Hinch Firsts just miss out on win over top team Terenure
AIL Division 1A,
Terenure College 16 Ballynahinch 13,
Report by James Kirk.
Ballynahinch began their AIL Division 1A campaign with the toughest possible test – a trip to face champions Terenure College.
Adam Craig had only Ethan Graham released by Ulster and the ongoing front-row injury crisis at the club saw Kyle McCall selected at hooker with Claytan Milligan on the bench despite carrying a dodgy hamstring.
Scott Connolly continued on the bench as cover. The backline had a more settled look with new signing Paul Kerr winning the battle to start alongside Mark Best in midfield.
The locals suffered a setback when starting prop Harry McCormick was injured in the warmup, forcing Milligan into an eighty minute shift.
Their opponents had first use of a strong breeze in an empty Lakelands, Terenure having been sanctioned for some bad behaviour during the AIL final at the Aviva Stadium in May.
The pattern of the half was set early on. A dominant scrum and lineout enabled Terenure to keep the scoreboard ticking over and camp for large periods deep in Ballynahinch territory.
Three penalties gave them a nine point lead and then an Ethan Graham yellow card allowed them to exploit the extra man and score a well worked try after an excellent midfield offload.
This narrative fails to appreciate the sensational Ballynahinch defence, repelling their much larger opponents time and again, winning turnovers at crucial moments and generally making the champions fight for every inch.
Given use of the wind in the second half, Ballynahinch began to dictate the pace of the game despite set piece issues sending Kyle McCall for a spell in the bin.
Numbers were evened out when Terenure earned a yellow for a collision which left the luckless Jack Milligan on the sidelines with concussion.
The completely rejigged midfield of Dominic Clapcott, Paul Kerr and Matthew Booth were all making their debuts at this level and soon showed their worth as Kerr carried on an Ethan Graham break up the left channel, allowing the Hinch forwards to recycle the next phase quickly in midfield.
A fast ball and a brilliant long pass from Conor Rankin put veteran winger Aaron Cairns in space and he rolled back the years with some brilliant footwork to score an excellent try.
Rankin missed the extras but landed a long range penalty moments later to narrow the gap to eight points.
Clapcott then executed a superb 50-22 clearance to give his team the ball in a great attacking position.
And after a brilliant maul was illegally stopped short, Ballynahinch went for another lineout drive, switching play this time to allow Clapcott to squeeze in at the corner flag and take the County Down men to within three points.
At this point all the momentum was with Ballynahinch, but their set piece issues resurfaced, allowing Terenure to slow the game down and pin them back into the corner.
Another five minutes of lung-sapping defence ensued before a lapse from Ternure at scrum time allowed Clapcott to clear to the halfway line.
A lineout steal forced Terenure to give away a penalty and presented Rankin with a chance to square the match from long range on the final whistle.
The kick drifted just wide, condemning Ballynahinch to defeat, but they can be rightly proud of their losing bonus point.
Terenure survived an almighty scare and there will be many teams leaving Lakelands this season with nothing.
Cork Constitution roll into town this weekend and Craig will be hopeful that his patched up squad can build on this performance.
All support welcome.
Ballynahinch 1-20: John Dickson, Kyle McCall ©, Harry McCormick, Tommy Donnan, Declan Horrox, Callum Irvine, Zack McCall, Bradley Luney, Chris Gibson, Jack Milligan, Ethan Graham, Mark Best, Paul Kerr, Aaron Cairns, Conor Rankin, Claytan Milligan, Scott Connolly, Paddy Boomer, Ryan Wilson, Dominic Clapcott, Matthew Booth.
Ballynahinch 2nds Enjoy Win Over Lisburn
Ballynahinch 2s 68 Lisburn 8
Ballynahinch began their Towns Cup campaign with a dominant display against a hapless Lisburn side that spent the afternoon chasing shadows writes Gareth Bell.
They ran in a total of ten tries and were far superior to their opponents in every aspect of the game.
Top performer for the locals was new signing Shay Storey, who ran in 4 tries, showcasing his electric pace.
The Ballynahinch backline was bolstered by the experience of David Nicholson and Stephen MacAuley while the forwards could call on Conor Piper and Jonto Andrews to galvanise young tyros like Ben Wilson and Kobi Dunn.
Coach Davy Harris and his team will be aware that tougher opponents lie ahead in this prestigious competition.
However, they were clinical across the park and will get a taste of the AIL this weekend as they take on Cork Con 2s after the big game at Ballymacarn Park on Saturday.
Ballynahinch Round Up For 7th October 2023.
Ballynahinch continue to fly high in the Women’s Premiership as they remain unbeaten following a bonus point victory over City of Derry.
Skipper Amy Brady opened the scoring and Charlie May also crossed the line in the first half as they led by ten points at the interval.
Further scores from Paige Smyth and veteran centre Rachel Morton sealed the points in the second half.
A quirk of the fixture book has seen Ballynahinch avoid the big three teams so far. That changes when Enniskillen are the visitors on 22nd October.
The 4ths tasted defeat for the first time this season in a typically robust derby against Banbridge 4s.
They scored four tries and came out on the wrong end of a 29-27 scoreline but harvested two league points to salvage something from the fixture.
Pre-match lunches are back. To book a place for the opening AIL home game vs Cork Constitution on October 14th contact James Shaw on 07740308051
Youth Training continues on Mondays at 7pm for boys and Wednesdays at 7pm for girls. All players U12/U14/U16/U18 welcome and no experience necessary. Contact Clifton Quinn for details on 07501228045.
Mini rugby continues on Saturday mornings from 9.30-11am. Boys and girls from P1 – Yr8 are all welcome, with training run for each age group in their school year.
Mini rugby news is posted weekly on the club Facebook page :
For more details contact David Martin – Mini Convenor on 07837944892 or email:
Results for 7th October 2023
Terenure 16 Ballynahinch 13 Young Munster 17 (AIL 1A)
Ballynahinch 22 City of Derry 5 (Womens Premiership)
Ballynahinch 2 68 Lisburn 8 (Towns Cup)
Banbridge 4 29 Ballynahinch 4 27 (Regional East 1)
Ophir U18 17 Ballynahinch/Cooke 40 (Provincial East)
Malone U16 0 Ballynahinch 22 (Friendly)
Ophir U14 15 Ballynahinch U14 55 (Provincial East)
Fixtures for 14th October 2023
Ballynahinch vs Cork Constitution(AIL 1A))
Ballynahinch 2 vs Cork Constitution 2 (Friendly) 4pm
Banbridge 3 vs Ballynahinch 3 (Provincial Prem 1)
PSNI 2 vs Ballynahinch 5 (Regional South 1)
Ballynahinch U14/16/18 vs Banbridge (League)