Seconds’ late rally isn’t enough as ‘Dee secure win

Donaghadee survived a late flurry of scoring by Banbridge Seconds to take their place deservedly in the third round of the Junior Cup.

Bann’s defensive frailties were exposed in the opening minutes when Paul McKenzie raced in for an unconverted try for the visitors. After John Ferris had failed to reduce the deficit with a 35 metre penalty attempt, the out-half’s neat break almost created a try in the corner for Andrew Kirkwood.

But the ‘Dee went further ahead in the 26th minute, fielding a Bann kick inside their own 10 metre line and counter-attacking to telling effect with Mark Cooper finishing off for a second unconverted try.

Bann’s hard-working No 8, Alan Conn, broke off from a maul to instigate a penetrating backline move which ended with right winger Keir Patterson being bundled into touch just short of the ‘Dee line.

As the home side continued to press they eventually got their reward, with Aaron Kennedy’s 26 metre penalty taking the interval score to 3-10.

The second half started just as the first, with the ‘Dee creating an overlap on the flank for Chris McGivern to finish in style at the corner flag.

Impressive centre Philip Lunn almost created a try for the home side, but after gathering Ferris’s neat chip behind the defence he was hauled down just short of the line. However their defensive efforts at the ensuing ruck saw the visitors reduced temporarily to 14 men and Kennedy kicked his second penalty.

Just when it seemed Bann might stage a revival their discipline let them down and Cooper’s two successful penalties extended his team’s lead to 6-21.

With ten minutes remaining Lunn gathered his own chip ahead before sending Patterson off on a blistering 35 metre run to the ‘Dee line and with Kennedy adding the extras Bann were now just eight points in arrears. Cooper struck again with a simple penalty from in front of the home posts. But when Lunn forced his way over the visitors’ line and Kennedy added the difficult conversion with just four minutes left on the clock the ‘Dee were forced to hang on grimly to their now slender lead until the final whistle.