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Malone Make Chances Count In Ulster Derby

Malone Make Chances Count In Ulster Derby

A superb collective performance saw a young Malone team come of age on Friday evening, displaying style, passion and guts to defeat Dungannon and claim a bonus point in their Division 1B opener.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: MALONE v DUNGANNON FIRST HALF

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: MALONE v DUNGANNON SECOND HALF

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Malone hosted Ulster rivals Dungannon in the opening round of the Ulster Bank League, with the 'Friday Night Lights' billing adding to the already highly-charged atmosphere at Gibson Park.

This was always going to be a tough encounter for Jacques Benade's charges against a seasoned Dungannon side who were in contention for promotion right up to the end of last season.

'Gannon took the game by storm in the opening ten minutes and they mounted attack after attack using their forwards and back-line to good effect, however the Malone defence was very solid and some excellent tackling prevented the visitors from scoring.

Dungannon made the breakthrough in the 13th minute, with full-back Peter Nelson converting a penalty, but Ulster out-half Niall O'Connor, making his debut for Malone, edged them ahead with two successful kicks after 15 and 25 minutes.

On the half hour mark, a break by Nelson's opposite number Taylor Acheson from deep inside the Malone half set up their opening try.

The ball was passed through several hands before a nice inside pass to captain Glenn Moore saw him go over under the posts. O'Connor converted and then added his third penalty goal to give the Belfast side a 16-3 lead for the break.

The second half opened with Dungannon reducing the arrears with a second Nelson penalty. Malone took six minutes to reply through the boot of O'Connor.

In the 55th minute, debutant lock Alan O'Connor stretched Malone's lead with a seven-pointer. The hosts were now playing some dynamic rugby through the forwards and their backs were keen to move the ball at every opportunity.

Such adventure was rewarded early in the final quarter when winger Chris Leathem made a break and bulldozed past the covering Nelson to score in the corner, with O'Connor missing the conversion from wide out.

Dungannon upped their game and after a period of pressure the Malone line was crossed for the only time in the game when Paul McCarroll scored. Nelson converted to reduce the margin to 31-13.

Eager to have the final say, Malone were rewarded with their bonus point try when flanker Neil Alcorn completed the scoring with an unconverted effort.

Referee: Simon McDowell (IRFU)