Meharg try makes sure of the points

Meharg try makes sure of the points

15 September 2021

BALLYNAHINCH put on an impressive display to secure a bonus point win at City of Armagh — a team which certainly seems to have had their number over the last few meetings, including an injury time defeat in the Senior Cup final just before lockdown in March 2020.

Adam Craig continued to ring the changes as he searches for the best combinations to take on the might of All-Ireland League Division 1A in a few weeks’ time.

There were starts for John Dickson and Harry Simpson in the front row alongside Zack McCall and for Gareth Gill at blind side as he continues to get up to speed following knee surgery.

Rory Meharg and Paddy Browne came in at scrum half and outside centre respectively and Greg Hutley continued at 12 alongside Jack Milligan. 

After falling behind to an early unconverted Armagh score, the locals bossed the remainder of the half. Veteran lock James Simpson, clearly enjoying his rugby this season, crashed over from close range after picking an excellent line off Milligan, who was a threat all afternoon, standing flat and challenging the Armagh defensive line at every opportunity. Hutley added the extras to take his side into the lead on 18 minutes.

The home side put themselves under pressure just three minutes later by taking too long to clear their lines and when Callum Irvine charged down the kick and regathered Ballynahinch flooded through towards the corner. From the ensuing ruck McCall blasted over and Hutley nailed the conversion to make it 14-5 in favour of the away side.

Playing some excellent up tempo rugby, Ballynahinch were in danger of running riot over the second quarter and duly went further ahead when Simpson burst through leaving defenders in his wake and offloaded to Meharg, who was running an excellent trailing line.

He was rewarded with a try under the posts and Ballynahinch were out of sight at 21-5. 

However, a high tackle from Aaron Cairns following a period of Armagh pressure gave the home side a lifeline as a penalty try was awarded and a yellow card given.

Armagh went into half time just nine points behind, despite being thoroughly outplayed.

Any optimism the home side may have felt was quickly erased as the Ballynahinch pack went to work, dominating the set piece and setting the template for a very comfortable bonus point victory.

Irvine scored from a quick tap penalty on the hour after the Armagh scrum was taken apart close to their line following a rare Tommy Donnan open field charge and he capped another very intelligent display by coolly putting Meharg in for his second try in the last seconds so that the scoreboard to accurately reflect the domination of the away side with the final score 31-12.

However, Craig and his team will feel that they left  at least three scores behind and will be working on the training ground over the next few weeks before a trip to derby rivals Banbridge serves as the final warm-up for a daunting season at the top of the AIL. 

Ballynahinch (1-20): J Dickson, Z McCall, H Simpson, T Donnan, J Simpson, G Gill, O Loughead, C Irvine, R Meharg, J Milligan, A Cairns, G Hutley, P Browne, R Patterson, P Wright, K Hamilton, K McCall, A Foster, C Gibson, R Wilson.