BANN’S U19 side may have lost out by a single point in their attempt to win the Ulster League but they have given themselves every chance to compensate, with this semi-final win taking them through to a Ravenhill appearance against City of Derry in the final of the Ulster Cup.
Bann opened the scoring in the 10th minute when lock Stuart Walker charged down an attempted clearance kick and won the scramble to the touchdown. Out-half Macauley Little added the conversion.
Instonians hit back with an unconverted try in the 25th minute but three minutes later Bann went further ahead. Winger Adam Stirling and lock Kyle McConnell chased a long kick upfield, with the latter gathering the ball and dragging the defender with him over the try line, Little’s conversion giving his side a 14-5 interval lead.
The home side continued to edge the exchanges and Little added a penalty five minutes into the second half. Five minutes later the out-half landed a superb kick from the half-way line to leave Instonians needing three scores.
Unfortunately the Instonians scrum-half Matthew Wilson was injured when trying to stop Chris Watt, the Bann full-back’s run having already taken him past five defenders. The game was delayed for 30 minutes while the injured player received attention from the Club’s Duty Medical Officer, Dr John Shannon, and ambulance personnel.
When it resumed on the adjacent pitch Bann were able to keep the visitors penned in their own territory for the time remaining to book their place in the final.
The Banbridge team and coaching staff were delighted to hear that Matthew had been allowed out of hospital on Saturday evening, apparently none the worse for the incident.
The final is scheduled to be played at Ravenhill on Saturday 4th May. However it will have to be re-arranged if Ulster finish in the top two in the Rabo Pro-12, as the provincial side would then have a home draw that weekend in the play0offs.
This Wednesday (10th), Bann take on Omagh in the quarter-final of the Nutty-Krust Floodlit Tournament at Portadown, ko 7.45pm. Coaches Willie Kirkwood and Marc Eadie are hoping that centre Glenn Rowan will have recovered from a knock picked up in Saturday’s win.