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AIB League: Dungannon Cling On Against Nure, Stones Miss Out In Cork

AIB League: Dungannon Cling On Against Nure, Stones Miss Out In Cork

Dungannon had to dig deep to see off Terenure College as they conceded four second half tries before claiming a 31-30 victory over the Dubliners, while Barry Keeshan’s 18-point kicking haul guided Dolphin past Greystones at Musgrave Park on a 23-14 scoreline.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Saturday, October 27

DUNGANNON 31 TERENURE COLLEGE 30, Stevenson Park

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Scorers: Dungannon: Tries: Paul Magee, Neil Patterson, Thomas Anderson; Cons: Adam Larkin 2; Pens: John McGuckin, Adam Larkin 2; Drop: Andrew Holmes
Terenure College: Tries: Anthony Ronan 2, Conor Connolly, John Bollard; Cons: David McAllister 2; Pens: David McAllister 2

23-12 winners in last season’s corresponding fixture at Lakelands Park, Terenure travelled north hoping to bounce back from last weekend’s AIB Cup second round defeat to Clontarf.

But Kevin West’s were left playing catch-up early on as Dungannon, helped by the inclusion of Ulster half-backs Adam Larkin and Kieran Campbell and flanker David Pollock, cantered into a considerable lead.

Hoping to hand new coach John Andrews his first league win, Dungannon nipped into a 6-3 lead by the quarter-hour with a Larkin penalty and an Andrew Holmes drop goal sandwiched a penalty from ‘Nure’s former Leinster out-half David McAllister.

Playing an expansive style of rugby, the Tyrone men boosted their lead on 23 minutes when a Larkin kick through caused problems for the Dubliners and good work from Campbell and Dale Black led to centre Paul Magee touching down under the posts.

Larkin added the conversion and things got even better for Andrews’ side when turnover ball allowed winger Neil Patterson to race clean through from 70 metres out for try number two.

McAllister steadied Terenure somewhat with a pinpoint penalty but ‘Gannon registered their third try, seven minutes before the interval, when young captain and number eight Thomas Anderson barged over beside the posts after some good interplay between the backs. Larkin’s conversion handed the hosts a 28-6 buffer for half-time.Conor Connolly.

Full-back John McGuckin then kicked a penalty but that prove to be ‘Gannon’s last score of the match as West’s men began to take the game by the scruff of the neck, exposing the hosts’ defence at will.

McGuckin became the second ‘Gannon player to see yellow – he was banished for a deliberate knock on – and home nerves jangled as Terenure hooker Anthony Ronan crossed for a 72nd-minute try.

The game was on a knife edge as a John Bollard try cut the gap to 31-25. But ‘Gannon’s prayers were answered when after ‘Nure’s fourth try, scored in the third minute of injury-time by Ronan, McAllister’s conversion attempt was wide of the mark and the hosts held on for victory by the slimmest of margins.

The most impressive unit on show was undoubtedly the ‘Gannon back row of Neville Magee, Pollock and Anderson, while a mention must also go to Terenure scrum half Mark Mahony and flanker Brian Moroney who both worked tirelessly throughout.

DOLPHIN 23 GREYSTONES 14, Musgrave Park

Scorers: Dolphin: Try: Duncan Richardson; Pens: Barry Keeshan 4; Drops: Barry Keeshan 2
Greystones: Tries: David McKechnie 2; Cons: Reinhard Gerber 2

Full-back David McKechnie’s brace of tries were not enough to prevent Greystones from losing on their return to Division One rugby, as Dolphin came from behind for a 23-14 win.

Beaten 36-0 by Highfield in the Munster Senior Cup last weekend, Dolphin scored a morale-boosting victory, particularly when you consider that they had lost their last three home games in the AIB League.

McKechnie scored in both halves – winger Reinhard Gerber converted both tries – but four penalties and two drop goals from the boot of out-half Barry Keeshan, allied to a Duncan Richardson try, saw Dolphin come out on top.

McKechnie scorched over for a breakaway try after seven minutes to confirm Greystones’ intent but the visitors never really got on top and in a game littered with mistakes, Dolphin were content to kick their points.

The wind and rain disrupted both teams’ attacks and made handling particularly difficult and it is a credit to both sides that they served up some entertaining fare.

Keeshan, capped as an AIB Club international, kicked a brace of penalties for Dolphin’s only points of the opening period and the game took a twist just before the break when ‘Stones had their number eight, former Bath Academy player Fraser Cliverd, sent to the sin bin.

That allowed Dolphin to take advantage and they did with the accurate Keeshan landing a succession of well-struck kicks – two drop goals and two penalties – to move the Corkmen into an 18-7 lead.

It got even better for David O’Mahony’s side when centre Richardson crossed for a 70th-minute try which went unconverted.

With the last act of the game, McKechnie cut through for his second try, following a line break by out-half Mark Geraghty, but it was only a consolation score as Dolphin claimed their fourth straight league win over ‘Stones.