Disappointing start in Senior League
Dungannon’s hopes of a winning start in the Ulster Senior League were dashed at Ballymacarn Park on Saturday. Ballynahinch, who are heavily tipped for silverware this year, won on a 4-3 try tally collecting their second five-pointer in as many outings.
While taking nothing away from the Down men’s victory Paddy Johns was disappointed that his young charges did not grab a brace of bonus points when a try looked likely during an impressive flurry at the finish.
Ballynahinch had first use of the stiff breeze and when they conjured up an overlap fullback, Adam Craig dotted down on the fifth minute. Ex Dungannon player, Michael Lawton added a superb conversion.
The visitors then bounced back and following an excellent break from Stuart McCloskey, Jason Bloomfield was unlucky to be hauled down just short of the line.
Minutes later Glen Sinnamon made ground before offloading to Mark Jenkinson. A last gasp tackle halted the Dungannon skipper before a penalty for the visitors offered hope. Alas, a turnover allowed Hinch to clear the danger. Then Dungannon returned to the offensive but it was Hinch who stole the show when centre, James Thompson raced away for Lawton to convert on the half hour.
The latter then launched a long range penalty to leave the score at 17-0. Dungannon hit back but a defensive error allowed Hinch another try with Chris Napier supplying the final pass for David Nicholson to score. Lawton converted to make it 24-0.
Closer to the interval Dungannon made amends. Two 5m scrums kept Hinch pinned down and when the ball was released McCloskey stretched across the ‘whitewash’ before adding the simple extras. Hinch led 24-7 at the break.
It was now Dungannon’s turn to make use of the wind but an injury to McCarroll stifled progress and Hinch broke clear for Stuart Morrow to score on 47 minutes. A little bit of holding paved the way for a scuffle that led to both scrum-halves getting binned.
Their dismissal did not help the quality of the game but Dungannon kept the pressure on for Jaryd Bennett to send Johnny Toal over in the corner on the hour mark. The conversion was missed but the scoreboard looked more respectable at 29-12.
Dungannon dominated the final quarter and come 70 minutes McMahon crashed over for McCloskey to convert. Now, just ten points adrift, Dungannon moved forward to grab a bonus point but the Hinch defence held form and the game ended at 29-19. It was a disappointing result for the visitors, but not a bad effort on the first competitive outing of the season.
Dungannon: John McGuckin, David Egner, Mark O’Shea, Stuart McCloskey, Johnny Toal, Jaryd Bennett, Jason Bloomfield, Glen Sinnamon, Phil Whyte, Mark Farquhar, Mark Jenkinson (capt), Paul McCarroll, Derek Hall, Stuart McKenzie, James McMahon. Replacements: Simon Potter, Ben Howard, Michael Dunleavy, Mark Faloon, Jerome McClure.
Ballynahinch: Adam Craig, David Nicholson, Stuart Morrow, James Thompson, Michael Lawton, Harry McAleese, Aaron Cairns, Chris Stevenson, Andrew Harper, Jamie Wilkinson, Robert Greer, Chris Napier, John Madden, Paul Pritchard, David McGuigan. Replacements:- Conor Pyper, Rob Miller, Matthew Connolly, James McBriar, Paddy James.
Referee: David Wilkinson, Ulster Branch
Ballynahinch II 27 Dungannon II 8
In the early kick-off game Dungannon Seconds competed well until the 70th minute before three late Ballynahinch tries gave the home side a deserved but rather flattering 27-8 win.
Dungannon’s impressive start almost produced a try for winger, Richard Fletcher before Colin Gibson landed a penalty for a 3-0 lead.
With the front row of Neil McGinley, Steven Sinnamon and Ben Howard in good form the visitors pressed forward.
However, the loss of Stuart Barron through injury stifled progress allowing Hinch to take the lead via a Matthew Connelly try that was converted by James McBriar.
Dungannon had the benefit of the wind in the second half but it was Hinch who struck first with a try per James McBriar following a lineout drive on 43 minutes.
Undeterred, Dungannon hit back and were duly rewarded when Richard Wright initiated a pick and drive. Following good carries by Plunkett McCallon and Sinnamon, Simon Potter dived over to make it 12-8 on 46 minutes.
It was all fairly even until the final ten minutes when Paddy James sealed the issue for the home side when he broke away for an unconverted try. In injury time Connelly scored a brace to dampen Dungannon’s brave challenge.
Dungannon: Jerome McClure, Richard Fletcher, Mark Faloon, Colin Gibson, Cormac Convery, Richard Wright, Steven Sinnamon, Neil McGinley, Ben Howard, Michael Dunleavy, Plunkett McCallon, Simon Potter(capt), Stuart Barron, Daniel Maxwell.
Next up this Saturday is the first round of the Ulster Senior Cup and for Dungannon it is an away trip to Belfast Harlequins. Meanwhile, the Thirds begin their Junior League campaign with a trip to Ballymoney II.
Also contesting junior league points are the Fourths who entertain Limavady II at Stevenson Park.
Mini rugby also starts this weekend and players are reminded of the new starting time of 9.30am.
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Weather for Dungannon
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North