Corinthians suffered a heartbreaking 16-13 extra-time loss to Dungannon on Saturday, bowing out of the Ulster Bank League’s Bateman Cup at Stevenson Park.
Although up against a division 1B side, Corinthians did more than enough to win this game, but instead conceded a penalty in extra time after both sides had finished level on 13 points.
Somewhat controversially, this fixture was played on a snow covered pitch, which turned to slush and mud, ensuring a bruising encounter between these two sides.
The division two visitors were first on the scoreboard when outhalf Conor Murphy was successful with the second of two penalties, but Dungannon responded immediately when winger Michael Lawton equalised.
Both sides dogged it out in the conditions, and although Dungannon had their opportunities, it was the visitors who dominated territory and possession. However they were unable to make it count until just before half time. Murphy missed another penalty after the hosts had a player sinbinned, but good work from the Corinthian pack resulted in fullback Darren Classens scoring a super try, which Murphy converted to give his side a 10 -3 lead at half time.
The second half was much the same as the first, with Murphy and Lawton exchanging penalites. Corinthians, with a strong set piece, stuck to their game plan, keeping the ball tight. Denis Buckley, Sean Gerrity, and Gary Ward were prominent in some powerful driving, but they could not break through he Dungannon defence. Instead it was the home side that capitalised when Corinthians lost possession, and with only five minutes left winger Chris Cochrane scored a crucial try with Lawton converting to equalise at the final whistle.
Extra time was a dour affair with both teams playing it tight, but it was the visitors who eventually gave away the penalty for Lawton to convert and send the Ulster outfit into the final against Bruff.
Corinthians: Shane Mullally, James Buckley, Wayne Williams, Cian Begley, Darin Classen, Conor Murphy (Mike O'Flynn ), Mick Roche (Hugh Griffin ), Denis Buckley, Joey Merrigan, Tom Toolan (David Small ), Gary Ward, Seamus Murphy (Rory Connellan ), Pat Cunningham, Sean Gerrity (Aurelian Casanova ), Barry McCann.