Four tries in the final 22 minutes saw Queen’s University sweep Malone aside to lift the First Trust Ulster Senior Cup for the first time since 1981.
FIRST TRUST ULSTER SENIOR CUP FINAL: Friday, April 30
QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY 37 MALONE 0, Ravenhill
Robbie Moore’s men went through the gears in the final quarter to secure Queen’s 22nd Ulster Senior Cup title – the Belfast students are three clear of Instonians in the roll of honour.
In a tense and hard-fought first half, two penalty goals from Ireland Under-20 out-half James McKinney edged Queen’s 6-0 ahead.
Malone, with player-coach Jarleth Carey willing his side on, competed well but Queen’s had a solid platform from the lineout and scrum and when their passes eventually stuck late on, the tries duly came.
Malone’s hopes were rocked early on when their influential number 10 Josh Pentland had to go off with an injury.
His opposite number McKinney, who impressed alongside Ian Porter at half-back, knocked over penalties after 5 and 36 minutes to nudge Queen’s in front for half-time.
With flanker and captain Mark Robinson leading by example, Queen’s broke Malone’s resolve around the hour mark.
Winger Matthew Arneill got over for the first, with McKinney following up with a terrific conversion from the touchline. Then, Porter scooped out a long pass for prop Paul Karayiannis to charge through for the second seven-pointer.
Queen’s added a gloss to the final scoreline, taking their tally for the season to 93 tries as flying full-back David McIlwaine and McKinney broke through for late tries.
Queen’s could make it a cup double next Saturday as they face Nenagh Ormond in the AIB League Division 3 final at Anglesea Road (kick-off 12pm).
QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY: D McIlwaine; S Campbell, M Pyper, J Shiels, M Arneill; J McKinney, I Porter; P Karayiannis, M Boyd, M Sampson, M Ferguson, A Linton, P McGowan, M Robinson (capt), C O’Neill.
Replacements: G Megaw, T Patton, G Hooks, M Hooks,C Quinn.
MALONE: T Horner; D Irvine, J Anderson (capt), J Burgess, M Barker; J Pentland, M Wilson; J Carey, S Bailie, D Halliday, D Cobain, M Boyd, M Hill, J Chapman, G Moore.
Replacements: J Porter, D Maxwell, S Dougall, P Coulter, J Amos.
Referee: Michael Black (Ulster)