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Ulster Ravens Sign Off With Impressive Home Win

Ulster Ravens Sign Off With Impressive Home Win

Replacement scrum half David Shanahan scored a late try to give Ulster Ravens a dramatic 27-23 win over Cornish Pirates in round 6 of the British & Irish Cup at Deramore Park.

The Pirates arrived in Belfast having won all five games in the pool and had picked up four bonus points to guarantee their place in the quarter-finals, while Ulster Ravens had a point to prove after last weekend's disappointing result in Jersey.

The home side, who were out of contention for the last-eight, made the perfect start as out-half James McKinney opened the scoring with a penalty – barely a minute in – after a scrum infringement from the Pirates.

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McKinney had a chance to extend the Ravens' lead but dragged an eighth minute penalty wide.

The Pirates got the game's first try on 13 minutes from full-back Matt Evans. From a scrum penalty Mike Pope took a quick tap and fed centre Alex Dancer who broke two tackles before putting Evans clear to go over unopposed with out-half Angus Sinclair converting.

Sinclair increased the Pirates lead with a 31st minute penalty from a scrum and added another three points when the Ravens were again punished in the set piece.

But Allen Clarke's home side got back in the game with the last play of the first half.

Young winger Rory Scholes, returning from a long absence, made a break from his own half into the opposition 22, the ball was quickly recycled and the forwards took it through a number of phases before prop Adam Macklin barged over from close range. McKinney converted to cut the Pirates' lead to 13-10 at half-time.

The visitors restored their 10-point advantage with a try on 51 minutes from flanker Joe Atkinson. Tom Channon made a break from the base of the scrum and carried deep into the Ravens 22. From quick recycling Atkinson went over and winger Kyle Moyle converted.

But the Ravens responded when centre Stuart McCloskey scored the try of the game on the 60-minute mark.

The hosts won a scrum penalty and Michael Heaney took a quick tap before throwing a long pass to McCloskey on the 22. The Dungannon clubman brilliantly beat four defenders before touching down and McKinney tagged on the extras.

McKinney missed a penalty but brought the Ulstermen level – 20-20 – with a successful place-kick in the 72nd minutes.

The Ravens were rocked though on the restart when they were whistled up for an infringement and Moyle restored the English Championship club's lead.

But the hosts struck late for the match-winning try, and the lively Shanahan was the player to cross the whitewash for a final time.

Scholes started the move when he made another great break and was stopped short. Neil McComb drove the ball up and was stopped just inches before the line before Shanahan squeezed over and McKinney made it a four-point winning margin.

Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland)