On a breezy cold night at Ballymacarn Park 21 points from winger Chris Quinn helped Ballynahinch to victory in the Friday Night Lights Ulster Bank League fixture.
Playing into the wind Quinn opened the scoring for Hinch after five minutes with a well struck penalty. Dungannon hit straight back on their first visit to the opposition half with a penalty from the scrum converted by John McGuckin on nine minutes.
Hinch, who were playing into the breeze began to control possession and slowly made their way into the Dungannon half forcing the visitors to infringe allowing Quinn another shot at 3 points which he duly took on 17 minutes. The home side made a mess of the restart and were penalised for offside allowing McGuckin to bring the sides level almost immediately.
Dungannon then enjoyed their best period both in attack and defence forcing errors from the home side with McGuckin controlling proceedings. They were rewarded for their efforts when Steven Sinnamon, who had a fine game on the night, picked up a loose ball from the ruck and fed Peter Nelson who put in a neat grubber behind the defence and won the race for the touchdown under the posts. McGuckin added the extras on 24 minutes. Dungannon continued to enjoy territorial advantage but the difficult breeze stifled lineout ball and the half ended, 6-13.
The home side now had the wind advantage and they went on the offensive immediately capitalising on a poor scrum from the visitors.
Blane McIlroy moved the ball quickly to Stuart Morrow who made it over the line. Quinn converted to bring the sides level at 13-13.
McGuckin had the chance to restore the Dungannon lead but the penalty came up just short. Quinn was more fortunate with his next attempt to give Hinch the lead after 52 minutes with a long range penalty.
Dungannon then lost Stuart McCloskey to the ‘bin’ for failing to roll away and the resultant penalty gave Hinch a six point lead. Hinch took advantage of the extra man and their ball carriers started to make inroads into the visitors defence and they eventually were stretched to breaking when Quinn broke the line and sprinted around the cover to score in the corner on the hour mark. His exerts caused him to miss the conversion however.
There was a long stoppage for an injury to former Dungannon player, Michael Lawton who had to be helped from the field. Hinch continued to occupy the Dungannon half with the visitors struggling to make head way against the home side that were now brimming with confidence.
Although with the return of McCloskey Dungannon did manage to play their way back into the game and an infringement from Paul Pritchard resulted in his exit from the game for a 10 minute rest.
Dungannon took play into the Hinch 22 and with good carries from Timmy Smith and Ali Birch they were unfortunate not to get across the line.
A rolling maul was held up and possession and the chance of a bonus point were lost. Hinch used the wind to clear the danger and gain 80 metres as the clock ran down. The award of penalties and yellow cards continued and when Dungannon lost Derek Hall, James Simpson sealed the issue with a converted try to leave the final score at 31-13.
Dungannon: Peter Nelson, Mark Faloon, Stuart McCloskey, Paul Magee, Mark O’Shea, John McGuckin, Sean Conway, Timmy Smith, Ali Birch, Derek Hall, Michael Dunleavy, Plunket McCallan, Glen Sinnamon, Phil Whyte, Steven Sinnamon. Paul Jackson, Mark Farquhar, Paul McCarroll, Jaryd Bennett, Peter Cashel.
Ballynahinch: Adam Craig, Chris Quinn, Stuart Morrow, Robin Harte, Aaron Ferris, Harry McAleese, Blane McIlroy, David McGuigan, Madden, Paul Pritchard, James Simpson, Chris Napier, Kyle McCall, Adam Harper, Chris Stevenson.
Referee: Richard Kerr (Ulster Branch)