Historic win for Clogher Valley in Junior Cup

Clogher Valley captain, Eugune McKenna, lifts the Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup after defeating Ballynahinch I at Ravenhill.
Clogher Valley captain, Eugune McKenna, lifts the Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup after defeating Ballynahinch I at Ravenhill.

Clogher Valley won the Junior Cup for the first time in their history with dramatic one point victory over Ballynahinch.

Clogher looked to have the game wrapped up as they led 22-9 after 60 minutes but had to withstand a strong Hinch fightback.

Clogher playing into the driving wind and rain had the better of the opening exchanges.

They kicked a penalty to touch and from the resulting lineout they should have taken the lead. The forwards drove forward with prop Philip Moore carrying twice in the move, they set up a rolling maul but knocked on going over the try line.

Hinch won the resulting scrum and cleared to touch, from the lineout Clogher drove again and were awarded a penalty.

Clogher opted for a scrum and when Hinch stopped it illegally the referee awarded a penalty try on 16 minutes which full back Philip Armstrong converted.

Scrum half Michael Lawton got Hinch’s first points of the game with a penalty on 20 minutes after Clogher were caught offside from an up and under. Lawton landed his second penalty on 25 minutes after Clogher were punished for having hands in the ruck.

Hinch had centre Paddy James sin binned on 29 and Clogher made their numerical advantage count immediately.

From the lineout they knocked on but were able to push Hinch off the ball from the scrum which had wheeled to the right creating space on the left wing, scrum half James Bates pooped a pass to out half Aaron Best and he squeezed over in the corner but Armstrong failed with the conversion from a tight angle.

Lawton’s third penalty from his own half aided by the wind on 35 minutes cut Clogher’s lead to 12-9 at the interval although the Co Tyrone side spurned a good chance to get a second try when Moore knocked on close to the line.

Clogher had early chances to extend their lead in the second half but Best was off target with a drop goal attempt while centre Paul Galbraith missed a long range penalty.

Clogher finally made their pressure pay with a second try on 51 minutes from winger Keith Todd with Galbraith adding the conversion.

Galbraith landed a penalty for Clogher on 60 minutes after the forwards had kept the ball through seven phases before Hinch were guilty of hands in the ruck.

Clogher had Moore sin binned on 63 minutes which allowed Hinch to get back into the game with a try from replacement scrum half Aaron Cairns.

Following a series of tap penalties Hinch were held up over the line, from the scrum Cairns picked up and darted over from close range.

Hinch set up a grand stand finish when Lawton, who switched to the wing, scored a great solo try and added the conversion to leave a point between the teams with eight minutes left.

Cairns had a chance to win it for Hinch when he broke out of defence but he knocked on as he tried to gather his own chip.