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Inspired O'Hagan gets Hinch off mark

 

Top scorer: Sean O’Hagan
Top scorer: Sean O’Hagan

By Michael Sadlier

How Ballynahinch needed this result not only to register a first win after five games but also to restore some belief that they have a fighting chance of staying afloat in 1A.

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In appalling conditions at Ballymacarn Park, they took fellow strugglers Lansdowne apart, scoring seven tries on the way to hammering their opponents 43-5 for a five-point haul.

Though Aaron Cairns stole the show with his hat-trick of tries, as Hinch moved up one place from being bottom of the heap, it was Sean O'Hagan who was their top scorer as he ended up with 18 of the final total.

The home side's out-half not only kicked four conversions but also claimed a brace of tries in this hugely uplifting result for Brian McLaughlin's squad.

It was pretty much one-way traffic on the scoreboard as Marcus Rea, Cairns, for his first of the day, and Jack Regan ensured that Hinch led 19-5 after the opening half.

After that, Cairns crossed again for the bonus point and then claimed his hat-trick before O'Hagan finished things off with his brace.

Hinch's efforts now see them just one point behind Lansdowne and also a solitary point in front of new bottom team Young Munster.

Division 1B was more of a mixed bag for Ulster's three clubs with only Banbridge enjoying a winning weekend.

Their second successive victory saw Mark McDowell's squad move up one place in the table to seventh after yet another game that was played in challenging conditions.

Bann got the better of Naas by 13-3 on what was also their second straight game at Rifle Park.

An early try from flanker Ryan Hughes helped get Bann under way and the conversion kicked by Adam Doherty saw them 7-0 ahead.

Leading 7-3 when the sides changed ends, Doherty kicked a penalty on the hour mark and then with six minutes remaining he did the same again to deny Naas a losing bonus point.

City of Armagh came unstuck at Shannon and probably took the brunt of the Munster side's heavy defeat at Banbridge the week before.

Willie Faloon's side slipped two places to fifth after their second loss in five games.

It had started well enough for Armagh when winger Shea O'Brien's try was converted by Cormac Fox.

But then the Palace Grounds side managed to concede 19 unanswered points before making any further progress on the scoreboard.

Flanker and skipper Robert Whitten managed to get a score back, which was again converted by Fox, but Shannon then racked up another converted try to claim the game and a winning bonus point.

Malone stayed in sixth after losing 13-8 in dreadful conditions at Gibson Park.

Out-half Jack Milligan scored all their points from a try and penalty which resulted in a losing point for Malone.

1A: Ballynahinch 43 Lansdowne 5.

1B: Banbridge 13 Naas 3, Shannon 26 Armagh 14, Malone 8 St Mary's College 13.

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