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Hard-fought victory sets Methody in good stead, insists Wells

Down High School 8 Methodist College 15

The Down High and Methodist College clash was delayed by 30 minutes when home out-half Robert Wilson and opponent Ethan McIlroy collided when going for the ball.

After the restart, Methody - who had been trailing 8-7 at the interval - appeared to settle better and went on to add a penalty and a try to clinch the victory.

Down High conceded a number of penalties early on and when Methody took the line-out option, prop Alex Cairns was driven over for centre Paul Kerr to convert. An infringement at a ruck resulted in a Marcus Graham penalty to reduce the arrears before a William Annett try gave Down the half-time advantage.

Down coach John Gunson said: "As a result of the injuries 10 minutes into the second period, we had to reshuffle our backline and Paddy Agnew was brought off the bench.

"We had started the second half confidently but after the delay we gave away three or four stupid penalties and that allowed Methody back into the contest."

Kerr went for the posts and gave Methody the advantage and another penalty to the corner set up the second try, when Thomas Gallagher crashed over.

Gunson was pleased with his team's overall efforts. He said: "We made a few mistakes in key areas and had chances but we pushed them all the way."

Methody coach Nicky Wells was somewhat relieved. He commented: "We started well and adapted to the occasion but lost our way coming up to half-time.

"We failed to clear our lines and they had a couple of strong forwards who carried well and gave us problems.

"Down High is a tough place to go to and they accounted for themselves well but we also prepared thoroughly.

"I feel the game has done us the world of good before the challenge of Armagh Royal. We have to travel again and they have a couple of good wins behind them so we can expect another difficult game."

Belfast Telegraph

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