JJ O’Dea evades the final Ballynahinch tackler to score in the corner. Picture: Ken Richardson

AIL DIvision 1A
Ballynahinch 17
Old Wesley 19

OLD WESLEY made a big jump up the AIL Division 1A table, landing the spoils on the road at Ballynahnich to go into second spot.

In a hard fought and tight encounter Old Wesley claimed another valuable victory, this time away to Ballynahinch, maintaining their perfect record north of the border this term.

With juts three points covering second to seventh, it could prove a vital result, grinding out a close-run thriller.

Wesley had the better of the early exchanges and landed a penalty via Rory Stynes without too much difficulty.

Hinch replied with the first try. Following a quick line out and a carry from Ulster hooker Zac McCall, centre Rory Butler crossed to score under the posts. Jonny McPhilips converted fgr a 7-3 lead

A second Stynes penalty reduced the damage and the Ballinteer old boys continued to make life difficult for the hosts who had come into the tie with a perfect home record.

A break by Charlie O’Regan, and some slick handling had Wesley again deep in opposition territory. Another promising attack gave Wesley a line out five metres from the ‘Hinch line.

The hosts held their line but in doing so conceded a penalty and yellow card to No 8 Conal Boomer.

Opting for a scrum James O’Donovan was stopped less than a metre short. From the next phase the ball was intercepted by a defender and kicked down field, and it looked like the opportunity was gone.

But, from the counter attack, the ball was swung wide through Alan Gaughan and Paul Harte to JJ O’Dea who, using his elusive running skills, got in for a try in the corner.

The conversion into a stiff breeze was missed but Wesley were back in the lead. Just before half time ‘Hinch kicked a penalty goal to leave it 11-10.

The Dubliners were dealt a huge blow when Hinch’s speedy winger Ross Adair crossed for a converted try just 45 seconds after the restart.

This was to be the Ulstermen’s last score of the afternoon. Eight minutes into the half, Wesley were awarded a penalty inside the opposition half.

A kick down the line found a good touch 10 metres out.

From the line-out, some well controlled carries and phases led to the ball being passed to the wing where Tommy O’Callaghan, still with some work, beat the defender to touch down in the corner.

It left Wesley a point behind going into the last ten minutes. Hinch missed a penalty before Wesley forced a key knock-on from the hosts and go within five metres of the try-line.

In their desperation to defend, Hinch conceded a penalty and a yellow card to substitute Bradley Wilson.

Cool as could be, Stynes struck the kick perfectly to take the lead. Ballynahinch had a late penalty near the touchline which they opted to kick down the line but botched it, allowing Josh Miller to clear and secure a seventh win of the campaign.