City of Armagh 12 Ballynahinch 31.
Ulster Premiership D1.
Report by James Kirk.
Ballynahinch put on an impressive display to secure a bonus point win at City of Armagh, a team which certainly seems to have had their number over the last few meetings, including an injury time defeat in the Senior Cup Final just before lockdown in March 2020.
Adam Craig continued to ring the changes as he searches for the best combinations to take on the might of All-Ireland League Division 1A in a few weeks time. There were starts for John Dickson and Harry Simpson in the front row alongside Zack McCall and for Gareth Gill at blindside as he continues to get up to speed following knee surgery.
In the early stages, Rory Meharg and Paddy Browne came in at scrum half and outside centre respectively and Greg Hutley continued at 12 alongside Jack Milligan.
After falling behind to an early unconverted Armagh score, the locals bossed the remainder of the half. Veteran lock James Simpson, clearly enjoying his rugby this season, crashed over from close range after picking an excellent line off Milligan, who was a threat all afternoon standing flat and challenging the Armagh defensive line at every opportunity. Hutley added the extras to take his side into the lead on 18 minutes.
The home side put themselves under pressure just three minutes later by taking too long to clear their lines, and when Callum Irvine charged down the kick and regathered Ballynahinch flooded through towards the corner. From the ensuing ruck McCall blasted over and Hutley nailed the conversion to make it 14 points to 5 in favour of the away side.
Playing some excellent up tempo rugby Ballynahinch were in danger of running riot over the second quarter and duly went further ahead when Simpson burst through leaving defenders in his wake and offloaded to Meharg who was running an excellent trailing line. He was rewarded with a try under the posts and Ballynahinch were out of sight at 21-5.
However, a high tackle from Aaron Cairns following a period of Armagh pressure gave the home side a lifeline as a penalty try was awarded and a yellow card given. Armagh went into half-time just nine points behind despite being thoroughly outplayed.
Any optimism the home side may have felt was quickly erased as the Ballynahinch pack went to work, dominating the set piece and setting the template for a very comfortable bonus point victory. Irvine scored from a quick tap penalty on the hour after the Armagh scrum was taken apart close to their line following a rare Tommy Donnan open field charge.
Donnan capped another very intelligent display by coolly putting Meharg in for his second try in the last seconds so that the scoreboard began to accurately reflect the domination of the away side with the final score 31-12.
But Craig and his team will feel that they left at least three scores behind and will be working on the training ground over the next few weeks before a trip to derby rivals Banbridge serves as the final warmup for a daunting season at the top of the AIL division.
Ballynahinch 1-20: J Dickson, Z McCall, H Simpson, T Donnan, J Simpson, G Gill, O Loughead, C Irvine, R Meharg, J Milligan, A Cairns, G Hutley, P Browne, R Patterson, P Wright, K Hamilton, K McCall, A Foster, C Gibson, R Wilson.
Ballynahinch RFC Rugby Club Round Up For 11 September 2021.
The seconds kickstarted their season with a stunning comeback victory at home to local rivals Dromore in the Conference League.
Trailing badly to a dominant Dromore pack they turned the match and possibly their season around with a thrilling comeback full of enterprising rugby to lead 32-31 going into the final minute.
Dromore were then awarded a kickable penalty to win it but the kick sailed wide and coach Davy Harris and his young side could celebrate a great win.
New signing Conor McAuley was excellent on debut and with Conor Phillips and Conor Piper using all their experience to get his side over the line Harris will hope for further improvement this weekend at Portadown.
The U18s played their first friendly of the season ahead of the League programme starting on Saturday 25th September and lost to a strong Portadown side but showed plenty of potential with Matthew Torney and Logan Mallon taking the fight to the opposition at every opportunity. With players to return they will hope to be competitive this season.
The season starts this weekend for the 3rds/4ths/5ths as they dust off the cobwebs from 18 months of inactivity. Any players thinking of a return to action is most welcome.
Youth Training continues at 7pm on Wednesdays. All players welcome at U12 U14 U16 and U18 levels. No experience necessary. Contact Michael Preston for details on 07702050192.
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: www.facebook.com/ballynahinchrfcofficial.
For more details contact David Martin – Mini Convenor on 07837944892 or email email@example.com
Details of how to purchase tickets for the First XV matches and a full selection of Hinch merchandise can be found on our social media outlets and on the club app.
- City of Armagh 12 Ballynahinch 31 (Premiership D1)
- Ballynahinch 2 32 Dromore 31 (Conference League)
Fixtures For 18/09/2021
Portadown vs Ballynahinch 2 (Conference League)
Ballynahinch 3 vs Ballyclare 2
Ballyclare 3 vs Ballynahinch 4
Ballynahinch 5 vs Portadown 3