Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby Club Rugby

Ballynahinch are talk of the Town after beating Clogher Valley

Ballynahinch II 17-13 Clogher Valley

By Jonathan Bradley

Ballynahinch II claimed the club's first Powerade Towns Cup title after a 17-13 win over Clogher Valley at the Kingspan Stadium yesterday.

Hinch led for long periods but had to overcome two second-half yellow cards and defend with real determination throughout to deny the Fermangh side what would have been their fourth victory in the last five seasons.

Victorious captain James McBriar - who contributed 12 of his side's tally with a try, two conversions and a drop goal - was elated and said: "It's been a long time coming and to get the monkey off the back like that is some feeling.

"We've had a few tries and been knocked back but thankfully it all clicked for 80 minutes there and worked out.

"We had a lot of talk about them the last few weeks, saying the big men you just have to chop them down at source and try to play a bit wider."

His drop goal provided the final points of the contest and he admitted it was his most important kick.

Hinch made much of the early ground an took the lead after just eight minutes.

A rolling maul was halted just short but an inside pass from Harris released the onrushing Chris Orr to crash over the line. McBriar converted with ease from a central position but openings would prove harder to come by for the remainder of a disjointed first half-hour.

While Clogher gradually became more assured in their possessions, their cause was not helped by losing both prop Rodney Bennett and flanker Allister Trenier to injury inside the first quarter.

Two quickfire scores however saw them lead on the cusp of half-time before Hinch struck back with the last play of the half.

First Holme extracted every inch out of a penalty to touch to set up a score that saw Clogher's forwards drive towards the line and substitute back-rower Ryan Wilson barged his way through.

Holme then created and scored the second after he made an impressive break and kicked upfield for Clive Donaldson to gather.

Although the wing just didn't have enough pace to finish the move himself, the ball was recycled and Phillip Falconer and Michael Treanor combined to release the out-half to dart over from close range.

A change of kicker, from Holme to Paul Armstrong, didn't change Clogher's fortunes off the tee and the conversion was again missed.

They would quickly lose their only lead of the game though as a bouncing ball sparked confusion in the backline and McBriar reacted the quickest to scoot home underneath the posts and the conversion moved the score to 14-10.

With a warning already issued over Hinch's conduct at the breakdown, a penalty on the deck brought a yellow card for full back Michael Carson on the 50 minute mark and Holme's subsequent kick brought his side within a point.

With a man advantage, they would have been confident of controlling proceedings but a knock-on with a three on one overlap squandered their best chance and it took a try-saving tackle from Donaldson to stop Aaron Ferris from extending Hinch's lead.

Shortly after Carson's return, Hinch were again a man down when John Gunson was binned for not retreating 10 after a quickly taken penalty by Paul Armstrong.

Again though the Hinch response was strong and a drop goal attempt from McBriar brought another three points.

A catch and drive from Clogher brought their only real chance of a further score but, after they were whistled for being off their feet, they would not approach their opponent's 22 again.

Attempts to advance the ball in the closing moments were continually rebuffed and when Harris forced the turnover Hinch were able to kick the ball dead and secure victory.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph