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Scoreless Second Half Sees Dolphin Draw Again

Scoreless Second Half Sees Dolphin Draw Again

In what surely must be an Ulster Bank League record, Dolphin registered their third successive draw when their bruising clash with hosts Ballynahinch finished level – 7-7 – at Ballymacarn Park.

Having lost their first four games, the bottom-placed Corkmen have now steadied the ship somewhat by picking up six points from their stalemates with Old Belvedere, Cork Con and Ballynahinch.

All of the scoring came in the first half with a converted try from number 8 Ryan Murphy putting Dolphin ahead, before 'Hinch responded with a penalty try which full-back Chris Quinn converted.

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Despite the very heavy rain during the past week, the new drainage system on the number one pitch at Ballynahinch headquarters worked a treat, and the under-foot conditions were pretty good by kick-off time.

The home side played towards Slieve Croob and into a slight breeze during the first half. After a lively start Quinn had an opportunity to put the County Down side in front in the fourth minute, but his attempt to convert a penalty goal drifted wide of the target.

From the drop-out, Dolphin started to settle into the game, their heavy pack putting the 'Hinch defence under sustained pressure for the first time.

In the 13th minute the Dolphin forwards, including Munster's Dave O'Callaghan (pictured above), rumbled towards the Hinch line with Murphy getting the touchdown from the back of a maul. Assistant-coach Keeshan added the extras to take the Leesiders seven points clear.

'Hinch struggled to get any momentum into their game and played too much lateral rugby. After a number of line brakes by Stuart Morrow and Ross Adair, the home side eventually gained good field position close to the Dolphin line.

A series of five-metre scrums ensued in the 35th minute in which the 'Hinch scrum dominated Dolphin and eventually prop James Rochford was yellow carded in the 40th minute. The reset scrum was collapsed and referee Nigel Correll awarded a penalty try. Quinn added the extras to tie things up for half-time.

With the Munster side down to 14 men, 'Hinch needed to take advantage but never managed to seize control of the game to gain any decent field position. Derek Suffern's charges continued to dominate the set pieces but failed to build any phases of play.

Half-backs Keeshan and Daryl Foley (pictured above) worked had to keep their pack rolling forward, while centre Rory Scannell and winger Eoin O'Shaughnessy had a very competent afternoon in defence.

Dolphin had one shot at goal in the 60th minute taken by Scannell, the recent Munster debutant, but his long range effort was short.

In the final 10 minutes, 'Hinch had scrum half Aaron Cairns sin-binned for staying offside at a ruck. Despite this setback, the hosts managed a strong closing five minutes. The only chance to score came in the final play when Richard Reaney's long range drop goal attempt fell short of the mark.

Referee: Nigel Correll (IRFU)