Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport

Quins given a flicker of hope after first win

By Michael Sadlier

At last it happened. On the 11th weekend of AIL action, all three Ulster clubs managed wins with that collective feel-good factor coming the way of Ballynahinch, Ballymena and also, most notably, Belfast Harlequins.

For Quins it was a special moment as Saturday brought them their first AIL victory this season after 10 straight defeats had left them horribly adrift at the bottom of the Division 1B table.

And though their narrow 12-10 victory over Blackrock College at Deramore has by no means rescued the situation, it has given them some cause for optimism.

There is no avoiding the fact that they are still seven points off UL Bohemians in the ninth-place play-off spot and 11 shy of Dolphin in eighth.

Relieved coach Adam Larkin said: "We're still clinging on and we've got to focus on what we can do now rather than what other teams do. We're getting closer so we just need to sneak another win or two and anything can happen."

Quins led 7-5 at half-time thanks to Mark Glover's try which was created and converted by Mark Best but then ended up trailing 10-7 before surviving Paul Jackson's binning to score late on through Ulster academy player Jacob Stockdale.

"When it really counted we got it right which shows we have come a long way," added Larkin.

In Division 1A, bottom team Ballynahinch also gave their cause a boost when they were victorious for only the second time this campaign in their 33-16 home win over Galwegians.

Even though Hinch failed to take a bonus point, they closed the gap to Terenure and Galwegians - they meet the Connacht side again this weekend in the Bateman Cup semi-final - with the latter currently located outside the relegation zone in eighth. However, both Nure and Wegians have a game in hand.

Chris Quinn did most of the scoring for Hinch at Ballymacarn Park as his four penalties and three conversions - Conor Joyce, Blane McIlroy and Aaron Cairns got the touchdowns - brought him a personal haul of 18 points.

Back in 1B, second-placed Ballymena's promotion hopes live on as they sneaked past UL Bohemians 17-15 at Thomond Park with Stephen Mulholland's late try saving the day.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph