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Foyle College 13 Down HS 24

Down High came from behind to record a comfortable victory after their long journey to Foyle in Londonderry to secure a home draw with Ballyclare High.

A late try by TJ McCavera secured victory for the visitors.

John Gunson, the Down High coach, who scored the match winning try in the All-Ireland Senior Cup final a few years ago, knew it was going to be tight.

“It was tough going and Foyle played well. Our boys stuck together and we managed a victory.

“I thought Chris Gibson at scrum-half was an ideal link and No 8 Nathan Donnan was always in the action and strong in defence.

“We now look forward to a home tie against Ballyclare High.”

Foyle coach David Barnett thought his team kept to their task and could have won.

“We gifted them a couple of tries but some of our players had outstanding games. Flanker Patrick Leeson put in a lot of work and Neil Burns performed more than adequately when he moved from centre to out-half,” he said.

“Centre Kyle Henderson had to go off with a knee injury. This was his first game back after being in and out all season but he only lasted 20 minutes and his absence was a set-back.

“We gave them a tough game although they were the stronger at the close.”

There was little between the teams in the first half although Down took their chances and were 12-3 in front at the interval.

They went ahead when tight head prop Nathan Gibson crossed following a line-out and this gave the visitors the incentive to keep attacking.

Down increased their advantage when good work by Luca Rea created an opportunity for a good back move which resulted in centre Ricky Gill going over.

Just before the interval, Foyle mounted an attack and their reward was a Neil Burns try.

The home team started the second period strongly and following another Burns penalty they took a one point lead when centre Ryan Curry dashed through for Burns to goal.

Down soon regained the advantage when prop Kelvin Hamilton crashed over from five metres for a converted try and 19-13 lead.

The issue was put beyond doubt when McCavera ran down the wing and scored.

Belfast Telegraph

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