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Win for Queen's as Bann languish

By Niall Crozier

Second victories for Ballymena, City of Derry and Queen's have placed them at the top of the 2A table but Banbridge are one of two at the bottom with no points to show for their efforts.

Ballymena have already accumulated 77 points, including a 40-7 success at Highfield, where Timmy Small contributed 25 points. He had a try, four conversions and four penalties as the team ran in four tries for a bonus point.

Highfield had no answer to a Ballymena side growing in confidence with every game. They led 19-0 at the interval and never looked back.

Ricky Andrew scored two superb tries, in each side-stepping through the opposition to touch down. Conor Smyth was the other scorer.

Queen's, in joint second with Derry one point behind the Eaton Park team, had a tough battle at Banbridge, winning 21-13.

They were only one point ahead at the halfway stage, 7-6, but had the better of the second half exchanges.

Director Robbie Moore thought his team deserved victory, saying: "We scored three tries to their one, but it wasn't as easy as that. I thought Robert Whitten impressed with the big part he played in two of our tries."

Ritchie McMaster converted all the tries by Chris Colvin, Damon Hall and Stuart McIlwaine while Johnny Little had the Bann try –Ian Porter kicked two penalties and Adam Dougherty had a conversion.

City of Derry recorded a 23-18 success at Barnhall where the final try, and the most important, was scored after Josh Lewis weaved through the opposition for the winning score.

David Funston and Stephen Caldwell also had a try each and Neil Burns contributed a penalty and a conversion and Richard McCarter scored a penalty.

Rainey bounced back after last week's humiliating defeat at City of Derry with a 45-33 win over Seapoint.

Former President Arnold McLean was more than happy but felt they let their opponents back into the game, saying: "We were leading 45-19 at one stage but then conceded two late tries which gave them a bonus point.

"Nevertheless, it was a much improved performance and I thought our new South African hooker George Fritz showed up well. Colin Mitchell and Paul Heaney also impressed."

Damien McMurray (2), Jody McMurray, George Fritz, Nicholas Stirling and Colin Mitchell scored the tries for Mark O'Connor to convert three and add three penalties.

In 2B, a spectacular solo effort try by Matthew Keane gave Instonians a last minute 14-13 win over Navan.

Inst trailed 13-9 with five minutes remaining and then Gareth Lawlor kicked his third penalty. Scrum-half Keane, on halfway, saw an opening on the blind side and dashed away, through the opposing winger and rounded the full-back for the winning points.

Armagh, one of five teams undefeated after two outings, had a 23-12 win at Sunday's Well. Seamus Mallon and Harry Doyle were the try scorers and Richard Reaney kicked both conversions and three penalties.

In the remaining fixture, Ards moved down to mid-table following a 35-3 defeat at Midleton. They held their bigger and stronger opponents in the first half 9-3, but crumbled after the restart. Paul Cox kicked their penalty.

2A Results: Highfield 8 Ballymena 40, Banbridge 13 Queen's 21, Barnhall 18 City of Derry 23, Rainey 45 Seapoint 33, Old Crescent 17 Bruff 9, Bective 3 UCC 13, Galwegians 32 Old Wesley 13, Naas 25 Cashel 23

2B Results: Instonians 14 Navan 13, Sunday's Well 12 Armagh 23, Midleton 35 Ards 3, Suttonians 3 Skerries 20, DLSP 10 Nenagh/Ormond 57, Richmond 16 Greystones 37, Sligo 17 Boyne 23, Tullamore 19 Thomond 16

* AN easy 43-3 victory over Ulster U18s sends Leinster into their final Youth Inter-Provincial against Connacht with a four point leadin the series. The western Province could still win the title, but would have to achieve a winning bonus point and prevent Leinster from earning one.

A powerful and determined Leinster team overwhelmed Ulster in the first half at Ravenhill, gaining a 29-3 interval lead. They were 17 points in front after 10 minutes.

Ulster, who have not had a consistent team and were missing a number of key players, eventually had a Jack McCool penalty as scant consolation.

Manager Liam Eastwood was obviously disappointed with his team's performance, saying: "I thought we should have done better and were very poor on the day. Our tackling was bad and Leinster showed their superiority with seven tries."

Belfast Telegraph

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