

At Thomond Park the Under-18 Youth team played the better rugby for most of the encounter but a couple of lapses led to a flattering 13-0 Munster success.

The Under 18 Schools' side were 19-10 ahead at one stage but a late converted try helped Munster to a 24-19 success.

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