Former British Lion McKinney special guest at end of season club dinner

Jonny Hampton on the attack for Portadown seconds against Ballynahinch fourths. Pic by Matthew Wickham Photography.
Jonny Hampton on the attack for Portadown seconds against Ballynahinch fourths. Pic by Matthew Wickham Photography.

Portadown Seconds defeated Ballynahinch Fourths by a handsome margin of 50-22 on Saturday.

A great running game was played by both teams. The Portadown backs were the key to the game running the ball at every opportunity.

The Thirds travelled to Belfast Harlequins Thirds and were up against a good side. The team played well but struggled against a strong Harlequins back line and lost by 20 points.

The Fourths full of experienced players were too strong for a Lisburn Thirds. They too ran in a number of tries to win 50-10.

Keith Boyce the captain was pleased with the win as this was the last game this season and clinched finished fourth in their league.

On Saturday night the club had the annual dinner with former Ireland and British Lion Stuart McKinney as speaker.

The director of ceremonies was Geoff Cauldwell and he kept the evening going with his light hearted manner.

The Ulster Branch President John Kinnear spoke on behalf of the Branch and Richard Mulligan sports Editor for the Newsletter spoke for the guests.

The meal was provided by resident chef Andrew Foster of Scrummies Restaurant. Everyone present expressed compliments for the meal and the speakers.

The club awards were given out on the evening to recognise all those players, coaches and volunteers who had played and worked hard for the club during the year.

The club held a charity collection at the dinner and the amount of £1100 was raised for the IRFU Charitable Trust.

The Trust helps players who have been accidentally disabled while playing the game. This was a large amount and everyone there was proud that the club could present this to the Trust representatives.

Awards were as follows:

Captain Fifths Simon Lappin; Captain Fourths Keith Boyce; Captain Thirds Darren Preston; Captain Seconds Robert McClean; Captain Firsts Jonny Holden.

Fifths Player of Year Brian Milligan; Fourths Player of Year Joint winner Alan Robinson and David Cornett; Thirds Player of Year Glen McCullough; Seconds Player of Year Mark Muldrew; Firsts Player of Year Gareth McCoy.

Coach of Year: Ian Flack Portadown Panthers; Club Person of Year David Sheard Mini Rugby Young Player of Year Ryan Purvis; Player of Year Garth McCoy.

Award in recognition of playing loyalty to Portadown: Richard Matchett Fifths and Oliver Montels Firsts.

Long Service Awards: Paul Ward, Jonny Rankin, Darren DT Thompson.

For the first time the club dinner saw ladies present from the panther and mini sections of the club.

Portadown are hoping to expand a ladies team starting next year. They also hope to introduce a girls team in the mini section.

With ladies teams Portadown would have a rugby playing section to cover all competitive sections in Ulster Rugby.