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AIB League: Division Three Round-Up

AIB League: Division Three Round-Up

Reigning Division Three champions Bruff had to overcome two broken down buses, a lack of sleep and a spritely City of Derry side on Saturday to record their first win of the new AIB League campaign.

AIB LEAGUE – DIVISION THREE: Saturday, October 27-Sunday, October 28


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Ards 0 Midleton 13, Hamilton Park
City of Derry 11 Bruff 26, Judges Road
Nenagh Ormond 15 Corinthians 8, New Ormond Park
Old Wesley 20 Instonians 28, Donnybrook
Queen’s University 35 Naas 8, Dub Lane
Rainey Old Boys 8 Banbridge 26, Hatrick Park
Waterpark 15 County Carlow 6, Ballinakill
Sunday’s Well 14 Connemara 5, Musgrave Park (played Sunday)

Tries from Garry Leonard, captain Cathal O’Regan, Brian Cahill and Mike Carroll inspired Bruff to an opening day bonus point victory – their third sucessive league win over City of Derry.

Eugene Murnane’s side ended the game with two men in the sin bin but they did enough over the opening hour to boss the Judges Road encounter.

Bruff’s determination to fulfil this fixture was really tested on Friday night when their team bus broke down in Roscrea as they attempted to make Derry before nightfall.

Off hopped the coaching staff, Regan and his team-mates, a meal was had, a replacement bus found but said bus frustratingly came to a suddering halt 150 metres from the toll bridge on the M50.

With traffic whizzing by, the Gardai were quickly on the scene and the Bruff party departed to Bewleys Hotel where a third coach picked them up. Setting off for the north in heavy fog, the Limerick men finally got to their Derry hotel at shortly before 4am on Saturday morning.

After such an arduous trip, it was a credit to Bruff that they played so well in the first half – and into a very strong wind. Leonard, O’Regan and Cahill all touched down with the latter converting all three tries for a 21-6 half-time lead.

Derry’s points came from the boot of captain Ioane Ioane and while the hosts did add a try through new signing Colin Mitchell in the second period, Bruff’s fourth try from Carroll confirmed the away win. Even with both Cahill and Brendan Deady ending the game in the sin bin.

Bruff have an trio of Ulster clubs for company at the top of the table, as Queen’s University, Banbridge and Instonians all notched bonus point victories on the opening day.

In former Irish international Brian Robinson’s first league match in charge, Queen’s were comfortable 35-8 winners over Naas, who were returning to the league after an absence of three seasons.

The Kildare men were first off the mark at Dub Lane with David Aherne’s penalty giving them a 3-0 lead for half-time. Has Naas made more of their chances, they could have been further in front but the hosts took over in the second half.

Although player-coach Andy Melville did cross the whitewash for Naas, the students held all the aces with Chris Cochrane (2), Alex Houston, Ian Whitten and David McIlwaine all grabbing tries, with Ian Porter adding the extras to all five.

Former Ireland out-half Niall Malone also have a 100% return from conversions as Instonians edged out Old Wesley on a scoreline of 28-20 at Donnybrook.

Having lost their last three league games against Instonians, Wesley were determined to gain revenge and they raced into a 17-0 lead. Backed by a brisk wind, the Dubliners held the edge at the breakdown and an early Alan Large penalty saw them hit the front.

Then a neat phase of play involving backs and forwards led to centre Brian Doherty dotting down in the 15th-minute. Quick ruck ball led to Colin Wallace crashing over soon after for the hosts’ second converted try.

However, two defensive errors from Wesley allowed Instonians get back in touch before the break. Tries from new full-back Joshua Devitt, who profited from a quick tap penalty, and former Ireland Under-19 international Jamie Smith whittled Wesley’s lead down to 17-14.

Large booted his second penalty to make it a six-point game but the Inst pack got on top for the final quarter and converted tries from influential forwards Adam Telford and Gary Mitchell saw the Belfast side triumph.

Former Munster favourite Jason Holland, in his second season as coach, helped Midleton to a 13-0 victory at Ards. The Kiwi kicked two penalties and converted Kieran Wall’s try.

A sterling effort from the Banbridge pack set up their 26-8 win over Rainey Old Boys at Hatrick Park. A try which started under the visitors’ posts ended with centre Gareth Martin touching down.

7-3 leaders at the interval, Bann added tries from Stuart Wilson, Paul Tamati and Claude Crawford, who ran in a fine intercept score, to complete a satisfying return to the AIB League for coach Andre Bester.

Full-back Gary Jones showed good accuracy as he kicked five penalties to guide Waterpark to a 15-6 win over County Carlow at Ballinakill. The midlanders’ points came from two Greg Jacobs penalties.

Meanwhile, tries from Niall O’Brien and Liam Guiry, allied to five points from the boot of John Lillis, steered Nenagh Ormond to a 15-8 success against Corinthians at New Ormond Park.

Corinthians still took a losing bonus point back home thanks to a Ronnie Ferguson try and a penalty from Frenchman Aurelien Casanova.

On Sunday afternoon at Musgrave Park, Sunday’s Well got their league run off to a winning start as they beat Connemara 14-5. They made the perfect start when winger Dave Twohig scored out wide after two good runs from new signings Tila Toailoa and Tumaile Tasola.

Centre Jono Lynch missed the conversion but he was on target with a penalty, late in the first half, as the ‘Well took an 8-0 lead into the second half.

Connemara came out fighting after the restart and dominated the third quarter, both in possession and territory, and only some ferocious tackling from the hosts, most notably from Declan Coppinger kept the westerners at bay.

Henry O’Toole’s men did get over for an unconverted try with prop Kevin Ward credited with the score, but a brace of late penalties from Lynch – after 68 and 70 minutes – saw the Cork side home and denied Connemara a deserved bonus point.