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Hinch given fighting chance

By Michael Sadlier

With just one more weekend of games to go before the play-offs kick-in, there was some solace to be had for Ballynahinch as Division 1A's bottom side managed to pull off a surprise 15-10 result at title-chasing UCD.

However, for all Hinch's efforts in managing only a fourth win in 17 games, the reality is that they still look set to be departing the AIL's upper tier as they can now only survive taking the straight drop by trouncing Garryowen next time out while also needing Cork Constitution to rack up a big total over Galwegians.

It's a mere sliver of hope for Hinch and the issue for the Co Down side is the sizeable points differential which they need to overturn.

Derek Suffern's squad are five adrift of ninth-placed Galwegians and should they end up tied on 27 points, it will come down to this points differential which, as it stands, sees Hinch on -141 while the Connacht side are at -97. So, the chances of Hinch making ninth and a relegation play-off spot are remote, though, admittedly, Garryowen have nothing to play when they come to Ballymcarn Park on Saturday week while Cork Con are very much in the chase for a second-placed finish and a home play-off when they host Galwegians.

In 1B, Ballymena agonisingly suffered a 23-22 home defeat to relegation-battling Dolphin though no damage was actually done to the Braidmen's finishing position as they are now assured third place and face a semi-final play-off at Dublin University.

As for already relegated Quins, their penultimate game ended in a humiliating 34-0 thumping at UL Bohemians.

Belfast Telegraph


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