Match Centre - March 26, 2016 - 2:30 pm

All Ireland League 

Corinthians RFC
Banbridge RFCBanbridge RFC 1sts XV

@ Galway

Match Details


Banbridge’s hopes of winning Division 2A of the Ulster Bank All-Ireland League and with it automatic promotion were virtually blown away at a windswept Corinthian Park in Saturday’s penultimate game of the scheduled season.

Their failure to collect a single point coupled with Naas’s win at Malone left the Kildare side needing just to beat struggling Skerries at home this Saturday to top the table.

Playing into a squally wind in the first half Bann looked to have done the groundwork to secure the win. But it all came apart in a 20 minute period either side of the interval when the home side ran in three tries to take a 21-5 lead which the visitors never looked likely to overhaul.

Coach Daniel Soper felt that the game was won and lost in the final seven minutes of the first half. “We were excellent in the first 30 minutes,” he said after the game. “We tried to play with tempo in difficult conditions and really should have gone in 3-5 up.

“But we dropped the re-start after scoring to concede a penalty and another mistake set them up for a try. That window of the game was the most disappointing aspect.”

A third minute penalty from out-half Simon Keller had seen the home side take the lead but for the next 30 minutes Bann dominated possession and territory despite playing into the wind.

A dropped ball was hacked through by Andrew Morrison into the home “22” and although Corinthians found temporary relief the clearance kick was run back by John Porter to keep the pressure on the home line.

Adam Ervine then intercepted on halfway to sprint through to the “22” before his loss of footing allowed Corinthians to haul him down. But Bann recycled and went through the phases to allow Adam Doherty to put Morrison in for an unconverted try at the corner in the 26th minute.

Keller’s second penalty edged his side one point ahead before the home pack steamrollered over from a lineout 10 metres out for an 11-5 interval lead.

Now facing the elements Corinthians were much more impressive with ball in hand, going further ahead when winger Dave McDermott crossed at the corner flag for a second unconverted try just three minutes after the break.

Bann had a chance to kick themselves into a strong attacking position from a penalty on halfway. But the strong wind carried the kick over the dead ball line and from the scrum that resulted Corinthians found a gap down the right flank to put strong running full-back Dave Panter in at the corner.

Now 16 points in arrears Bann battled hard to get back into the game. Josh Cromie’s try in the 57th minute gave hope of a revival but those errors continued to blight their build-ups and despite losing a man to the ‘sin-bin’ the home side prevented Bann from making any further inroads into the deficit.

“Corinthians played good rugby after the break, we fell off a few tackles and that together with some poor kicking made it difficult for us to get back into the game. At the end of the day we simply made too many errors,” added Soper.

“Naas still have to beat Skerries so we have to make sure we pick up five points against Malone in case they slip up. I don’t think it will be a major problem lifting the boys for that game.

At worst we should be looking at a home game against UCC in the play-offs. Anyone who watches us knows that if the weather is kind we like to play a pacy game with plenty of width. Hopefully the April weather will allow us to do that and finish the job, one way or another, next month.”