The two sides promoted from AIB League Division 2 last season went head-to-head at a wet and windy Ballymacarn Park on Saturday afternoon and UCC emerged as victors.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, November 14
BALLYNAHINCH 6 UCC 15, Ballymacarn Park
Scorers: Ballynahinch: Pens: Ryan Bambry 2
UCC: Tries: Brian Derham, Ivan Dineen; Con: Brian Derham; Pen: Brian Derham
Conor Twomey’s men grabbed their third Division 1B win in as many games, with tries in either half from goal-kicking winger Brian Derham and team captain Ivan Dineen doing the damage.
With James Ryan failing a late fitness test, Shane O’Sullivan moved to number 8 for UCC and Munster Under-20 flanker John Quill came in to make his first senior start for the College side.
‘Hinch beat Banbridge 22-0 in a rearranged Ulster Senior League tie last weekend but their form in the AIB League has been far from impressive.
Two penalties from New Zealander Ryan Bambry – the first after just two minutes and the second in injury-time – had them 6-5 ahead at half-time.
The opening try for UCC came after 28 minutes when Derham finished off an excellent attack by scoring in the right corner. The tricky conversion proved beyond him.
‘Hinch, with the wind at their backs in the opening half, showed a physical edge up front at scrum time and at the breakdown.
But the visitors, with their young pack battling hard to lift a number of ‘Hinch sieges, edged back in front through a Derham penalty and a 77th minute try from skipper Dineen.
UCC retook the lead just a minute into the second period when Derham landed a penalty, and some sterling defence from Andrew Cudmore and Brian Dennehy kept the home side at bay.
UCC’s hard graft in defence paid off three minutes from the end. Dineen intercepted a pass and had the pace to cover the 50 metres to the try-line, scoring under the posts and adding the conversion himself.
The result sees UCC maintain their run in fourth place, with out-of-sorts ‘Hinch still bottom of the pile following their fourth defeat in five league games.