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Alcorn inspires mighty Malone comeback to reach semi-final

By Ronnie Ingram

Portadown took a 14-point lead in the Millar, McCall Wylie Junior Cup quarter-final but tries just before and after the interval swung the game in Malone II's favour at Chambers Park, the Belfast side going on to win 29-14.

Malone II now travel to Ballynahinch II in three weeks time, while Armagh II are away to Ballymoney in the other semi-final.

It was a much better effort from Portadown who trailed 22-3 before the previous tie was abandoned two weeks ago after an injury to the referee.

This time they went ahead with a Gary Hall try, converted by captain Craig Woods and after 32 minutes it was 14-0. Malone's centre Michael Browne, in attempting to intercept, was adjudged to have deliberately knocked on so a penalty try and a yellow card resulted.

The reduction to 14 players appeared to concentrate Malone's efforts and with Neil Alcorn moving from the wing to the centre they pushed upfield and Jonny Ogilby touched down for Chris Rowan to goal.

On the resumption, and still not at full strength, second row forward Lee Barlow crossed for a converted try and Malone were back on level terms.

The Gibson Park side then took control with Barlow, Max Porter and Ricky Greenwood putting in a lot of work.

Their pack was solid and, with a few heavy ball carriers, Portadown were soon in trouble.

In a physical game, the visitors gained in confidence and managed three more tries from Alcorn, Ogilby and Barlow. Rowan had a second conversion.

Malone manager David Heron was pleased with the second-half performance, saying: "We had to make six changes from our

first meeting so it took time to settle.

"Young Jack Knox was playing his first game at scrum-half and he controlled well while the older heads in the team, Lee Barlow and Man Of The Match Neil Alcorn, showed great leadership to this inexperienced team."

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