12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
GALWEGIANS 15 BALLYNAHINCH 12, Crowley Park
Scorers: Galwegians: Tries: Tiernan O'Halloran, Penalty try; Con: Dave Clarke; Pen: Dave Clarke
Ballynahinch: Pens: Ryan Bambry 2; Drops: Ryan Bambry 2
Galwegians narrowed the gap on third-placed UCC to just a point as they got the better of second-from-bottom Ballynahinch, whose only points came from the boot of out-half Ryan Bambry.
The hosts did all of their scoring in the first half and led 15-6 at the break, but could not push through the gears in the second period as 'Hinch tenaciously fought back to claim a losing bonus point.
Bambry and 'Wegians centre Dave Clarke swapped early penalties before young winger Tiernan O'Halloran followed up on a well-placed grubber kick from scrum half Kieran Campbell to score in the corner.
'Wegians were awarded a penalty try by referee Eanna O'Dowd on the half hour mark after they had turned the screw in a scrum, forcing the County Down side back towards their line. Clarke added the conversion for a 12-point lead.
New Zealander Bambry, who had missed two first half penalties, made sure 'Hinch replied before half-time. He followed up on some good work by forwards Stuart Lamb and Michael Graham to land a well-taken drop goal.
The second half was a tryless affair and the pressure was increased on 'Wegians when Bambry fired over two penalties after 49 and 57 minutes.
But Kevin Tierney's men kept a tight hold of their lead right to the final whistle, with the Connacht-capped trio of Liam Bibo, Campbell and Dermot Murphy having pivotal roles.