ULSTER BANK LEAGUE
Division 1A round-up
Dublin University 9-3 Garryowen
Garryowen’s Neil Cronin (file pic). Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
GARRYOWEN WERE THE big losers in Ulster Bank League Division 1A this weekend, falling from fifth to eighth place courtesy of a 19-3 defeat at Dublin University.
Only seven points now cover the bottom six sides in the table, so Trinity’s second win in three games was just the ticket as they climbed into seventh overall.
An initial penalty from the hosts’ out-half Jack McDermott on the quarter hour was cancelled out by Garryowen captain Neil Cronin as he punished a high tackle at the 20-minute mark.
McDermott’s boot edged the students back in front on the stroke of half-time, and Tony Smeeth’s youngsters went on to dominate possession in a rain-lashed second half at College Park.
McDermott missed an early penalty on the resumption and unfortunately had to be replaced with a shoulder injury soon after. Garryowen had their own struggles, losing lock Paul McCarroll to the sin-bin as the handling conditions grew increasingly difficult.
The home side tightened their grip on proceedings with a penalty and drop goal from replacement James Fennelly either side of the hour mark, with the Light Blues still starved of possession.
Trinity then wrapped up the victory with pressure exerted from successive five-metre scrums. Number 8 Tom Ryan got the touchdown from an advancing set piece, seven minutes from the end, and Bryan Mollen’s conversion sealed a 16-point winning margin.
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Colm Hogan; Tim Maupin, Michael Courtney, Kyle Dixon, Bryan Mollen; Jack McDermott, Brian Slater; Eric O’Sullivan, Paddy Finlay, Andy Keating, Jack Burke (capt), Raef Tyrrell, Pierce Dargan, Dermot O’Flynn, Tom Ryan.
Replacements: Jack Boland, Tom Collis, Cian O’Dwyer, Roghan Osborne, James Fennelly.
GARRYOWEN: Andrew O’Byrne; Steve McMahon, Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham, Dave McCarthy, Liam Coombes; Peadar Collins, Neil Cronin (capt); Barry McNamara, Niall Horan, Mike O’Donnell, Barra O’Byrne, Paul McCarroll, Diarmuid Barron, Johnny Keane, Bailey Faloon.
Replacements: Anson Thai, Sean O’Connor, Dara Shanahan, Mikey Wilson, Sam Wilson.
St Mary’s College 20-13 Terenure College
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Ian Nagle. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO
Leinster lock Ian Nagle was among the try scorers as St. Mary’s College deservedly won the ‘Battle of Dublin 6W’, prevailing 20-13 at home to Terenure College.
Nagle featured in the Mary’s second row for this well-attended local derby, partnering his provincial colleague Rhys Ruddock’s older brother Ciaran. The home pack also included Ulster lock Alan O’Connor’s younger sibling David.
Four players who provincial experience also featured for the visitors – Conor Finn, Sam Coghlan Murray, Oisin Heffernan and Harrison Brewer – but they were disrupted by an early ankle injury to full-back James O’Donoghue.
Mary’s drew first blood, capitalising on a ‘Nure knock-on to send O’Donoghue’s opposite number Terry Kennedy skating over in the corner for a 12th-minute try converted by Dave Fanagan.
After Jake Swaine hit the post with a Terenure penalty, the hosts executed a terrific maul closing in on half-time and Corkman Nagle was credited with the unconverted score out wide.
Swaine managed to close the gap to 12-3 at the break with his only penalty success of the afternoon, however the setbacks kept coming for ‘Nure as centre Finn went off injured and hooker Robbie Smyth was sent to the sin-bin.
Mary’s took full advantage to move into a 17-3 lead, some excellent interplay close to the touchline – albeit with what looked a forward pass – freeing up out-half Fanagan for a run to the line in the 53rd minute.
Credit to Terenure, who remain second from bottom in the standings, they bounced back to score two tries in the final 14 minutes with Stephen O’Neill going over in the corner and fellow replacement Conor Weakliam finishing off a cracking break by winger Swaine.
Fanagan sandwiched in a penalty at the other end to see Jamie Cornett’s side complete a season’s double over their neighbours – they were 17-13 winners at Lakelands in October. The result has moved them up one place to fifth in the table, 11 points behind the top four, while ‘Nure’s late rally saw them claim a hard-earned losing bonus point which could yet prove important.
ST. MARY’S COLLEGE: Terry Kennedy; Ian O’Neill, Darren Moroney, Marcus O’Driscoll, Conor Hogan; Dave Fanagan, Paddy O’Driscoll; Tom O’Reilly, Richard Halpin, Brian McGovern (capt), Ciaran Ruddock, Ian Nagle, David O’Connor, Hugh Kelleher, Kevin Sheahan.
Replacements: Hugo Kean, Cathal Ryan, Cathal O’Flaherty, Jack Dilger, Nick McCarthy.
TERENURE COLLEGE: James O’Donoghue; Jake Swaine, Conor Finn, Robbie Carroll, Sam Coghlan Murray; Mark O’Neill, Kevin O’Neill; Gary Hamilton, Robbie Smyth, Oisin Heffernan, Mike Murphy, Kyle McCoy (capt), Stephen Caffrey, Harrison Brewer, Eoin Joyce.
Replacements: Adam Clarkin, Cian Madden, John Dever, Conor Weakliam, Stephen O’Neill.
UCD 20-13 Young Munster
Young Munster’s Alan Tynan. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO
Leinster prop Andrew Porter scored a crucial try for UCD as they overturned a half-time deficit to defeat second-placed Young Munster 20-13 at the Belfield Bowl.
In a week in which Porter’s first senior contract with the province was confirmed, the powerful 21-year-old returned to club duty with UCD and helped them to their first win in three games.
Young Munster were back in action just five days on from their Munster Senior Cup final loss to Cork Constitution and they were missing a couple of key men in centre Cian Bohane, the scorer of two late tries against Garryowen and St. Mary’s recently, and talismanic captain Sean Duggan.
It was a real Jekyll and Hyde first half performance from UCD who shot into an early 6-0 lead thanks to two Matthew Gilsenan penalties but suffered three yellow cards before the interval.
In windy conditions, Tipperary youngster Alan Tynan kicked a penalty and then added a superb touchline conversion to his half-back partner Rob Guerin’s late try. However, there was still time for Gilsenan to answer back with his third penalty success before referee Mark Patton’s half-time whistle.
Once restored to their full complement, UCD forced the issue again with their scrum getting on top – Porter showed his versatility on the tighthead side – and skipper Jamie Glynn scampering up the touchline on a day of rare breaks.
Surefooted out-half Gilsenan kicked the home side back in front with another penalty in the rain before his own tap-and-go sparked a frenzied attacking spell – upwards of 20 phases – which ended with Porter barging over for a 64th minute try.
Tynan made it a four-point game with a fine long range strike, but despite ending the match with 14 men, Gilsenan completed his 15-point kicking contribution by punishing a tackle without the ball on Sean McNulty with five minutes remaining.
Andy Skehan’s victors are back up to sixth spot in the top flight standings, while Young Munster face a real battle to hold onto that home semi-final place – Cork Constitution and defending champions Clontarf are now only one and two points behind them respectively.
UCD: Billy Dardis; Hugo Keenan, Jamie Glynn (capt), Jimmy O’Brien, Tom Fletcher; Matthew Gilsenan, Nick McCarthy; Gordon Frayne, Sean McNulty, Andrew Porter, Emmet MacMahon, Brian Cawley, Josh Murphy, Will Connors, Greg Jones.
Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Liam Hyland, Sean McKeon, Nick Peters, Stephen Murphy.
YOUNG MUNSTER: Shane Airey; Tom McHale, James O’Connor, Craig O’Hanlon, Michael Vaughan; Alan Tynan, Rob Guerin; David Begley, Ger Slattery (capt), Colm Skehan, Alan Kennedy, Michael Madden, Darren Ryan, Dan Walsh, Gavin Coombes.
Replacements: Conor Bartley, Mark O’Mara, Tom Goggin, Elie Mundu, Gary Fitzgerald.
Cork Constitution 16-10 Old Belvedere
Cork Con’s Luke Cahill. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO
Cork Constitution hit Old Belvedere with 11 unanswered points in the second half of their hard-fought 16-10 victory at Temple Hill this afternoon.
Bottom side Belvedere battled hard throughout, but Luke Cahill’s 68th-minute try, sandwiched by Tomas Quinlan’s brace of penalties, saw Con deny them in what was a very tight contest.
Winless in the last four rounds, ‘Belvo were 32-0 losers when they visited Con last season. However, this time around, Paul O’Keefe’s early penalty and a well-taken 18th-minute try from returning full-back Daniel Riordan had them 10 points to the good.
The weather conditions played their part in a forwards-dominated game and Con, with last Sunday’s Munster Senior Cup success impacting their selection and overall performance here, struggled to make an impact until lock Brian Hayes’ unconverted try before half-time.
That gave the hosts something to build on at 10-5 down and they gradually wore the Dublin 4 outfit down, left-footed out-half Quinlan making it a two-point game with just a quarter of an hour remaining.
Brian Hickey’s charges had dug themselves out of a hole away to Terenure in the last round and another strong finish here paid dividends as they closed to within a single point of second-placed Young Munster in the table.
Tireless number 8 Cahill forced his way over for a well-taken score and although the conversion was missed, Quinlan followed up with a successful penalty to give his side a winning cushion late on.
CORK CONSTITUTION: Liam O’Connell; JJ O’Neill, Ned Hodson, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Tomas Quinlan, John Poland; Liam O’Connor, Max Abbott, Ger Sweeney, Brian Hayes, Conor Kindregan, Graeme Lawler, James Murphy, Luke Cahill.
Replacements: Vincent O’Brien, Gavin Duffy, Cian Barry, Jason Higgins, Luke Duffy.
OLD BELVEDERE: Daniel Riordan; Shane McDonald, John Kennedy (capt), Peter Robb, Aaron Sheehan; Paul O’Keefe, Charlie Rock; James McWilliams-Gray, Cathal O’Flynn, Adam Howard, Jack Kelly, Connor Owende, Karl Miller, Michael Oyuga.
Replacements: Killian O’Neill, Jonathan Inglis, Matt Ritani, Tom de Jongh, Simon Killeen.
Clontarf 12-3 Lansdowne
Castle Avenue (played on Friday)
Clontarf won the competition last year. Source: Colm O’Neill/INPHO
Defending champions Clontarf have closed to within two points of second-placed Young Munster following last night’s hard-earned 12-3 victory over Lansdowne at Castle Avenue.
Out-half David Joyce kicked all 12 of Clontarf’s points in this keenly-contested Friday Night Lights encounter, and after Scott Deasy was off target from a late penalty, Lansdowne came away empty-handed from their fourth league defeat of 2016/17.
The two sides have evenly shared the last four Division 1A titles, but with 10 wins under their belt, Lansdowne entered this game with an enviable seven-point lead at the top of the table.
‘Tarf were boosted by a recent bonus point away success over Old Belvedere, however, and they took the lead here after just four minutes. Joyce had kicked to touch from an early penalty, but after Lansdowne were penalised inside their own 22, the reliable number 10 make no mistake with his first kick at goal in tough and muddy conditions.
‘Tarf were forcing the visitors into the concession of numerous penalties and Joyce duly doubled his side’s lead in the 14th minute. They suffered a set back just beyond the first quarter, as former Ireland Under-20 prop Vakhtang Abdaladze was forced off through injury and replaced by the returning Ivan Soroka.
However, another successful Joyce penalty moved the north Dubliners into a nine-point advantage, and with Lansdowne second row Josh O’Rourke sent to the sin-bin on 28 minutes, ‘Tarf were aiming to push on for the remainder of the half.
Yet, Lansdowne held firm in defence, and ex-Cork Constitution and Munster out-half Scott Deasy reduced their half-time arrears to six points (9-3) with a superb penalty strike from distance.
This kept the league leaders within range of their hosts as the action resumed, and even though try-scoring opportunities were few and far between throughout the contest, Lansdowne gained a significant amount of possession during the early stages of the second half.
Crucially, ‘Tarf were quite disciplined without the ball, and when Joyce stepped forward for his fourth place-kick of the night 16 minutes after the restart, he split the posts again in confident style.
Lansdowne now had a mountain to climb in the closing quarter, but as the final whistle approached, they managed to establish a foothold inside the ‘Tarf 22. A powerful drive towards the whitewash almost yielded a try for Mike Ruddock’s men, but strong work from the opposition rearguard held them up just shy of the line.
When Deasy opted for the posts from a distance of 25 metres in the final play, it looked like like Lansdowne would secure a losing bonus point. His kick drifted past the right hand post, though, and Clontarf were able to celebrate four hard-earned points for themselves and none for one of their main title rivals.
CLONTARF: Jack Power; Rob Keogh, Michael Browne, Matt D’Arcy, Mick McGrath; David Joyce, Sam Cronin; Vakhtang Abdaladze, Jason Harris-Wright, Royce Burke-Flynn, Ben Reilly (capt), James Doyle, Tony Ryan, Karl Moran, Michael Noone.
Replacements: Jonathan Larbey, Neil Reilly, Ivan Soroka, Mark Sutton, Sean Long.
LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Daniel McEvoy, John O’Donnell, Mark Roche, Mark O’Keefe; Scott Deasy, Matthew D’Arcy; Jacob Walshe, James Rael, Ian Prendiville (capt), Josh O’Rourke, Stephen Gardiner, Joe McSwiney, Charlie Butterworth, Willie Earle.
Replacements: Tyrone Moran, Greg McGrath, Philip Donnellan, Alan Bennie, Charlie McMickan.
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