Clontarf 22 Ballymena 23, Castle Avenue
Scorers: Clontarf: Tries: Alan Trenier, Niall Carson, Derek Keane, Penalty try; Con: Ian Keatley
Ballymena: Tries: Craig Woods, Adrian Kirkpatrick; Cons: Donovan Raw 2; Pens: Donovan Raw 3
Ballymena picked up their first win of the current AIB League campaign as they beat Clontarf 23-22 at Castle Avenue thanks to a late Donovan Raw penalty.
The Braidmen came from 22-13 behind to beat Clontarf for the eighth time in 12 league games. Tries from lock Alan Trenier, hooker Niall Carson and winger Derek Keane helped the Dubliners into a 15-10 interval lead.
They tagged on a penalty try, but tries from winger Craig Woods and prop Adrian Kirkpatrick and out-half Rawâ00s 13-point kicking contribution saw the visitors come out on top.
Ballymena ventured south looking to gain some revenge from last Marchâ00s 36-6 league defeat to the same opposition at their Eaton Park base.
Coach Jacques Benade was able to include Ulster centre Seamus Mallon in his side, while Clontarf stuck with the young half-back partnership of Ian Keatley and Paul Oâ00Donohoe that served them so well in last weekendâ00s 31-15 win at St. Maryâ00s College.
In what was a dour game dominated by the windy conditions, Ballymena had the benefit of the elements in the opening half but â00Tarf frustrated them by holding onto possession for long stretches.
â00Tarfâ00s back row unit of Simon Crawford, New Zealander Chris Elvin and Martin Garvey were to the fore and the hosts took a first quarter lead thanks to Trenierâ00s try, with Keatley supplying the try-scoring pass.
A similar maul effort led to Carsonâ00s score and Keane had the strength and speed to make the corner late in the half. At the other end, a neat back-line move led to Woods crossing the whitewash, with Rawâ00s penalty and conversion ensuring that the visitors were only five points behind.
A penalty try, which came as Ballymena pulled down a maul close to their posts, edged the Dubliners further clear but that was as good as it got for Andy Woodâ00s men.
Keatley and Donohoe were not having much influence on the proceedings and the boot of South African recruit Raw helped Ballymena get back in touch.
He kicked two penalties, either side of Kirkpatrickâ00s seven-pointer, to see Benadeâ00s charges claim a much-needed win â00 their first win in ten AIB League games. Their last victory was back in the first week of January (40-10 away to UCD).
Blackrock College 29 Dungannon 22, Stradbrook
Scorers: Blackrock: Tries: Fionn Carr, Gary Brown, Shane Monahan 2; Cons: Fionn Carr 3; Pen: Fionn Carr
Dungannon: Tries: Dale Black, Michael Rainey, Paul Magee; Cons: John McGuckin 2; Pen; John McGuckin
Blackrock College beat Dungannon to gain their first win of the new AIB League campaign, with Leinster â00Aâ00 player Fionn Carr tallying up 14 points in the 29-22 success at Stradbrook.
Leinster winger Gary Brown and former Leinster and Ireland hooker Shane Byrne both started for â00Rock with the Stradbrook residents notching their bonus point try by the 53rd-minute.
A converted try and penalty from full-back Carr had â00Rock leading 10-3 at half-time and tries from wingers Brown and Shane Monahan (2) followed. 29-3 down, Dungannon salvaged a losing bonus point with tries from Dale Black, Michael Rainey and Paul Magee.
Having only won once in their last eleven visits to Leinster, Dungannon travelled south hoping to make amends for some previous missed opportunities â00 including last Saturdayâ00s 23-13 reversal at UCD.
â00Rock, who were pipped 24-23 at Terenure College seven days ago, have kept largely the same side together over the past three weeks but were bolstered by the addition this afternoon of Leinster man Brown, whose pace has lit up many an AIB League match.
The hosts hit the front in the seventh-minute when Carr converted a penalty and they moved 10-0 clear in the 25th-minute thanks to a well-taken try and conversion from the same player.
Dungannon full-back John McGuckin, kicking in the absence of regulars Richard McCarter and Adam Larkin, landed a 33rd-minute penalty for the visitorsâ00 only points of the opening half.
â00Gannon were caught off guard just a minute after the restart though as Brown used his pace to finish over an excellent â00Rock move in the corner â00 15-3.
â00Rock were beginning to dominate up front and with things clicking behind the scrum, winger Monahan, a member of Ireland Under-20sâ00 Grand Slam-winning side, cut loose.
He scored his two tries after 48 and 53 minutes to race the hosts into a 29-3, with Carr converting both efforts. â00Gannon lost winger Dale Black to the sin bin during this time.
â00Rock also had a player yellow carded â00 back rower Darren Hayes walked in the 52nd-minute for a technical offence â00 and this seemed to spark the beginning of the Tyrone sideâ00s comeback.
Black returned to score their first try. Lock Rainey bulldozed over in the 70th-minute and in the final minute of normal time, outside centre Magee crashed through to earn a losing bonus for his side at 29-22.
The result moves â00Rock up to eleventh in the Division One table, while Dungannon have slipped down to twelfth ahead of next weekendâ00s visit of bottom side Greystones to Stevenson Park.