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Favourites Ballynahinch are humbled by Omagh display

Omagh II 52-14 Ballynahinch

By Ronnie Ingram

Twenty-four points in the final quarter highlighted Omagh’s superiority over favourites Ballynahinch in the Crawford Cup final at the Kingspan Stadium yesterday afternoon.

The convincing nature of the win was unexpected as Hinch had been unbeaten all season and had already defeated their opponents twice in Junior One.

It was a magnificent team effort with all the hard work over the past year by their coach and manager Jamie Kane paying dividends.

Omagh, defeated in the Harden Cup final last season, were determined to return to Kingspan as winners, but it was Hinch who looked the stronger team at the start.

Their early pressure led to a Robert Irvine penalty, but this only stimulated the Tyrone team into action as they forged ahead to an 18-6 interval advantage.

The trend started when centre Lloyd Kane charged down a clearance kick to touch down before penalties were exchanged.

Then a brilliant passing movement which involved Kane, Neil Maclaine and Matthew Eccles resulted in Neil Mellon crashing over.

Omagh were dictating play at this stage and were rewarded when big second row Jamie Sproule crossed for the third.

The Tyrone team were growing in confidence as they contemplated winning the trophy for the first time since 1997 and after a few minutes of the second period they went further in front when Kane intercepted and dashed in under the posts for full-back Mellon to goal.

Hinch fought back with a solo effort try from full-back Jonathan Murdoch and that was followed by a penalty to each side to make it 28-14.

It was all Omagh towards the close as they added four more tries. Kane put Mellon in before replacement Richard Elkin finished off a piercing back move.

An Eccles’ grubber kick was picked up for Stephen Maclaine to go under the posts and then the former picked up and ran in from his own territory. Mellon converted the final two to bring his points tally to 22.

Belfast Telegraph


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