Ballynahinch and Dolphin couldn’t be separated with a 7-7 draw the result on Saturday.
Despite the heavy rain during the week the new drainage system on the number one pitch at the Hinch headquarters worked a treat.
The home side played into a slight breeze during the first half and after a lively start ‘Hinch fullback Chris Quinn had an early opportunity to put his side in front, but his penalty attempt drifted wide of the posts.
From the 22 restart Steve Ford’s Cork side started to settle into the game, their heavy forward unit putting the Hinch defence under sustained pressure for the first time. In the 13th minute the Dolphin pack rumbled towards the Hinch line with number 8 Ryan Murphy getting the touchdown from the back of a maul. Barry Keeshan added the extras.
The Hinch men struggled to get any momentum into their game. After a number of line breaks by Stuart Morrow and Ross Adair, the home side eventually gained good field position close to the Dolphin line. A series of five metre scrums ensued during which the Hinch scrum dominated Dolphin and eventually prop James Rockford was yellow carded. The re-set scrum was collapsed and referee Nigel Correll awarded a penalty try. Quinn added the extras to tie the scores at 7-7 at half-time.
Hinch continued to dominate the set pieces in the second half but failed to build any phases of play.
Dolphin out-half Barry Keeshan and scrum-half Daryl Foley worked hard to keep their pack rolling forward while centre Rory Scannell and winger Eoin O’Shaughnessy had a very competent afternoon in defence.
Dolphin had one shot at goal in the 60th minute taken by centre Rory Scannell but his long-range effort was short.
In the final 10 minutes ‘Hinch had scrum-half Aaron Cairns yellow carded for staying offside at a ruck.
Despite being down to 14 men the ‘Hinch managed a strong final five minutes, the only chance was a Richard Reaney drop goal attempt on final play but it fell short.