18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
Tries from Robert Sweeney, Peter Woods, Derek Keane and Mark Woods helped Clontarf come from behind to beat Dungannon 30-20 in the First Round of the AIB Cup on Saturday.
AIB CUP: FIRST ROUND: Saturday, December 17
Clontarf 30 Dungannon 20, Castle Avenue
Scorers: Clontarf: Tries: Robert Sweeney, Peter Woods, Derek Keane, Mark Woods; Cons: Conor O'Daly, Peter O'Brien; Pens: O'Brien 2
Dungannon: Tries: Neil Patterson, Dale Black; Cons: Gareth Steenson 2; Pens: Steenson 2
Dungannon failed to repeat their AIB League Division One win over the north Dubliners from October (6-3) - despite being 20-0 up midway through the first half.
In what turned over to be a gripping AIB Cup tie, Clontarf, and in particular their powerful pack of forwards, took a stranglehold on the game in the second half, helping the home side to a match-winning haul of 23 points.
It was 'Gannon's backs who dominated the first quarter. Full-back Neil Patterson, a late replacement for Ulster and Ireland winger Tyrone Howe, who injured himself in the warm-up, and former Portadown winger Dale Black both grabbed early touchdowns.
Fly-half Gareth Steenson converted both tries and added two penalties for a 20-0 lead. A close range try from 'Tarf prop Robert Sweeney, converted by full-back Conor O'Daly, reduced the arrears to 20-7 just three minutes before half-time.
'Tarf stepped up their efforts right from the second half's kick-off as winger Peter Woods finished off a neat inter-passing move to score within seconds. Gradually, Phil Werahiko's men were turning the screw - on 67 minutes, winger Derek Keane - Division One's top try scorer (5) - raced through for another try after 'Gannon's scrum had been shunted off the ball.
Replacement full-back Peter O'Brien then tagged on two penalties for a 23-20 lead and fly-half Mark Woods made certain of 'Tarf's passage through to February's last-eight by crossing the 'Gannon whitewash in the last minute.
De La Salle Palmerston 13 Buccaneers 50, Kilternan
Scorers: DLSP: Try: Damien McCabe; Con: McCabe; Pens: Phil de Barra
Buccaneers: Tries: Tom Cregan 3, Conor O'Loughlin 2, Conor Hartigan, Conor Lavelle, Paddy O'Sullivan; Cons: Cregan 5
Full-back Tom Cregan grabbed a pre-Christmas bounty of point as Buccaneers ran riot for a well-merited win against Division Two side DLSP.
The Kilternan host quaked in the second half as Cregan ran in for three tries and topped his contribution off with five conversions for 25-point haul. The on-song Pirates scored eight tries in all to ease through to February's AIB Cup quarter-finals.
Flanker Conor Hartigan, Connacht scrum half Conor O'Loughlin and centre Paddy O'Sullivan all scored in the first half as Buccs led 19-6 at the break. DLSP's points came from two penalties by winger Phil de Barra.
Cregan then got motoring on the try-count in the second half with O'Loughlin (again) and winger Conor Lavelle also crossing the whitewash in the landslide win. Salmo centre Damien McCabe managed a consolation try for the home side, which he converted himself.
Belfast Harlequins 50 Suttonians 12, Deramore Park
Scorers: Harlequins: Tries: Johnny Lowe 3, Mike McKeever, Mark Kettyle, Reece Spee, Paul McKenzie, Stuart Philpott; Cons: Michael Glancy 3, Johnny McClaughlin 2
Suttonians: Tries: Anthony Ronan, Joe McDonagh; Con: Paddy Maguire
Suttonians proved no match for Division One side Belfast Harlequins at Deramore Park as 'Quins scored an easy 50-12 First Round success.
The hosts ran in eight tries, in all, against Suttonians, who are perched in mid-table in Division Three. Andy Ward's men were always on top, and three tries from wingers Johnny Lowe (2) and Paul McKenzie inside the opening 17 minutes had them 17-0 in front.
Suttonians hit back with a try from hooker Anthony Ronan before the break, but the deficit was still 24-5.
Ward's charges ran in five tries in the second half - centre Mike McKeever, full-back Mark Kettyle, scrum half Reece Spee and hooker Stuart Philpott all got off the mark with Lowe bagging his hat-trick on 78 minutes. The impressive Spee and replacement centre Nopera Stewart were the dominant broken-field runners in the final quarter, in which 'Quins bagged three tries.
Flanker Joe McDonagh had scored the Dubliners' second try in the third quarter, which they dominated, with number 10 Paddy Maguire converting.
Dolphin 7 Garryowen 33, Musgrave Park
Scorers: Dolphin: Try: Aidan O'Shea; Con: Barry Keeshan
Garryowen: Tries: Cillian O'Boyle 2, John O'Sullivan, Anthony Kavanagh, Kevin Hartigan; Cons: Paul Burke 4
Garryowen, unbeaten in six Division One games this winter, had little trouble in seeing off Dolphin 33-7 at Musgrave Park.
Tries from winger Cillian O'Boyle (2), Munster number 8 John O'Sullivan, flanker Anthony Kavanagh and centre Kevin Hartigan saw the Limerick men in dominant form.
The result looked done and dusted with the visitors 26-0 in front at half-time. Garryowen scored four of their five tries inside the opening 20 minutes.
Dolphin regrouped well to at least draw the second half - winger Aidan O'Shea scored the visitors' sole try to cancel out O'Boyle's second. Dolphin also lost their inspirational captain James Coughlan to a yellow card midway through the second half.
Terenure College 19 Malone 12, Lakelands Park
Scorers: Terenure: Tries: Alex Dunlop, Kevin Mahony; Pens: Conor Gildea, David McAllister; Drop: Brian Flanagan
Malone: Tries: John Anderson 2; Con: Philip Coulter
Division Two leaders Terenure did just enough to deserve their seven-point win at Lakelands.
Kevin West's side were off their usual league pace and almost paid the price as Malone dominated the exchanges for a good chunk of the time. It was all of 65 minutes before 'Nure took a slight stranglehold on the scoreboard.
Midway through the first half, former Ireland Under-21 back row Alex Dunlop was allowed too much lattitude to finish off a solid attack from the home pack in the right corner. The conversion was missed, and Malone deservedly squared matters up at 5-5 when some solid attacking from Simon Cahill and Rhys Botha sent centre John Anderson in for an unconverted try.
'Nure fly-half Conor Gildea booted a penalty early in the second half but the visitors hit the front for the first time, ten minutes in, when Anderson crossed for his second try through some poor tackles.
Scrum half Philip Coulter converted for 12-8, however replacement hooker Kevin Mahony's 62nd-minute try, allied to a late penalty from sub fly-half Dave McAllister and a drop goal from winger Brian Flanagan, saw the Dubliners win out.