Corinthians stun league leaders

Corinthians secured a valuable 21-10 Ulster Bank League win over a top-of-the-table Banbridge on Saturday afternoon in Cloonacauneen Park.

The Northerners had travelled with high expectations of clinching division one status with 11 wins under their belt, but Corinthians produced their best performance of the season to give them hopes of retaining their division 2A status.

And with one match remaining, Corinthians now travel to Belfast to face Queen's University with real hope of finishing the league with flourish.

Corinthians, with the elements in their favour, enjoyed a dream start on Saturday when James Buckley, who was out of action for a full season, cut through the visiting defence before winning a penalty which outhalf Simon Keller converted.

Banbridge replied with a try from centre Andrew Morrison after Corinthian prop Colin Joyce was yellow carded for pulling down the maul, but the home side kept their noses in front when Keller slotted another penalty.

Corinthians eventually got in for their first touch down, the rewarded for excellent handling by the back line with centres Stuart Royal and Buckley very much to the fore. Captain Colin Raftery then secured a lineout on the opposition 10 metre line, and assisted by his partner Donnchadh Phelan, scrambled over the try line to extend their lead to 11-5.

The second half looked a daunting task for the home side playing into a gale force wind as Banbridge attempted to up their game.

However the league leaders failed to take control allowing the home side to gain confidence, and midway through the second half flanker Sean Connolly latched onto a loose ball, setting up field position for scrumhalf Greg Flaherty and a finish from wing Dave McDermott.

Banbridge eventually broke through the Corinthian cover with scrumhalf Josh Cromie touching down out wide, but Corinthians had the last say when hooker Pat O'Toole gathered from loose play, made excellent ground, and linked up with fullback Dave Panter who finished corner for a crucial win.

Corinthians: D Panter, S Biggins, J Buckley S Royal, D McDermott, S Keller, G Flaherty, C Joyce, P O'Toole, A Glynn, C Raftery(capt ), D Phelan, S Connolly, R Moony, E Fa'atau. Replacements, M Byrne A Walsh, O Daly J Campbell M O Toole.

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