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AIB League: Division Three Round-Up

AIB League: Division Three Round-Up

Galway side Corinthians proved no match for Division Three leaders Ballynahinch on Saturday, as the Dan Soper and Derek Suffern-coached side ran out convincing 28-3 winners at Ballymacarn Park.

Incessant rain, the night before, had threatened to make ‘Hinch’s home pitch unplayable but referee Alan Baird gave the go-ahead and the table-toppers tore into the opposition right from the off.

Five minutes in and a crowd that included Ulster Rugby CEO Michael Reid and former ‘Hinch scrum half Paul Marshall, who is now making waves with Ulster, were clapping the first try for the hosts.

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Former Queen’s winger Aaron Ferris went on the burst and the ball was shipped back for number 8 Johnny Graham to crash over. Soper, the player-coach, converted.

Graham turned provider for ‘Hinch’s second try, controlling a lineout drive and teeing up flanker Jon Paine for a smart 15th-minute score which went unconverted.

Corinthians scrapped well in the closing minutes of the first half, and a 33rd-minute penalty from South African centre Wayne Williams, who used to play for ‘Hinch, cut the gap to 12-3 for half-time.

A scrappy second half ensued with Soper landed three penalties in a 20-minute spell to nose his side into an 21-3 lead.

With the wind and a vocal home support behind them, ‘Hinch pressed and deservedly go in for their third try when they were awarded a penalty try, in the 75th-minute, after the Corinthians pack had come under a sustained bout of pressure on their try line.

Soper converted and while the County Down outfit missed out on a bonus point try, they still had a tenth win in eleven league games to celebrate.

Elsewhere, Ards ended a run of two draws and two losses in stunning fashion at Hamilton Park, amassing eight tries in a 46-7 thumping of Connemara.

Jordan Millar, Ards’ 19-year-old winger, grabbed an incredible haul of five tries against the men from the west.

At New Ormond Park, tries from Alan Guiry, John Keehan and John Lillis saw Nenagh play some of their best rugby of the season in a 25-16 win over Instonians.

In a low-scoring game at Donnybrook, Old Wesley maintained their promotion push in fifth place with a 7-3 defeat of Sunday’s Well.

Horace Kenworthy kicked the visitors into a 26th-minute lead, after Wesley scrum half Gareth McCoy had been sin-binned for killing the ball.

But that proved to be their only score as, five minutes into the second half, the Dubliners struck for the decisive score – centre Alan Thompson darted onto a flat pass and sprint clear of the cover to go in under the posts, allowing out-half David Smith to convert with ease.

‘Well came back with a ferocious effort from their pack, but the hosts’ try line stayed intact and the couple of penalty chances that did come the way of Ken O’Connell’s side were kicked wide.

At Hatrick Park, Rainey Old Boys lost for the second time in three league games as they went down 16-5 to Bruff. Brian Cahill’s eight-point kicking haul steered the Limerick outfit to victory.

There were also home wins at the weekend for Wanderers and Waterpark – Wanderers warmed up nicely for their top-of-the-table clash with Ballynahinch by beating City of Derry 36-14 at home.

Andrew Spraggon’s charges, at full strength, got off to the best possible start on the back pitch at Lansdowne Road with lock Paul Ryan going over for an eleventh-minute try.

Further tries for prop Garrett Fitzgerald, who was scoring his second in two games, Ryan and winger Mark Culhane meant Wanderers had their bonus point chalked up just before the interval.

Derry tried manfully to mount a comeback with star half-back Amos Aoisa going over for a try in each half, but Wanderers made certain of the win with man of the match Ryan notching his hat-trick score and replacement flanker Greg Thompson also dotting down.

Two penalties from out-half Gary Jones saw struggling Waterpark come from behind to beat Banbridge 16-14 at Ballinakill.

WEEKEND RESULTS:

Ards 46 Connemara 7, Hamilton Park
Ballynahinch 28 Corinthians 3, Ballymacarn Park
Nenagh Ormond 25 Instonians 16, New Ormond Park
Old Wesley 7 Sunday’s Well 3, Donnybrook
Queens University 25 Portadown 12, Dub Lane
Rainey Old Boys 5 Bruff 16, Hatrick Park
Wanderers 36 City of Derry 14, Lansdowne Road
Waterpark 16 Banbridge 14, Ballinakill