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Ballynahinch still fear rock bottom despite bonus

By Michael Sadlier

Not for the first time this season, all four Ulster clubs ended up on the losing side with Belfast Harlequins, Malone and Dungannon all getting nothing from their afternoon's work, while only Ballynahinch managed to secure a losing bonus point

Hinch's bid to survive in Division 1A was hardly given much sustenance as they lost 17-10 in what was pretty much a must-win encounter with St Mary's College at Ballymacarn Park.

With 11 points between the ninth-placed Co Down side and Dolphin in eighth, it looks increasingly likely that Derek Suffern's side will, at best, end up in a play-off to safeguard their future in the top flight.

But they have real concerns over finishing bottom of the heap and being automatically relegated especially with Garryowen still two points behind them after the Limerick side also ended up with a losing bonus at UCD.

Hinch led 10-7 at half-time after a try from Rodger McBurney, which was converted by Ritchie Lobb who had also managed an earlier penalty.

But the second half saw the Dublin side gradually exert greater control to come away with four very valuable points which could well be enough to keep them clear of any potential relegation issues.

In Division 1B, though, the situation is rather more critical for bottom side Dungannon who fell 31-5 at Corinthians and there was no comfort to be had from the sides Gannon need to overhaul with Blackrock College winning and Dublin University gleaning a losing bonus to create an eight points buffer.

Mark Faloon was Gannon's sole scorer as the Tyrone side fell to their 10th defeat in 12 games.

Elsewhere, it was hardly surprising that Malone lost 28-15 to leaders Terenure College, who have now won all 13 of their games, but Blackrock beating Belfast Harlequins and Trinity also getting a losing bonus did the seventh-placed Gibson Park side no favours as they now sit one point ahead of the two Dublin clubs.

Though it wasn't enough to bag them a losing bonus, Malone managed to battle back from trailing 28-3 with two second half tries from James McKinney and Jay Malcolm, with McKinney converting the latter to add to his earlier penalty.

Meanwhile, Belfast Harlequins – who happen to be Malone's next opponents on Saturday week – lost for a second successive time in Dublin as Blackrock prevailed 28-12.

Quins, who stay fifth in the table, trailed 25-7 at half-time crossed the Rock line twice with Michael Heaney and Kyle Adams getting their tries

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