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AIB League: Division Three Round-Up

AIB League: Division Three Round-Up

Wanderers closed the gap on Ballynahinch at the top of the Division Three table to a single point as they comprehensively beat the County Down side 42-13 on the back pitch at Lansdowne Road.

‘Hinch lost for the first time in five league games as Andrew Spraggon’s Dubliners, watched by a large crowd, turned in a display full of power and pace at headquarters.

Wanderers set sail for their ninth straight league win in the fifth-minute when full-back Damien Hunt managed to cross in the right corner after an electrifying back line move.

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Player-coach Dan Soper replied with a brace of penalties for ‘Hinch, sandwiching a Billy Tracey effort, as Wanderers led 8-6.

Decisively, the hosts struck for two converted tries in the ten minutes leading up to half-time – a concerted spell of pressure led to lock Victor Ball charging over for the first in the 38th-minute. Then in injury-time, Wanderers centre Jimmy Ferris flew through a big hole in the visitors’ defence to notch his side’s third try, with Tracey converting both tries.

Tracey added a penalty, four minutes into the second half, for a 25-6 lead and a shock looked on the cards as ‘Hinch, with ten wins in their previous eleven games, were decidedly below par.

Soper did rally his side with a snappy try, running past two challengers and going in under the posts, but Wanderers ended the second half just as they did in the opening forty – scoring two converted tries.

Tracey’s third penalty of the afternoon was followed by tries from flanker Kolo Kiripati and centre Ronan Likely as Wanderers eased to a memorable victory.

Elsewhere, Old Wesley moved up to fourth in the standings as they beat hosts Bruff 13-10 at Kilballyowen Park.

Brian Cahill opened the scoring for Bruff with a 20th-minute penalty, David Smith replied with a place-kick of his own for Wesley, who lost prop Andrew Scully to the sin-bin for a scrum infringement just before the break.

Scully was dismissed, rather harshly, for his second yellow card as the sides were still level heading towards the final quarter. 14-man Wesley struck for a try as their pack rumbled forward, retaining possession well, before scrum half Paul Campbell managed to cross the whitewash.

Smith converted but an excellent back line move, with Bruff spreading the ball wide with increased intent, saw experienced winger Finbarr Hogan touch down. Cahill’s conversion saw the sides tied at 10-10.

Drama followed as Bruff missed a drop goal shot and following a break by centre Alan Thompson at the other end, the ball was popped back for out-half Smith to dink over the match-winning drop goal for Wesley.

Tries from Arthur Ray Murphy and Dave Murphy helped Corinthians end their two-game losing streak with a 16-11 success against Queen’s.

Rainey Old Boys had too much in reserver for Connemara as they beat the men from the west 37-3 – James McBride, Neil O’Kane, Andy Kerr, John Andrews, Damien Campbell and Neil Seffin shared out the Magherafelt side’s tries.

Nopera Stewart (2) and Jordan Millar shared out Ards’ tries as they beat their Ulster rivals Instonians 25-19 to move up to ninth in the table.

Meanwhile, there were away wins for Waterpark (18-10 at Portadown), Sunday’s Well (21-10 at City of Derry) and Nenagh Ormond (20-13 at Banbridge) in the weekend’s other games.

WEEKEND RESULTS:

Banbridge 13 Nenagh Ormond 20, Rifle Park
Bruff 10 Old Wesley 13, Kilballyowen Park
City of Derry 10 Sunday’s Well 21, Judge’s Road
Connemara 3 Rainey Old Boys 37, Monastery Field
Corinthians 16 Queen’s University 11, Corinthian Park
Instonians 19 Ards 25, Shaw’s Bridge
Portadown 10 Waterpark 18, Chambers Park
Wanderers 42 Ballynahinch 13, Lansdowne Road