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Banbridge climb off bottom spot as provincial sides wave the flag


Adam Doherty
Adam Doherty

By Michael Sadlier

It was a weekend of achievement for Ulster's three clubs in 1B as each of them managed to win their respective game which, in turn, moved them in a northerly direction in the table.

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While Malone made it back-to-back victories and City of Armagh got back on track, for Banbridge this was special as coach Mark McDowell's squad made it a first win after three reverses had left them bottom of the pile.

Beating Shannon 34-14 in their late kick-off clash at Rifle Park was just the pick-me-up Bann needed and the five points they collected moved them two places above the basement.

In truth, Bann were never really in much danger of slipping up and clearly the later start was to their liking as they had raced into a 24-0 half-time lead thanks to tries from Ulster squad members Greg Jones, Jonny Stewart and Callum Reid.

All three scores were converted by Adam Doherty, who had opened the scoring as well with an early penalty.

Though Shannon then got moving on the scoreboard, thanks to two converted tries, Jones then grabbed his second of the game five minutes after the hour which brought Bann their try bonus.

And with five minutes left on the clock, Andrew Morrison touched down for the fifth time for the home side. Though both second-half tries went unconverted, this was still a resounding victory for the Co Down club to now take forward.

Malone moved up one place to sixth following their 38-27 result at Naas which, as with Bann, also saw them run in five tries.

This was a much tighter affair though with the sides being level on two occasions during a first half which saw a collective 35 points scored.

Andy Warwick, Mattie Dalton and Peter Cooper all got over in the opening 40 minutes, which saw Malone lead 20-15.

Lewis Finlay and Ben McCaughey then helped put the visitors 32-15 clear prior to a Naas fightback which cut this lead to just five points.

Two Jack Milligan penalties helped ease Malone's nerves as they returned home with five points.

Armagh rose from fifth to third after they prevailed 19-0 at now basement side Navan.

Four Cormac Fox penalties, two in either half, put Willie Faloon's squad 12-0 in front in a scrappy game before the Ulstermen were awarded a penalty try which ended the scoring.

Ballynahinch's woes continued in 1A as they were seen off 25-5 by Garryowen at Dooradoyle.

This was Hinch's fourth straight loss and keeps them firmly anchored to the foot of the table. Their only score was a consolation try from Ryan Wilson.

1A: Garryowen 25 Ballynahinch 5.

1B: Banbridge 34 Shannon 14, Naas 27 Malone 38, Navan 0 City of Armagh 19.

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