Leaders Cork Constitution and second placed Shannon both lost at home in the AIB League, Con losing 22-10 to Buccaneers, and Shannon, 37-27 to Ballymena
Leaders Cork Constitution and second placed Shannon both lost at home on Saturday in the AIB League, Con losing 22-10 to Buccaneers, and Shannon, 37-27 to Ballymena.
Despite the losses Con and Shannon remain first and second but the race to fill the next two places hotted up considerably with Blackrock winning 16-9 at home to UCD and Belfast Harlequins beating Co Carlow 24-13 in Oak Park.
In Temple Hill, Con took the lead with a Derek Dillon try after five minutes before Buccaneers wrested the initiative from the home side and a 17th try from number 8 David Kelly converted by David Connellan left the visitors 7-5 in front at the break.
Fifteen minutes into the restart Buccs extended their lead when Martin Cahill burst over for a try, Connellan again adding the points and he added a drop-goal to leave his side 17-5 in front. Con threatened a trademark comeback with a late try but Buccs had the final say when Gavin Schoeman scored a third try in injury time.
In Thomond Park, Shannon and Ballymena played out a 64 point cracker, the northern side ending up 37-27 winners. The basis of their victory was laid in the opening quarter when they scored 23 unanswered points. Andy Maxwell scored two tries in that period Steve McConnell scored a third and in that opening half Ian Humphreys landed two drop-goals, a penalty and a conversion. Shannon staged a great fight-back and tries from Tony Buckley, David Keane and Eoin Cahill had them just five points (26-21) behind at half-time with the wind in their backs for the second.
They narrowed the gap when Tommy Cregan kicked a penalty just after the re-start but Maxwell then completed his hat-trick and the respective kickers completed the scoring for their sides.
In Stradbrook, three Conor Kilroy penalties had the home side 9-6 up at the break but Phillip Bredin landed his third successful effort in the 64th minute to tie the game. Kilroy saw two further efforts come back off the woodwork but with seconds of normal time remaining, Michael Price touched down in the corner and Kilroy’s conversion was bang on target to give Blackrock a 16-9 victory.
Lansdowne trailed 21-10 at half-time of their game with Clontarf and were still in arrears (26-20), and stuck in their own 22, with the full-time whistle just moments away. However, Johnny Murphy instigated a last gasp counter-attack that ended with a try from Jim O’Donovan and Shane Whelan displayed nerves of steel to bang over the conversion for the narrowest of victories.
Division 1 AIB League.
Cork Constitution 10 – 22 Buccaneers
Co. Carlow 13 – 24 Belfast Harlequins
Blackrock College 16 – 9 U.C.D.
Dolphin 3 – 20 Galwegians
Lansdowne 27 – 26 Clontarf
Shannon 27 – 37 Ballymena
St. Mary’s College 34 – 13 Dungannon
Division 2 AIB League
Bective Rangers 6 – 6 Ballynahinch
Dublin University 12 – 9 D.L.S.P.
Midleton 9 – 9 Waterpark
Old Belvedere 26 – 22 Malone
Old Crescent 29 – 28 Sunday’s Well
Terenure College 28 – 10 Barnhall
Young Munster 3 – 21 Thomond
Division 3 AIB League
Ards 48 – 18 Wanderers
Suttonians 35 – 16 Old Wesley
Greystones 29 – 16 Portadown
Highfield 13 – 10 Clonakilty
Skerries 13 – 44 Queens University
Connemara 15 – 13 City of Derry