Ballynahinch Firsts Go Down Against Shannon

Shannon gets better of Ballynahinch Firsts at Thamond Park

AIL Div 1A,

Venue: Thamond Park,

Final Score: Shannon. 20 Ballynahinch 14,

Report by James Kirk.

Adam Craig and his squad travelled without a recognised outhalf with Mark Best moving across from midfield.

His place at centre was taken by Ulster’s Ben Carson while Reuben Crothers and Greg Jones were also released along with James French, Conor McKee and Aaron Sexton.

Ethan Graham was also released from the Ireland U20 camp to get some game time ahead of the remaining 6 Nations fixtures and despite a poor record at Shannon the locals travelled as favourites as they sought to keep up their push for a play-off place.

The game was played in front of a large vocal crowd and the home side gave them plenty to cheer with a committed and typically physical performance.

A scoreless first quarter was followed by a try and penalty from the home side as the game began to open up.

A Shannon yellow card was followed by a brutally effective maul try from Ballynahinch with hooker Claytan Milligan again on the scoresheet.

Ballynahinch missed a chance to turn the screw by taking a quick tap penalty instead of going to the corner again and found themselves further behind at halftime when a yellow card of their own allowed Shannon the opportunity to maul their way over for a six point lead.

Ten minutes into the second half the match looked to have turned decisively in favour of Ballynahinch when Shannon conceded a penalty try and had a man sent to the bin.

But then the home side received a boost on the hour when Ballynahinch were deemed to be held up over the line despite protestations to the contrary.

Back to a full compliment of players and just a point behind, Shannon dug in and after gaining field position via a crucial turnover they eventually forced a penalty try of their own to take a six point lead.

The consequent yellow card for Ballynahinch meant they would play the last ten minutes of normal time with 14 men and despite long periods of pressure they were unable to breach the Shannon line, even during seven minutes of injury time when they were back at full strength.

Ballynahinch were ultimately undone by some uncharacteristic handling errors and poor decision-making over the eighty minutes but credit must also go to the home side who defended as if their Division 1A status was on the line.

Ballynahinch now have a two week break to regroup before a challenging final block of fixtures.

They are running out of games to force their way into the playoff semi-finals, but given the fixtures remaining are against three of the sides in front of them they still have an outside chance.

At the very least they will have a big say in the makeup of the final league table.

Ballynahinch 1-21: Kyle McCall (Capt), Claytan Milligan, James French, Bradley Luney, Declan Horrox, Reuben Crothers, Zack McCall, Greg Jones, Conor Mckee, Aaron Sexton Mark Best, Ben Carson, George Pringle, Shay Storey, Paul Kerr, John Dickson, Kelvin Hamillton, Lekima Ravuvu, Arthur Johnston, Matthew Booth, Ethan Graham.

Hinch Club Notes For 4th March 2024

Ballynahinch Women progressed to the next round of the Women’s Junior Cup with an excellent victory away to Omagh.

Two tries from veteran Rachel Morton and one from player of the match Jemima Johnston put them ahead but Omagh battled bravely and the result wasn’t sealed until replacement Sam Moffet crossed the line in the dying moments with the fourth try.

Ballynahinch progressed to the finals of the Forster and McCambley Cups with semi-final victories for the fourths over Inishowen and for the fifths over Enniskillen.

The finals are both versus Ballymena and promise to be well contested. Details of dates and venues to follow.

Davy Harris and his 2nd XV will be crowned league champions if they best Omagh on Wednesday night at Ballymacarn Park. All support welcome.

The Academy Cup team of U21s are into the semi-final against Dungannon at Stevenson Park on Monday 11th after an excellent victory over Banbridge. A Kingspan Final awaits the winner. 

Pre-match lunches for the rest of the season are now SOLD OUT.  

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 04/03/2024.

Shannon 20 Ballynahinch 14 (AIL Division 1A)

Omagh 10 Ballynahinch 24 (Womens Junior Cup)

Ballynahinch 4 26 Inishowen 21 (Forster Cup SF)

Ballynahinch 5 53 Enniskillen 3 12 (McCambley Cup SF)

Ballynahinch/Cooke U18 20 Enniskillen 14 (Plate SF)

Fixtures 11/03/2024

Dungannon vs Ballynahinch (Womens Premiership) Weds 7.45pm

Ballynahinch 2 vs Omagh 2 (2nd XV League) Weds 7.45pm

Ballynahinch 2 vs Malone 2 (2nd XV League)

Ballynahinch 3 vs Banbridge 3 (Provincial Prem 1) Friday 7.45pm

Ballynahinch 4 vs Ballyclare 3 (Provincial East 1)

Banbridge 5 vs Ballynahinch 5 (Regional South 1)

Ballyclare U14/U16 vs Ballynahinch U14/U16 11am

Ballynahinch U18 vs Ballyclare U18 (Plate Final @ Magherafelt 11am).