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Banbridge RFC show their class with message to rivals Ballynahinch

Ballynahinch (green) and Banbridge (navy) in action (Freddie Parkinson/PressEye)
Ballynahinch (green) and Banbridge (navy) in action (Freddie Parkinson/PressEye)
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

It was a gruelling season in Division 1B of rugby's All-Ireland League, and the final standings proved how evenly matched all the sides were.

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From first to eighth, only 15 points separated the sides across an 18-game season, with the races for all three of the title, the promotion play-off spots and to avoid the relegation places going right down to the wire.

At the end of it all, it was County Down side Ballynahinch RFC who finished top of the pile, winning the title by just three points and earning promotion to Division 1A, the highest level of club rugby in Ireland.

When they kick off their campaign next season, it will be the first time that an Ulster side has featured in the top division since 2016 (again, that side were Ballynahinch).

After such a brutal campaign, especially one so tightly contested, you would imagine most sides would be rather jealous of Ballynahinch for being the ones to progress to Division 1A.

But Down neighbours Banbridge showed their class as a club to congratulate their rivals on their achievement, with Honorary Secretary Marc Eadie sending a letter to Hinch congratulating them on their success, not just in gaining promotion but also in their 4th XV winning the Crawford Cup too.

The letter, which you can read below in full, was sent on behalf of the entire club and is an incredibly classy and thoughtful gesture.

Banbridge were unlucky in finishing fifth, one place outside the 1A play-offs, however hopefully it won't be long before they and several other Ulster clubs join Ballynahinch in the top tier of club rugby.

Malone will get a chance when they feature in the play-offs, travelling to ninth-placed 1A side U.C.C. in the semi-finals, while clubs such as Banbridge and City of Armagh will have to wait until next year for their shot to make it.

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