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Ulster Senior Cup Three In-A-Row For Ballynahinch

Ulster Senior Cup Three In-A-Row For Ballynahinch

Ballynahinch have made it three First Trust Ulster Senior Cup titles in a row, following a measured 27-10 victory over Dungannon at Kingspan Stadium last night.

FIRST TRUST ULSTER SENIOR CUP FINAL: Thursday, December 15

BALLYNAHINCH 27 DUNGANNON 10, Kingspan Stadium
Scorers: Ballynahinch: Tries: Callum Irvine, Andrew Harper, Chris Orr, Stuart Morrow; Cons: Chris Quinn 2; Pen: Chris Quinn
Dungannon: Try: James McMahon; Con: Paul Armstrong; Pen: Paul Armstrong

HT: Ballynahinch 12 Dungannon 3

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Pre-match favourites Ballynahinch got the match underway, but it was Dungannon who laid down an early marker with a huge scrum that was greatly received by their vocal travelling support.

Some strong carrying by the Ballynahinch backs drew their team back into the game, before openside flanker Connor Phillips made a great break and then released fellow flanker Callum Irvine to sprint over in the right corner on 13 minutes for the opening try of the game.

Dungannon had an opportunity to strike back a couple of minutes later but full-back Jake Finlay’s 40-metre penalty effort fell just wide and left.

A minute later, Dungannon centre Paul Armstrong took over the kicking duties but, despite a good connection, could only watch as his attempt pulled left. Armstrong did open his side’s account in the 22nd minute when he confidently dispatched a penalty from just outside the 22.

Despite the Dungannon defence soaking up some pressure, it was Armstrong again who had the next scoring opportunity with another long range penalty in the 32nd minute, but this time his effort was pushed right.

Five minutes later, Ballynahinch hooker Andrew Harper pounced for his side’s second try when he picked up a loose ball and drove over from 10 metres out, before Chris Quinn added the extras.

Dungannon were made to rue another missed opportunity before half-time, as Armstrong saw another penalty drift agonisingly left of the posts and Derek Suffern’s ‘Hinch side held a 12-3 lead at the turnaround.

The Tyrone side thought they had got off to a dream start in the second half with an early try but play was pulled back for winger Matthew Montgomery putting a foot in touch.

At the other end, Ballynahinch also came close to a try of their own but full-back Justin Rea was marshalled into touch close to the try-line. However, a minute later, winger Chris Orr sneaked in at the left corner to dot down following some swift passing to shift play wide.

Quinn’s well-struck 56th-minute penalty punished some Dungannon indiscipline to open up a 20-3 advantage for the County Down outfit, who had lock James Simpson in man-of-the-match form.

Ballynahinch centre Stuart Morrow topped off a fine individual performance with a try of his own in the 63rd minute, slipping between two defenders before reaching to touch down under the posts. The simple conversion stretched the deficit out to 24 points.

Dungannon continued to battle gamely and a quick tap saw captain James McMahon burst over on 74 minutes to get his side’s only try, with Armstrong tagging on the conversion.

While McMahon’s try was just reward for his team’s efforts, Ballynahinch were not to be denied and closed out the game in controlled fashion. The Senior Cup win caps off a fantastic few days for ‘Hinch, who won the Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup on Tuesday evening, also at Kingspan Stadium.

BALLYNAHINCH: Justin Rea; Chris Quinn, Stuart Morrow, David Nicholson, Chris Orr; James McBriar, Chris Gibson; Jonathan Blair, Andrew Harper, Stuart Orr, Michael Graham (capt), James Simpson, Callum Irvine, Connor Phillips, Gareth Gill.

Replacements: Chris Stevenson, Joe Roe, Stewart Evans, Willie Stewart, Kenny Morton.

DUNGANNON: Jake Finlay; Matthew Montgomery, Paul Armstrong, Andrew Mills, Peter Cashel; John Buckley, Jack Ravey; Steven Sinnamon, Karl Egan, Glen Sinnamon, Peter Doran, Ross McCaughey, Stephen Todd, David Leyburn, James McMahon (capt).

Replacements: Rodney Bennett, Daniel Maxwell, Mark Riddell, Josh Kennedy, Gerard Treanor.

Referee: Mark Patton (Ulster)