Junior Cup: Dromore edge out Ballynahinch II in Kingspan Stadium thriller

Adam McGregor and his Dromore team celebrate winning the 2019 MMW Ulster Junior Cup Final after beating Ballynahinch II in the final
Adam McGregor and his Dromore team celebrate winning the 2019 MMW Ulster Junior Cup Final after beating Ballynahinch II in the final
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DROMORE 22 BALLYNAHINCH II 19

Dromore won the Millar McCall Wylie Ulster Junior Cup for the first time in 80 years following a dramatic final against Co Down rivals Ballynahinch II Kingspan Stadium on Wedmesday night.

The Barban Hill boys had the first chance to break the deadlock when they won a penalty in the Hinch 22 and kicked for the corner but lock Matthew McKelvey pinched the lineout.

Hinch took the lead on 13 minutes when out half Matthew Norton knocked over a simple penalty from in front of the posts.

Dromore scrum half Lee Steenson squandered a chance to level the scores a couple of minutes when his ambitious long range penalty dropped short.

Dromore took the lead on 23 minutes with the game’s opening try, the forwards set up a driving maul just outside the Hinch 22 and with the backs joining in were able to go all the way with loose head prop Tom Lyttle touching down but Steenson’s conversion drifted wide.

Norton nudged Hinch back in front six minutes later with his second penalty after Dromore were caught offside in midfield.

Steenson missed a third kick at goal when he slipped making contact with the ball and his penalty fell short.

Dromore went into the break with a 12-6 lead after they were awarded a penalty try from the final play of the first half.

Hinch lost the ball in their own 22, Dromore moved the ball wide, Hinch winger Aaron Ferris went to intercept a looping pass which he knock on referee Christopher Lough deemed it deliberate awarding a penalty try and yellow carding Ferris.

With Hinch still down to 14 men Dromore got their third try, they worked the ball through a number of phases close to the Hinch line before No8 Ben Heath punched through a gap to dot down with Steenson slotting over the simple conversion.

Hinch got their first try on 55 minutes following a sustained period of pressure in the Dromore 22, the forwards had a number of darts at the line before the ball was moved through the hands and replacement Ronan Patterson slid over in the corner, Norton’s conversion hit the crossbar.

Ferris cut through the Dromore defence with a run that stated from his own 10 metre he exchanged passes with centre Eamon McCoubrey but the winger was hauled down in the shadow of the posts however Dromore full back Adam McDonald killed the ball on the ground and was sin binned allowing Norton to land an easy penalty to cut the gap to five points with 12 minutes remaining.

Hinch didn’t deal effectively with the restart and were caught offside and Steenson nudged over the resulting penalty.

Ferris set up a dramatic finish with a try in the last minute, Norton put up a high kick the Hinch winger won the aerial duel with his marker and sprinted over for an unconverted try to make it a three point game but Dromore held on for a historic victory.

Ballynahinch II: J McBriar, J McCoubrey, E McAnulty, P Wright, A Ferris, M Norton, L Finlay; B Cullen, C Milligan, H McCormick, M McKelvey, T Martin, B Howard, S Elwood, G Gill

Replacements: G McKittrick, K Hamilton, D Dawson, C Phillips, R Patterson

DROMORE: A McDonald, B McClearn, A Stewart, G McCandless, A Rutledge, D Lyttle, L Steenson; T Lyttle, S Sloan, J Savage, M McMaster, R Bingham, A MacGregor, P Elliot, B Heath

Replacements: A Black, F Mulholland, J Maguire, S Russell, A Gilmore

Referee: C Lough