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McPhillips strikes to bring Hinch win from lengthy road trip


By Michael Sadlier

Only Ballynahinch managed to glean a positive outcome from the weekend's games in Division 1B when they came away from UCC after finishing 22-18 ahead.

Four very valuable points were bagged by Brian McLaughlin's squad who stayed in second after Johnny McPhillips's penalty put the Co Down side four points in front early in the second half and they stayed in the lead until the final whistle with no further activity needed for the scoreboard from either side.

The victory brought Hinch a third AIL win on the bounce and undoubtedly helped the visitors get over the disappointment of the previous weekend's Ulster Senior Cup semi-final exit at Ballymena.

Hinch went 12-6 up at the Mardyke in the wake of a penalty try and conversion from McPhillips who then scored his own touchdown but was unable to add the two points.

The students then struck back with a converted try to put them a point in front but the Ulster side manufactured a third try from Ulster Academy centre Rory Butler which was created by a McPhillips chip through.

Yet again the home side found a way to come back and a try tucked them in behind Hinch who now led 19-18 at half-time.

As things then evolved it was over to McPhillips to bisect the posts soon after the turnaround and that was the end of the scoring which meant that Hinch were able to begin the long journey home with their sixth win from eight games.

Banbridge were in Dublin to play Old Wesley, and deal with their artificial surface at Donnybrook, but had to be content with a losing bonus point after falling to a one point defeat with the home side ultimately prevailing 21-20.

Caleb Montgomery's last minute try - Bann's third of the afternoon - closed Dan Soper's squad to within a point of their hosts but the conversion, which would have won the game, sailed wide of the uprights.

Bann had started the game well after tries from Conor Field and Andrew Morrison, along with an Ian Porter penalty and conversion, which put them 15-6 in front before losing their control on the scoreboard to Wesley who after this result are now in sixth.

The defeat also had repercussions for Bann as Soper's team have slipped from second to fourth with Old Belvedere pipping them to third due to a superior points differential.

Ballymena lost again - a sixth defeat in eight games - this time going down 27-15 at leaders Shannon which meant that coach Andy Graham's struggling squad dropped a place into ninth.

The Braidmen had trailed 8-0 at half-time at Thomond Park and then managed to haul themselves back from being 16 points adrift through tries from Connor Smyth and Joe Thompson.

Ulster squad member Brett Heron added five to Ballymena's final total, from a penalty and conversion, but Shannon stayed far enough in front and two late tries for the home side got them over the line with and brought a try bonus.

Div 1B: Old Belvedere 28 Naas 10, Old Wesley 21 Banbridge 20, Dolphin 6 UL Bohs 13, Shannon 27 Ballymena 15, UCC 18 Hinch 22

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