BANN’S U19 side made a great start to the Group Stage of their Ulster Cup campaign, seeing off the challenge of old rivals Malone despite having to play all but 10 minutes of the game with 14 men.
With Adam Doherty, Matthew McDonald and Peter Cromie all on All-Ireland League duty with the Firsts in Cork, the 19s travelled to Cherryvale with the bare XV to take on the Belfast side. Malone had already taken a three point lead when Aaron Larrissey was forced to retire from the action with a shoulder injury. And when Bann dropped a ball in the opposition “22”, Malone were quicker to react, scooping it up and sprinting to the other end for an unconverted try.
Bann hit back on the half hour, a scrum against the head allowing the threequarters to run at the opposition and put Ben Cross in at the corner flag. Five minutes later the visitors were in front, with winger Kenny Wiltshire finishing off after another smooth backline move.
Out-half Macauley Little was the only scorer after the break, his penalty edging Bann into a five point lead which a determined defence ensured they maintained until the final whistle.
Solid lineout work from Lee Geddis, Adam Kelly and Stuart Walker was crucial in limiting Malone’s possession, while full-back Adam Stirling put in a man-of-the match performance.