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Hinch hoping for better luck in cup clash with Lisburn

 

By Ronnie Ingram

Three days after losing the Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup final to Dromore, Ballynahinch II are back in action against Lisburn in the first round of the River Rock Towns Cup today.

Hinch, who have won the trophy twice in the past four seasons, make four changes after their exhausting efforts on Wednesday evening.

The firsts are involved in a Senior Cup semi-final at Ballymena so the seconds have forfeited the services of scrum-half Lewis Finlay, centre Paddy Wright and hooker Clayton Milligan, while Ben McMullan is back home and will play at scrum-half.

Ronan Patterson was on the bench on Wednesday and came on to score and will play in place of the injured Aaron Ferris.

The winger, whose absence is a big loss, played the full 80 minutes of the final and scored the second try but a foot injury rules him out. The other centre has to be finalised but there is also a change up front where Graham McKittrick is likely to come in for Milligan.

Lisburn are having a mediocre season with only one win from nine fixtures in Kukri 2 and that was against bottom of the table UUC, 23-0. They are perfectly capable of pulling off a surprise as they showed by defeating Armagh II 33-28 before going on to give Malone II a close call 19-14 in the Junior Cup quarter-final at Gibson Park.

Hinch Director of Rugby Harry McAleese feels that with their changes his team will need to be at their best.

"Having failed to retain the Junior Cup, all our efforts will be concentrated in this competition so we need to pick ourselves up again for the difficult visit to Lisburn," he said.

Clogher Valley have won the trophy three times and were defeated finalists twice in the past nine years, and will be hoping to regain some of the momentum that has been missing.

Now playing in Kukri 2, they travel to Ballymoney and start as favourites following their victory at The Cran a month ago.

Draw: Rainey II v Armagh II, Banbridge II v Lurgan, Dungannon II v Bangor II, Omagh II v Limavady, Ballymoney v Clogher Valley, City of Derry v Ballymena II, Randalstown v Ards, Lisburn v Ballynahinch II

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