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Suffern Buoyed By ‘Hinch’s ‘Great Performance’

Suffern Buoyed By ‘Hinch’s ‘Great Performance’

Ballynahinch head coach Derek Suffern is hoping his side can take some of their excellent home form on the road in the coming weeks as they look to break into the top four of Ulster Bank League Division 1A.

Ballynahinch’s push to reach the play-offs has gathered pace in recent weeks with home wins over former leaders Terenure College, Young Munster and Cork Constitution, while they also picked up a losing bonus point at UCD.

Saturday’s 34-13 bonus point victory over Cork Con saw ‘Hinch display the best of their defence and attack, keeping in touch with Con while playing into a first half wind and then registering 24 unanswered points over the closing 40 minutes.

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A try from Constitution captain Gerry Hurley cancelled out an earlier effort from Ross Adair, but the County Down outfit, who are now just a point outside the top four, bossed the remainder of the game with full-back Adam Craig helping himself to a hat-trick of tries.

‘Hinch head coach Derek Suffern said afterwards: “That was a great performance, a great first half into the wind. The boys worked really hard, Con have a big strong pack and a great kicking game so we needed to compete and I think we did that very well.

“The try (from Ross Adair (pictured below)) early on gave us momentum and to make them chase us was good. We then gave away a soft score (to Gerry Hurley) and they were right back in the game, but to keep the difference to just three points (13-10) at half-time was a magnificent effort.”

Suffern’s charges stretched clear of the Leesiders despite losing flanker Jonny Madden to the sin-bin in the 54th minute. The scoring efforts of Craig and goal-kicking winger Chris Quinn, who finished with 14 points, kept up Ballynahinch’s unbeaten home record in this season’s league.

“We did well with the wind, we wanted to build our phases and not just kick possession way. I think we did that well, and to score the third try with 14 men – just when we had been under pressure with the sin-bin – gave us the momentum we needed to kick on.”

‘Hinch have now claimed six wins and a draw at their Ballymacarn Park fortress, but are yet to win away from home after five trips. With their next two games on the road to table toppers Lansdowne (January 31) and St. Mary’s College (February 21), Suffern knows the pressure is on them to break their duck in Dublin.

“Our home performances have been very good this season. We are unbeaten but struggle away from home. We are not far away, there are just a few small things that go against us when we are away…that doesn’t seem to happen at home.

“We only have two more home games (in the league), so if we can turn our away form around we will be in good shape,” he added.