Understrength Dungannon paid the price when they clashed with Harlequins at a bitterly cold Deramore Park. With both sides lying just above bottom placed Ballina this was an important encounter and would define the position of the 2 Ulster sides for the first half of Division 2B.
Dungannon kicked off with wind advantage and soon had the scoreboard ticking when Jordan McIlwaine slotted a penalty on the second minute. Three minutes later John Russell was n’t so lucky when he sliced a second award. However, Dungannon continued to hold the upper hand for the remainder of the opening quarter. That said, no further points were gained despite the efforts of David Leyburn and others in the Dungannon forward unit. Patient Quins defended well and following an attacking period of their own, Ben Alexander crashed over for Coby Miln to convert. Quins moved further ahead when fullback, Mark Glover counter-attacked before going the whole way on 35 minutes. Following the restart Quins struck again when scrum-half Conor McAuley touched down for Miln to add the extras and leave the hosts leading 21-3 at the break.
Quins were now on top and with New Zealander, Miln pulling the strings at out-half it was n’t long before the Belfast team secured a try bonus. Miln made the initial break and 50 metres later he had the support of lock, Christian Bennison who took the final pass to score. Again, the try was converted and it was all looking very ominous for the visitors. On 50 minutes Glover completed his brace to make it 33-3. Soon afterwards Dungannon were reduced to 14 men when Andrew McGregor was sent to the ‘bin’. Quins quickly took advantage and Jaz Andress was driven over on the hour mark. Dungannon rallied in the final quarter despite losing Alex Gormley to yet another yellow card but it was the industrious Glover who stole the show when he sent Kyle Adams in on the 75th minute. Gallant Dungannon hit back and they were duly rewarded when Sean O’Hagan burst through for McIlwaine to convert and the game ended 47-10. The All Ireland League now takes a break until 11th January.
Dungannon:- Andrew McGregor, Jordan McIlwaine, Peter Cashel, Jordan Boyd, Harrison Dudley-Rode, Adam Evans, John Russell, Glenn Sinnamon, Malcolm Allister, Sean O’Hagan, Lewis McCrabbe, Stephen Todd, David Leyburn, Adam Milligan, Alex Gormley, Daniel Maxwell, James Gamble, Cameron Steenson, Jonny Toal, Jack Ravey.
Harlequins:- Mark Glover, Tom Morris, Kyle Adams, Mark Kettyle, Chris Larmour, Coby Miln, Conor McAuley, Morgan Ellis, Steven Weir, James Harrison, Christian Bennison, Matt McKelvey, Jaz Andress, Darryl Marshall, Ben Alexander, Rory Winters, Mark McGrath, Scott McClelland, Malcolm Corry, John Fletcher.