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Cup holders next for Ballynahinch

By Ciaran Donaghy

Ballynahinch's reward for progressing to the last 16 of the All Ireland Cup is a trip to defending champions Shannon.

Hinch, flying high at the top of Division Two, swept aside Carlow 33-10 at Ballymacarn Park and now travel to Limerick in the new year to face the nine-times All Ireland League champions.

Club spokesman John Dickson is looking forward to the first ever meeting of the clubs, especially if the game is played at the new Thomond Park.

“It will be a big test for us but you want to test yourself against the best and hopefully we can go down to Limerick with a full squad," he said.

"We’re into the last 16 and, as a Division Two club, that is what you want and hope to achieve but it would be nice to take it a step further.”

Hinch outscored Carlow by five tries to one but Dickson felt the winning margin should have been greater.

“It was a workmanlike performance. We scored three tries in the first half and should have scored more," he insisted.

"We took our foot off the gas and allowed them to score but we finished strongly in the last 10 minutes. The quality of the rugby we played was unbelievable."

A penalty try and touchdowns from Michael Graham and Adam Craig helped Hinch to a 21-3 half time lead. Scrum half Harry McAleese and Niall McBriar crossed in the second period.

Ards are the only other Ulster club to make it through to the last 16 and they have also drawn Division One Munster opposition, with a trip to Cork to face Malone’s conquerors, Dolphin.

Ards scraped home against Old Wesley 14-13 at Hamilton Park. An Alan McGrugan try and Stuart Paul’s drop goal meant the sides turned around level at 8-8 and two penalties in the last quarter from Ajay Derwin saw Ards home.

Dolphin dispatched Malone 64-0 at Musgrave Park with Paul Hurley scoring a hat-trick of tries while James Coughlan got a brace as the Cork side ran in 10 tries.

Ballymena went out in extra time, 25-22 at Old Belvedere. The Braidmen conceded two tries in the opening four minutes but recovered with tries from Peter Budina and Ian Caldwell.

Nigel Hall’s try looked like putting Ballymena through but the Dubliners scored a late try to force extra time and Ruari Cushion’s penalty won it.

Elsewhere, Dungannon lost 18-10 at UL Bohs, UCC beat Portadown 37-0, Belfast Harlequins went down 18-15 at Young Munster and Rainey fell at home 41-10 to UCD.

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