Towns Cup: Clogher bounce back to win final
Clogher Valley made up for last year’s heartache in the Towns Cup by lifting the trophy with a comprehensive victory over Ballynahinch IIs in the Ravenhill final.
The Fivemiletown men lost by a point last year to Ballymoney but made no mistake in the sunshine by outscoring Hinch by four tries to one and coach Davy Black was delighted with the performance.
“We knew Ballynahinch had fast backs and that we would have to keep the ball away from them — and use the ball sensibly ourselves,” said Black.
“I knew we had the guys and if they put in the work they would be good enough. That is the kind of consistency we will be looking for going into next season.
“This team is as good as any that I have played in or been about and if we can keep players injury-free we are a very good side.
“We always knew we could score tries but it was our defence that won us the game — if your defence is good then the tries will come.
“I knew we had a very good pack and if they turned up they would give Hinch a game.”
Clogher should have opened the scoring with the first move of the match when out half Aaron Best charged through and fed prop Philip Moore but he couldn’t get over and Best was held up as he took the return pass.
It was Hinch who took the lead on nine minutes with a try from full back Johnny Cullen.
They moved a scrum from left to right and winger Niall McBriar scythed through the Clogher defence before putting Cullen clear to go in under the posts and James McBriar converted.
Best got Clogher’s first try on 30 minutes when they moved a scrum wide and he had the pace to go over but he struck the post with the conversion attempt.
Clogher took the lead with a try straight from the restart.
Best broke through, offloaded to scrum half James Bates who gave the scoring pass to full back Alister Breen in the right wing position and he ran and went in under the posts leaving the out half with an easy conversion.
Hinch had flanker Gavin Armstrong sin binned for a deliberate pull back and Clogher made their numerical advantage count when lock Matty Robinson charged through a ruck to score under the posts and Best’s conversion gave the Co Fermanagh side a 19-7 lead at the interval.
Clogher extended their advantage on 50 minutes with a long range penalty from Best.
Bates got Clogher’s third try on 61 minutes when he broke from the base of a scrum and had enough power to squeeze over from close range and Best added the conversion.
Hinch then tried to run the ball from deep but spilled it and Best pounced and had an easy run in for his second try but couldn’t add the conversion.
Clogher Valley: Alister Breen, Andrew Breen, D Speer, PC Falconer, J McClure, A Best, J Bates, P Moore, R Guildford, R Bennett, M Robinson, I Dunn, BJ Wilson, D Sharkey, R Wilson.
Ballynahinch II: J Cullen, A Bratton, R Harte, J Coen, N McBriar, J McBriar, M Glenn C Spence, A Harper, F Lynch, J Madden, R McKinnon, B Manus, G Armstrong, G Morton.
Referee: Mark Patton.