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Nervy finish sees Bann just hang on against Dublin rivals

 

By Michael Sadlier

The basic requirement was achieved as Banbridge were able to bank four points in beating Old Belvedere, in their All Ireland Division 1B clash, but the hosts just shaded it by 15-14.

All rather too close for comfort for Bann coach Dan Soper, especially as the Dublin side came back into the game on two occasions at Rifle Park. The result, though, keeps Soper's squad ticking along in third but there will be plenty to reflect on before the trip to Old Wesley a week on Saturday.

Bann had started well enough with a penalty from Ian Porter and an unconverted try through flanker Richie Graham try putting the home side 8-0 up.

But the visitors came back with a converted try before the turnaround which saw Bann just hold on to their lead at 8-7.

Winger Conor Field was next to score and Porter's conversion put the home team 15-7 in front. But, again, Belvo struck back with another converted try late on which made for a nervy finish.

In 2A, there was no solace for Armagh as their 29-17 home defeat to Highfield meant that Willie Faloon's squad fell to their fourth successive defeat and drop a place to sixth.

Rainey Old Boys hammered City of Derry 40-5 in their Division 2B Ulster derby and the Magherafelt side remain second in the table.

Dungannon managed to move up one spot to seventh as a result of their crushing 41-8 derby victory at Belfast Harlequins who remain winless and rooted to the bottom.

In 2C, Omagh and Bangor played out a 6-6 draw at the Thomas Mellon Playing Fields with Eoin Murnaghan kicking two penalties for the home team and Nathan Graham doing likewise for the seasiders.

Meanwhile, for the first time in nine seasons, Ulster will have no representation in the semi-finals of the Irish Junior Cup following Instonians' narrow 6-3 defeat at Ballina and Enniskillen's 28-13 loss to Newcastle West.

Div 1B: Naas 21 Shannon 18, Banbridge 15 Old Belvo 14, Bohs 7 Old Wesley 13, Div 2A: Armagh 17 Highfield 29, Div 2B: Quins 8 Gannon 41, Wanderers 27 Barnhall 13, Derry 5 Rainey 40, Div 2C: Midleton 21 Malahide 17, Omagh 6 Bangor 6, Sligo 40 Tullamore 22

Irish Junior Cup: Ballina 6 Instonians 3, Enniskillen 13 Newcastle West 28, Ashbourne (holders) 22 Clonmel 13, Connemara 10 Kilfeacle 12.

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