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Ferris double sees Ballynahinch turn it on to retain Junior Cup

Ballynahinch 2nds 23-8 City of Armagh 2nds

By Michael Sadlier

The dank night couldn't dampen Ballynahinch 2nd XV's enthusiasm as they deservedly retained the Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup last night at Kingspan Stadium.

Two tries from winger Aaron Ferris, along with a touchdown from full-back James McBriar and two penalties and a conversion supplied by Justin Rea, meant the cup returned to Ballymacarn Park.

Hinch led 18-3 at the break - with Ferris and McBriar getting their scores in the opening 40 minutes - and their victory was built on their ability to rack up points when it mattered, as well as their accurate and totally committed defending.

Armagh struggled to deal with Hinch's defence, as witnessed by their only try from full-back Kyle Faloon which only arrived in the 58th minute after the Palace Grounds side had expended a huge amount of energy near the Hinch line.

As it turned out, Armagh's seconds fell well short of emulating their senior side who had won their first Senior Cup two nights previously.

Armagh out-half Harry Boyd opened his side's account with a well-struck fourth minute penalty but Hinch levelled the scores 10 minutes later through Rea.

Boyd then missed a penalty and Hinch responded with flanker Conor Philips' break out, leading to a long range penalty shot which Rea landed off the post to put the Co Down side into a 6-3 lead.

From there, though, they quickly pushed on with Paddy Wright's break helping put McBriar on his way in the 34th minute as he charged in at the left corner.

Rea added a superb touchline conversion and four minutes later the Ballymacarn Park side had a second touchdown when McBriar's break gave Ferris some space to work in.

The right winger smashed through two tackles to dot down in the right corner and, though Rea couldn't add the extras, Hinch were now 18-3 in front.

The final act of the half saw Rea miss with a tricky penalty.

Armagh revived in the second half and, after they had built huge pressure on Hinch having gone through multiple phases near their try line, Faloon scrambled over. It narrowed Hinch's lead to 10 points.

Hinch scored next, but only after Armagh gifted them the 63rd minute match-winning try when Boyd cross-kicked from his own line with the ball landing nicely for Ferris who bagged his second.

Rea couldn't convert but the contest was well and truly over.

Ballynahinch 2nds: J McBriar, A Ferris, D Harris, W Stewart, P Wright, J Rea, C Gibson; K Hamilton, C Piper, S Orr, A Simpson, M Connolly, B Howard, C Phillips, G Gill

Replacements: G McKittrick, B Cullen, K Morton, R Wilson, J Bingham

City of Armagh 2nds: K Faloon, P-G Alvarez, E Crummie, C Cousens, M Bogniti, H Boyd, D Spratt; J Fletcher, J Morton, E O'Hagan, S Morton (capt), W Martin, J Kennedy, G McNiece, B Finn

Replacements: A Morton, S Carlisle, J Hanna, R Karlsen, S McKeever

Referee: P Martin

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