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Ballynahinch strike a blow in race for league crown

By Staff Reporter

Ballynahinch III took a big step towards winning the Junior 1 title when they travelled to Coleraine II and won 14-0 to record their eighth successive victory.

The home team were in third place going into the encounter between two highly competitive sides that usually fight it out at the top of Junior 1.

Hinch's Jordan Graham suffered an ankle injury early on so their back line was re-jigged.

The multi-skilled Johnny Murdoch moved into the centre to partner Paddy Wright who showed his potential throughout with some booming clearances. Thanks to skipper Mark McCormick and Ryan Smith, Hinch's counter-attacks had real pace.

Coming up to the interval, Hinch took the lead when Conor Philips cut through in his own half. The move was continued by out-half Johnny Coen and Gareth Gill before the former touched down and added the points.

Later, the visitors kicked to the corner following a Coleraine infringement which almost led to a try but the ball was re-cycled quickly and Wright found Murdoch, who ran in for Coen to convert.

Captain McCormick commented: "This was as close as we have been pushed this season and fortunately we were able to keep Coleraine off the scoresheet.

"Our tired and sore bodies were a testament to the nature of the game."

Meanwhile, Malone III jumped over Bangor II and Omagh III with a 34-0 success against the latter to jointly lead Junior 2.

After eight minutes, Kenny Calladine scored before the ball was popped to Tim Knox to power over. Thomas Murray finished a two-on-one with Peter Tees before Calladine scored again for Tees to convert to give them a 22-0 interval advantage.

Omagh suffered a number of injuries so their game became disjointed although they did start the second period strongly.

However, Malone's Knox crossed for his second try and Simon Miller added the sixth, which Tees goaled.

Malone coach David Heron thought his team's overall performance was not all that good.

"If only we could keep it together for the full 80 minutes," he stated.

"Euan Carson and Chris Halliday have just moved up from the youth system and their efforts were commendable as were the more mature players, Richard Bartley, Martin Griffith and Patrick Baird."

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