Cookstown 53 Ballynahinch 3
Cookstown RFC made the long journey down the M1 to play Ballynahinch Evergreens in the Ulster Minor League. With the squad decimated with injuries, the boys dug deep to outplay and outmuscle a youthful Hinch side.
Cookstown opened the scoring with Ciaran Currie slotting a penalty between the posts, this followed some good work at the breakdown by Martin BOOM! Cookstown immediately grew in confidence and started to work through the phases with returning scrumhalf Dave Weir keeping the Hinch defence on their toes. During a twenty minute period Cookstown scored tries through centre Barry Loughran, Ciaran Currie and two tries from team captain Ryan Eastwood.
Into the second half and Cookstown made a number of changes in a bid to freshen the team up. It appeared to work as most of the game was played in the Hinch 22. Pressure at the lineout from Marty Devlin allowed Cookstown to dominate possession.
One turnover in particular a saw Cookstown charge at the Hinch defence where Jarlath Loughran crashed over for his first try of the season. The Cookstown men then added to their try count with good scores from John Paul Rab Reah, Stevie Quinn and Ryan Eastwood who finished with a tally of five.
Team manager Mark Brown was for once delighted with his charge’s performance but reminded them that there is a long way to go. This begins with a return to cup action on Saturday 18 February when the boys travel to Ballyclare to take on their unbeaten fourth XV. Ballyclare have already beaten favourites Ballymena in the earlier rounds of the cup and have notched up some impressive scorelines, namely an 80+ point victory in their last outing. The boys will be up against it and would appreciate any travelling support.
Team: Currie, Rea, Mallon, Rab, Moore, BOOM, Devlin, Eastwood, Dave ‘Mr Cruz’ Weir, Currie, Nugent, McGurk, Loughran, Harte, McKeown, Quinn, Loughran, Spud, G.Stinson.
Man of the match went to newcomer John ‘Rambo’ McGurk who in his first start for the team, put in a solid defensive display. The team would like to thank Ballynahinch for their kind hospitality after the game.