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Hinch bag bonuses in losing Dublin thriller

All-Ireland League 1

By Michael Sadlier

On a weekend when Ballynahinch and Ballymena had to deal with losing a host of players involved in Ulster's A friendly with Leinster A, both clubs can feel reasonably content at how things went at the end of the first four-game segment.

Though Hinch failed to achieve their primary aim of a victory on Old Wesley's artificial surface - which later hosted the Ulster A game with Leinster A, comfortably won 51-10 by the home side - their weakened squad managed two bonus points from a wonderfully high scoring 35-32 defeat.

It turned out to be a nip and tuck game which hung in the balance until the last kick of what was a hugely entertaining clash.

And Hinch may have thought they had stolen it after Jordan Grattan's try - their bonus point fourth - put them in the lead at 32-29 for the first time in the match.

But Wesley struck back with two late penalties, and the Co. Down side had to be content with their two points which saw them slip two places from third to fifth.

Hinch's other tries came via a brace from James McBriar and one from Andrew Harper with McBriar kicking two conversions and Stephen Macauley managing one conversion and two penalties.

Ballymena came back from trailing Dolphin 9-0 at half-time to triumph 24-16 at Eaton Park and, in doing so, moved up a place into third to ease any fears that a second straight reverse was on the cards.

The Braidmen struck back in the second half with two tries from James Beattie, both of which were converted by Glenn Bailie, which put them 14-9 ahead, only for the Cork side to strike back again and take a 16-14 lead.

It needed something special from the home side and they got it with Rodger McBurney's superb solo effort which saw him score near the posts late on.

Bailie's conversion, and another penalty in injury time, secured the four points.

Div 1B: Galwegians 23 UL Bohs 27, Ballymena 24 Dolphin 16, Buccs 49 UCC 36, Old Wesley 35 Ballyhinch 32, Shannon 10 Naas 14

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