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Terenure Triumph On Return To Top Flight

Terenure Triumph On Return To Top Flight

Promoted club Terenure College won their first Ulster Bank League top flight game since 2009 as they overcame Ballynahinch in sunny conditions at Lakelands Park.

A superior second half display saw Terenure put some daylight between themselves and 'Hinch, earning a deserved 32-20 victory in front of a large home crowd.

Place-kickers Stephen O'Neill and Chris Quinn landed two penalties apiece during a bright start, with the sides very much intent on playing attacking, open rugby which led to a fantastic contest overall.

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It was advantage Terenure when right winger Shane Donovan produced a big hand-off on the way to scoring the Dubliners' first try in the right corner. O'Neill tagged on another penalty for a 14-6 scoreline.

But the County Down visitors hit back on the stroke of half-time with a converted effort from one of their own wide men, Ross Adair, after Terenure lock Fergal Walsh had been sin-binned for a lineout infringement.

A second try from winger Adair made it 20-14 to the Derek Suffern-coached Ulstermen early in the second period, but they failed to score again after that as a determined Terenure outfit found an extra gear.

Replacement Niall Lalor grounded the ball at the end of a muscular lineout drive and the end-to-end nature of the game was summed up by Terenure's next try scored by number 8 Kyle McCoy.

Replacement Mark O'Neill managed to get his boot to the ball at a 'Hinch ruck, launching a tremendous counter attack as Robert Duke – the 2013/14 Division 1B Player of the Year – hacked on and then delivered a brilliant offload for his back row colleague McCoy to touch down under the posts.

Both sides had players in the sin-bin – 'Hinch lost their scrum half Aaron Cairns and Terenure had to cope without try scorer McCoy due to an early tackle – and the hosts seemed to cope better as two final penalties from Mark O'Neill settled the issue.

A bonus point try would have been the perfect way to mark 'Nure's opening day in Division 1A, but Ballynahinch held firm despite a promising break down the right by scrum half Kevin O'Neill – the third O'Neill brother involved, with father Ciaran proudly watching on.

Referee: Eddie Hogan O'Connell (IRFU)