RUGBY UNION: Senior Cup success for Ballynahinch against Dungannon

Ballynahinch lift the trophy after winning the final.    Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Ballynahinch lift the trophy after winning the final. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

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Ballynahinch made it a hat-trick of First Trust Senior Cup victories with a comprehensive win over Dungannon at the Kingspan Stadium.

Hinch outscored their opponents by four tries to one, with two of the scores coming while the County Tyrone side had a man in the sin bin.

Ballynahinch's captain Michael Graham is presented with the trophy by Ulster Branch President John McKibbin after they won the match.  Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Ballynahinch's captain Michael Graham is presented with the trophy by Ulster Branch President John McKibbin after they won the match. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Derek Suffern’s side will now go on to represent Ulster in the Bateman cup semi final. It completed a special cup double for the Ballymacarn Park club after the Twos won the Junior Cup on Tuesday.

Dungannon enjoyed the better of the first half but were left to rue missing four penalties out of five kicks

Hinch broke the deadlock on 12 minutes with the game’s opening try. Flanker Connor Phillips cleaned up scrappy lineout ball on half way and made a searing break into the 22 before offloading to back row colleague Callum Irvine to touchdown, winger Chris Quinn failed with the conversion.

Dungannon missed their first opportunity to put points on the board when full back Jake Finlay’s long range penalty fell short on 15 minutes. They wasted another chance to score four minutes later when centre Paul Armstrong pushed another long range penalty wide of the target.

Ballynahinch's Stephen McCauley is challenged by Dungannon's Jake Finlay.  Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Ballynahinch's Stephen McCauley is challenged by Dungannon's Jake Finlay. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Gannon finally turned their territorial advantage into points on 22 minutes when Armstrong slotted over a penalty from just inside the 22 after Hinch strayed offside. Ballynahinch missed the chance to extend their lead when they kicked a penalty to the corner, from the lineout the forwards set up the driving maul but Andy Hughes’s side were able to hold them up and force a turnover.

Another long range penalty from Armstrong on 32 minutes failed to trouble the score board. And they were punished for that missed three minutes before the break when Hinch scored their second try.

They were awarded a penalty in the 22, which they elected to run, the forwards worked the ball through a couple of phases before hooker Andrew Harper barged over from close range.

Quinn converted to give the County Down side a 12-3 advantage at the interval, although Armstrong missed the chance to reduce the deficit with another penalty miss on the stroke of half time.

Suffern’s men should have had their third try three minutes after the restart, a slick handling move created space for full back Justin Rae but he knocked on going over the line.

They didn’t have long to wait though as they took advantage of a numerical advantage on 47 minutes as they kicked a penalty to the corner, the forwards made some hard yards before the ball was transferred wide for winger Chris Orr to squeeze over in the corner for an unconverted try.

Gannon suffered another blow on 58 minutes when prop Glen Sinnamon was yellow carded and Quinn slotted over the resulting penalty.

Hinch made their dominance pay in the 65th minute with a fourth try of the game.

Chris Stevenson carried deep into the touch before the ball was moved infield, skipper Michael Graham put centre Stuart Morrow over and Quinn converted.

Gannon got a late consolation try when No8 James McMahon rumbled over from close range and Armstrong converted.

Ballynahinch: J Rea, C Quinn, S Morrow, D Nicholson, C Orr, J McBriar, C Gibson, J Blair, A Harper, S Orr, M Graham, J Simpson, C Irvine, C Phillips, G Gill

Replacements: C Stevenson, J Roe, S Evans, W Stewart, K Morton

Dungannon: J Finlay, M Montgomery, P Armstrong, A Mills, P Cashel, J Buckley, J Ravey, S Sinnamon, K Egan, G Sinnamon, P Doran, R McCaughey, S Todd, D Leyburn, J Mahon

Replacements: R Bennett, D Maxwell, M Riddell, J Kennedy, G Treanor

Referee: M Patton