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Ballynahinch poised to clinch title glory

By Ciaran Donaghy

Ballynahinch are one win away from clinching the First Trust Senior League.

The Ballymacarn Park side lead the table by three points going into the final round of matches after an impressive 68-7 bonus point win over Portadown on Tuesday.

Hinch will wrap up their first ever title if they beat Queen’s at home.

Club spokesman John Dickson is taking nothing for granted after the students saw of title challengers Ballymena last weekend and have won their last three encounters with Hinch.

“It’s in our hands and hopefully we have enough strength in depth, both clubs are missing players to Ulster A and Ireland U20’s,” stated Dickson.

“To win the senior league would be a landmark in the club’s history and it is something we have aspired to. We’ve only been a senior club for 15 years and it would be a remarkable achievement.” said Dickson.

Hooker David McGregor and prop Paddy McAllister are on Irish U20 duty while lock Chris Napier, flanker Willie Faloon and scrum half David Drake are with Ulster A. Centre Mark Scott has returned from injury and out half Ryan Bambury is available.

In the pack Chris Stevenson and Gerry Cronin start.

Queen’s are also affected by representative call ups with centre Johnny Shiels, prop Paul Karayiannis and lock James Sanford are missing. Ian Porter and Michael Pyper form the half back partnership with David McIlwane starting at full back. Andy Winder replaces Shiels in the centre.

Alex Houston is switched from the front row to the second and partners Andrew Linton with Gareth McGaw returns to the squad.

If Hinch fail Dungannon are poised to snatch the title.

Gannon are second and host Instonians at Stevenson Park but are missing their Ulster A players.

Inst coach Clem Boyd rotates his squad with Owen McMurray starting at full back, Rory Drysdale in the centre and Gareth McClintock on the wing.

Jonathan Key, Johnny Morgan and Allan Whitten form the front row, Brain Wallace partners Mark Wilson in the second row, with Stephen Corr Scott Uren and Adam Telford in the back row.

Ballymena must beat Rainey at Eaton Park with a bonus point and hope the top two collect nothing if they are to get a share of the title.

Belfast Telegraph


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