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Ballynainch complete dream week after sealing Kingspan glory

Ballynahinch 27 Dungannon 10

By Michael Sadlier

It was an historic night for Ballynahinch who won their first hat-trick of First Trust Senior Cup titles with a four-try 27-10 victory over Dungannon at the Kingspan Stadium.

The triumph was also notable for the Co Down club as they secured a double after their seconds lifted the Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup at the venue earlier this week.

It was certainly no classic as Hinch, who are two divisions above Gannon in the AIL, had too much guile and power for their opponents.

Gannon were also made to pay dearly for missing four out of five shots at goal in the first half and then the Tyrone team had two men binned in the second half, forcing them to play with 14 men for 20 costly minutes.

Callum Irvine, Andrew Harper, Christopher Orr and Stuart Morrow all scored tries for Hinch and the reward following their fourth successive final - their seventh overall and fourth trophy victory - is a place in next month's All-Ireland Batemen Cup semi-final.

Hinch led 12-3 at half-time after tries from Irvine and Harper at either end of a pretty dire opening 40 minutes which saw Gannon - who were last in the showpiece game in 2010-11 when they beat City of Derry - miss far too many kicks at goal when going for the corner might have been more fruitful.

It took 12 minutes for Hinch to get the scoreboard moving and it came very much against the run of play after Gannon had set their stall out at the scrums and early lineouts.

Flanker Connor Philips cleaned up some scrappy ball at a lineout and his burst took him deep into the Gannon 22 where he supplied the charging Irvine, who crashed over.

Chris Quinn missed the conversion and then Gannon missed their first chance for points when full-back Jake Finlay was wide with a long-range shot at goal after some crossing in Hinch's midfield. Paul Armstrong was then wide with another penalty shot for Gannon on 19 minutes but the centre made no mistake three minutes later after a great surge from the forwards had seen Hinch stray offside near their own posts.

Armstrong was again off target on 31 minutes with another lengthy effort from the tee as the penalties piled up.

But Hinch then ended the half with what looked a crucial score when the Co Down side ran a kickable penalty and hooker Harper drove over the line and was given the touchdown despite Andrew Mills' tackle (below).

Quinn converted and Hinch now led 12-3. Gannon were then wide with their fourth penalty attempt and the opening half ended with Hinch leading by nine points.

They stretched their lead eight minutes after the restart when, with Gannon's Mark Riddell binned, winger Orr was given a score in the left corner which Quinn was unable to convert.

Then, with Glen Sinnamon shown yellow just as Riddell returned, Quinn landed his first penalty to stretch it to 20-3 for Hinch.

That became 25-3 five minutes after the hour when the strong-running Morrow crashed through at the posts with Quinn's conversion making it 27-3.

With the game long gone, it was to Gannon's credit that they got a consolation score from skipper James McMahon which was converted by Armstrong.

Ballynahinch: J Rea, C Quinn, S Morrow, D Nicholson, C Orr, J McBriar, C Gibson; J Blair, A Harper, S Orr, M Graham (capt), J Simpson, C Irvine, C Philips, G Gill. Subs: J Roe, S Evans, W Stewart, K Morton, C Stevenson

Dungannon:.J Finlay, M Montgomery, P Armstrong, A Mills, P Cashel, J Buckley, J Ravey; S Sinnamon, K Egan, G Sinnamon, P Doran, R McCaughey, S Todd, D Leyburn, J McMahon (capt). Subs: R Bennett, D Maxwell, M Riddell, J Kennedy, G Treanor

Referee: D Patton

Man of the match: James Simpson

Belfast Telegraph


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