Ballynahinch RFC Firsts Pull Through Against Dublin Uni

Ballynahinch Firsts still in with chance to qualify in end of season playoffs

AIL Division 1A,

Venue: Ballymacarn Park, Saturday 17th February 2024,

Final Score: Ballynahinch 19 Dublin University 15.

Ballynahinch still have a chance to qualify for the end of season playoffs after a workmanlike home win over bottom of the table Dublin University writes James Kirk.

They will be disappointed that a try bonus point was not secured but after a week of weather-related disruption and a raft of withdrawals on the eve of the match, head coach Adam Craig can be relatively satisfied with the result.

A head knock for Reuben Crothers and the last minute withdrawal of Greg Jones meant a start for Kyle Gill at lock with James French returning at tight head.

Paul Kerr scores the opening try during the AIL RD 14 clash between Ballynahinch and Trinity at Ballymacarn Park, Ballynahinch. (Photos by John Dickson/DicksonDigital ©).

Ryan Wilson slotted in for Jack Milligan at outhalf with Paul Kerr, Ben Carson and Shay Storey combining in the back three for the first time.

Conditions were poor right up to kick-off, but the rain relented for the match and Ballynahinch played their preferred pattern of up the hill and into the wind in the first half.

The locals played superb possession rugby and dominated the collisions, depriving Dublin University of field position and scoring an excellent multi phase try finished well by Kerr.

Scorer Claytan Milligan emerges from the maul.

The students equalised with a maul try from their only meaningful spell of attack but were pinned back in their own red zone for much of the rest of the half.

Ballynahinch were rewarded for their patience with a maul try from the prolific Claytan Milligan on the stroke of half time to turn around with the wind and a seven point lead.

When the home side took advantage of a student yellow card to maul their way over from twenty metres out early in the second half the supporters anticipated a comfortable bonus point victory, but the game descended into a stop-start contest full of errors and penalties.

Kyle Gill goes through a gap.

Dublin University eventually battled gamely upfield to score a close range try with ten minutes to go before Ballynahinch earned a penalty on halfway which was superbly drilled into the corner by Kerr.

The bonus point opportunity went begging as the set piece failed to deliver and the students added a third try of their own with the final action of the afternoon to earn a losing bonus point.

The four teams above Ballynahinch all won again leaving the Co Down men seven points outside the playoffs with four fixtures remaining.

John Dickson carries hard into the students.

They have a glimmer of hope in that they play three of those four sides in the final block of fixtures but must secure a result away at Shannon on March 2nd to give themselves any chance of upsetting the status quo and forcing their way into the playoffs.

Ballynahinch 1-21: John Dickson, Claytan Milligan, James French, Declan Horrox, Kyle Gill, Callum Irvine, Zack McCall, Bradley Luney, Conor McKee, Ryan Wilson, Shay Storey, Mark Best (Capt), George Pringle, Ben Carson, Paul Kerr, Josh Hanlon, Kelvin Hamilton, Stephen Campbell, Tom Martin, Chris Gibson, Matthew Booth.  

Zack McCall breaks clear of the Dublin UNi players during the AIL RD 14 clash. (Photos by John Dickson / Dickson Digital ©).


Ballynahinch RFC Round Up For 17th February 2024

Club Notes

Only two fixtures outside the 1st XV survived the weather and there were big wins for the 2nds and 4ths to consolidate their table-topping status.

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 17/02/2024

Ballynahinch 19 Dublin University 15 (AIL Division 1A)

Rainey 2 5 Ballynahinch 2 56 (2nd XV League)

Academy 2 19 Ballynahinch 4 36 (Provincial East 1)

Fixtures 24/02/2024

Banbridge vs Ballynahinch (Club Academy Cup) Weds 7.30pm

Ballynahinch 2 vs Queens 2 (2nd XV League) Thurs 7.30pm

Ballynahinch U14 vs Rainey U14 (Provincial Cup) 11am.