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Dungannon Prevail In Ulster Derby

Dungannon Prevail In Ulster Derby

Dungannon’s 13-8 triumph over Ballynahinch in a well-contested Ulster derby at Stevenson Park on Saturday has moved them up to second place in AIB League Division 1B.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, October 24

DUNGANNON 13 BALLYNAHINCH 8, Stevenson Park

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Scorers: Dungannon: Tries: Craig Gilroy, John McGuckin; Pen: John McGuckin
Ballynahinch: Try: Nevin Spence; Pen: Ryan Bambry

Tries in each half from winger Craig Gilroy and full-back John McGuckin, both off well-placed grubber kicks, saw Dungannon claim their second league win.

The Tyrone side led 8-3 at the interval, thanks to Gilroy’s touchdown and a penalty from McGuckin.

Out-half James Shiells did all the hard work putting through a pinpoint grubber kick for winger Gilroy to run on to and claim the opening try on the quarter hour, with McGuckin missing the conversion.

‘Hinch had the wind but could only muster a fourth minute penalty from their Kiwi out-half Ryan Bambry.

Bambry was off target with a 20th minute penalty attempt, but McGuckin landed one of his two shots at the posts late in the first half.

His 38th minute success nudged ‘Gannon ahead and came just before Ballynahinch had their hooker Gavin Armstrong sin-binned for hands in the ruck. 

Both sides deserve credit for trying to cope with the heavy wind and rain and the visitors, who lost their grip on the AIB Cup last season, rose to the challenge.

After a thumping clearance from full-back Jonny Cullen, ‘Hinch pinched a lineout in the Dungannon 22 and worked Nevin Spence over in the right corner for an unconverted try, the Ireland Under-20 winger doing well to brush off two tacklers along the way.

Yet, after a Bambry penalty miss, the decisive moment came on 75 minutes when McGuckin was able to run onto another well-weighted grubber from Shiells and cross for the match-winning try in the right corner.

‘Gannon had many heroes on the day but flanker Ali Birch stood out, covering every blade of grass in another typically committed performance.