RUGBY: Ballynahinch II lift Ulster Junior Cup after win over City of Armagh II

Ballynahinch II celebrate winning the Ulster Junior Cup
Ballynahinch II celebrate winning the Ulster Junior Cup

Ballynahinch II became the first side to successfully defend the Millar McCall Wyle Junior Cup for 16 years as they comprehensively beat Armagh II 23-8 in Thursday night’s final at Kingspan Stadium.

Hinch outscored their opponents by three tries to one and won the cup for a third time in five years.

Aaron Ferris scores the second try for the Hinch

Aaron Ferris scores the second try for the Hinch

The victory also denied Armagh doing what Hinch had done last season in winning the Junior and Senior Cups in the same season.

Armagh firsts had defeated Ballymena in Tuesday’s final to lift the Senior Cup for the first time in their history.

Armagh’s outhalf opened the scoring with a penalty after four minutes.

Hinch wasted a great try scoring opportunity on 11 minutes, winger Aaron Ferris was stooped close to the line, the ball was recycled with prop Stuart Orr and Connnor Philipps carrying but with a three on one overlap the Co Down side knocked on.

Barry Finn on the attack for Armagh

Barry Finn on the attack for Armagh

Hinch out half Justin Rea tied the scores after 15 minutes with a penalty after Armagh strayed offside.

Armagh missed the chance to regain the lead on 28 minutes, from a defensive lineout Hinch tried to run the ball out of their own ‘22’ but knocked on, the Armagh pack forced a penalty from the resulting scrum but Boyd was off target.

Rea put Hinch in front with a long range penalty four minutes later as Armagh were again caught offside.

The Ballymacarn Park side got the game’s first try on 34 minutes, winger Paddy Wright made a break and carried deep into the Armagh ‘22’ before offloading to full back James McBriar and he had the strength to hold off a cover tackle to touch down and Rea converted from a tight angle.

Hinch got their second try three minutes later, McBriar made a line break in midfield before feeding Davy Harris, the centre flung the ball wide for Ferris and the winger showed his pace to beat two defenders and finish from 30 metres but Rea failed to convert from a tight angle.

Rea missed the opportunity to increase Hinch’s 18-3 lead at the interval as failed with a long range penalty with the final kick of the first half.

Armagh missed a chance to narrow the deficit at the start of the second half, from a lineout in the Hinch ‘22’ they took quick ball off the top, the ball was moved infield but Phillips stripped the ball in contact.

Armagh finally made their possession and territorial dominance during the second half count on 58 minutes.

Following multiple phases in the Hinch 22 which saw Boyd and No8 Barry Finn going close Armagh were able to create an overlap which full back Kyle Faloon finished for an unconverted try.

Armagh gifted Ferris his second try on 62 minutes.

They forced a turned from a Hinch in their own 22, from the resulting scrum on their own put in they won and Boyd put in a cross field kick for his winger but Ferris caught the ball and walked in from close range Rea missed the conversion from a tight angle.

Wright missed a long range penalty for Hinch on 72 minutes.

Armagh threw caution to the wind in the closing stages, they were awarded a penalty in the last minute on the Hinch 22 and decided to run it.

But the Co Down side turned it over and broke out of defence McBriar hacked on but Boyd won the race to touch down over the try line for a ‘22’ drop out.