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Bann into top three after sealing hat-trick of wins

All Ireland League

Convincing win: Stuart Cromie contributed to a late flurry of Banbridge tries
Convincing win: Stuart Cromie contributed to a late flurry of Banbridge tries

By Michael Sadlier

The first of the back-to-back games, which will be completed in January, threw up an arguably unexpected outcome courtesy of Banbridge's eye-catching demolition job on City of Armagh.

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The 43-18 result allowed coach Mark McDowell's squad to rack up a third straight victory and the five points promoted them to third in the table.

The hosts scored five of their six tries in a second half which Bann owned on the scoreboard when they put together a 33-point haul which brought no response from Armagh.

Admittedly, three of these tries came in the last 10 minutes from an encounter which Armagh were still very much part of after leading 18-10 at half-time.

Andrew Willis and Shea O'Brien tries, along with two penalties and a conversion from Cormac Fox had allowed the visitors accumulate 18 points against an Andrew Morrison touchdown and conversion and penalty via Adam Doherty.

But when Doherty scored just after half-time - he ended the day with 18 points - the momentum stayed with Bann.

After that, John Porter crossed the Armagh line on the hour to give Bann a lead they would never relinquish.

Doherty converted Porter's effort and did so in the spell of scoring from the last 10 minutes from the Cromies.

First over was Stuart Cromie, which brought up the fourth and bonus point score and then it was Michael followed by Peter who touched the ball down for his try in the last minute.

It leaves Armagh down in eighth place having managed to win only once in their last five outings.

At Gibson Park, Malone ended 2019 in the AIL with a hard-fought 17-5 result over Old Wesley who had not lost prior to last Saturday.

Even though they lost three men to yellow cards, one of whom was Ulster's Angus Kernohan, Malone claimed the four points which took them up to fifth before next month's return fixture.

A brace of tries fell to Callum Smith with the centre working his way over the Wesely line either side of the interval.

Jack Milligan's conversion of Smith's second effort put Malone 17-0 in front and all the visitors could muster was one unconverted try.

Ballynahinch's woes continued in 1A as they were on the wrong end of the 47-21 scoreline at Clontarf and they remain bottom.

Ollie Loughead and Sean O'Hagan scored tries which kept them in the game before the hosts battled clear, Ross Adair managing a late try for Hinch.

1A: Clontarf 47 Ballynahinch 21, Terenure College 34 Dublin Univ. 20, UCC 14 Lansdowne 15, UCD 25 Garryowen 24, Young Munster 15 Cork Constitution 16

1B: Banbridge 43 City of Armagh 18, Malone 17 Old Wesley 5, Naas 12 Navan 15, Highfield 19 Shannon 10, St Mary's College 14 Old Belvedere 13.

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