Winning start at Ballyclare as seniors pick up away victory

Portadown captain James Carlton.
Portadown captain James Carlton.

Portadown firsts launched the Qualifying League commitments with a 25-17 success that lacked quality but produced the desired end product.

The bonus-point win arrived thanks to Daniel Tully’s brace of tries, plus appearances over the line by Gareth McCoy and Lee McClure.

Chris Cousens posted a conversion and penalty to kick off the league in winning fashion under the influence of captain James Carlton.

McCoy capped a positive opening period with the first try but Ballyclare regrouped to dominate until half-time and hold a 13-5 advantage before Tully cut the gap.

Tully marked his debut with a second try in the second half and McClure celebrated a return to the club with an appearance on the scoresheet.

Portadown seconds eased past Rainey OB by a comprehensive 50-5 tally last weekend with an impressive away display.

The strong team performance featured on-pitch reward for time spent on the training pitch, with captain Diarmaid O’Kane setting the standard.

Dean Hardy proved impressive alongside Johnny Hampton, Neil Irwin, Graeme Currie and Ollie Montels. Matt Davison, Robert Douglas and Gareth Reid worked hard as part of the front row.

Reid sprinted from deep to register his try. Danny Alexander’s line-out play was significant and he also posted a try alongside O’Kane, Irwin and Rory Quinn.

Glen McCullagh enjoyed a brace of tries, with Niall Davison steering over five conversions and a try.

Alan Robinson and Stan Hamilton finished with two tries and two conversions apiece during Portadown fourths’ defeat at Ballynahinch sevenths.

The 55-24 reverse opened with the hosts taking advantage of a Portadown mistake.

However, the experienced Ballynahinch panel held control overall. A surging run by captain Simon Lappin proved one highlight in a performance of positives despite the score.