Nightmare in second half Ballynahinch 34 City of Derry 40 ULSTER SENIOR CUP

Nightmare in second half Ballynahinch 34 City of Derry 40 ULSTER SENIOR CUP

2 November 2011

For the second year in succession City of Derry knocked Ballynahinch out of the Ulster Senior Cup.

'Hinch had the game all but won at half time, but failed to turn up for the second half and missed out on a place in the semi-finals.

Wind and rain blasted down Ballymacarn Park and Ballynahinch, with the conditions in the favour in the first half, took the lead in the sixth minute when James Lash (inset) converted a penalty after Derry were caught offside in front of their posts.

Derry immediately struck back and the ball was taken through a number of phases before flanker Richie Baird spotted a gap on the blind side of a ruck on the Hinch 22 to sprint over for the opening score.

The conversion from Peoples was wide, but Derry continued to attack and Peoples increased their lead with a penalty in the 19th minute.

From the restart Lash countered with his second successful goal to make it 8-6, but a turnover on halfway sent the home defence into turmoil two minutes later. Scrum half Simon Logan moved quick ball left and flanker Stephen Corr crossed the whitewash for a second unconverted try to take his side 13-6 clear.

'Hinch brought the scores level after a strong build up from the pack released play into the Derry 22 and eventually the phases mounted to create the space for loose head Chris Stevenson to smash his way over behind the posts. Lash added the extras to tie the scores at 13-13.

Within three minutes they ran in another two tries. The first was a tremendous solo effort from Lash who broke the gain line on halfway, ran into open space and dived in under the posts. He converted his try.

From the restart the ball quickly found the hands of second row Chris Napier, who headed for the line at full pace, throwing a dummy to wrong-foot full back Peter Henderson and crash over for the third 'Hinch try. Lash converted and the 'Hinch were 27-13 clear.

Lash missed with a long range penalty attempt in the 36th minute and then in the final play of the half there was a dust up between the two packs, the outcome being yellow cards for 'Hinch loose head Chris Stevenson and Derry hooker Sam McAuley. Half-time: Ballynahinch 27 City of Derry 13.

When the game restarted the visitors caught the 'Hinch cold and Henderson came into the line at pace to finish off an excellent backline move. The conversion attempt from Peoples was missed.

In the 48th minute No. 8 Stephen Ferguson was on the end of a forward dive to claim his side's fourth try which Peoples converted to close the score to 27-25.

As the conditions deteriorated the Hinch found it almost impossible to get out of their half of the field and the introduction on the experienced Richard McCarter to the Derry ranks simply added to their frustration.

With 12 minutes remaining Henderson caused havoc when he raced into the line and split the Hinch defence in two. He took play deep into the Hinch 22 where McCarter was on hand to take a great line and cross beside the posts for a converted try.

'Hinch immediately lifted their game and good counter-rucking forced a turnover in the 74th minute. The ball was quickly flashed to Lash who made it through a gap where Chris Napier and Jonny Madden carried on the attack. Play was whipped right and Robin Harte battled well to cross for the fourth Hinch try. With the scores tied at 34 apiece Lash needed to slot the conversion to give his side the lead and his effort bisected the uprights.

With four minutes remaining Derry flanker Richie Baird cut a great line, wrong-footing the Hinch defence on their 22, and ran in unopposed to score. The extras were missed by McCarter, but the visitors had taken the lead at this crucial late stage 34-37.

In the final minutes 'Hinch had to try and run from deep, but Derry continually infringed. Eventually David Huston was yellow-carded with two minutes to go but it was the Derry men who had the final say with McCarter slotting over a penalty.

  • Attention returns to the All-Ireland League this Saturday with the visit of UCC. Kick off is at 2.30pm.