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AIB League: Division 1 Round Up

AIB League: Division 1 Round Up

Shannon go top after a slogging it out with Cork Con, Belvo move clear of the drop zone and ‘Rock knock Dolphin.


Old Belvedere 15-3 Ballymena



Old Belvedere grabbed their second straight AIB League win when defeating Ballymena at Anglesea Road.


Belvo moved up one place in the Division One standings to twelfth with Polish prop Marcin Wilczuk and flanker and captain David Shanley scoring a try in each half.


An 18th-minute penalty from scrum half Craig Woods was all Ballymena had to show for a well-contested first half.


They trailed by 8-3 at half-time and Shanley’s try, converted by goal-kicker Richie Murphy, was enough to see the Dubliners to victory.


Scorers:


Old Belvedere: Tries: Marcin Wilczuk, David Shanley; Con: Richie Murphy; Pen: Richie Murphy
Ballymena: Pen: Craig Woods


Galwegians 3-3 Lansdowne


Galwegians and Lansdowne shared the spoils in an uneventful Division One clash at Crowley Park.


A penalty kick apiece from Lansdowne centre Justin Meagher (20 minutes) and Galwegians out-half Cormac O’Beirne (22) produced the first ever draw between these sides in the AIB League.


Lansdowne had the wind in the opening half but some poor passing and crooked lineouts let them down.


‘Wegians missed out on a kickable penalty when scrum half Robbie Shaw ill-advisedly took a quick tap and O’Beirne also missed a monster attempt at goal.


Scorers:


Galwegians: Pen: Cormac O’Beirne
Lansdowne: Pen: Justin Meagher


Shannon 3-0 Cork Constitution


Shannon moved top of the AIB League Division One table by outlasting their Munster rivals Cork Constitution at a sodden Coonagh this afternoon.


Shannon V Cork Con


Previous leaders Con lost for the first time this season thanks to an early penalty kick from Shannon veteran Andrew Thompson.


Thompson’s kick saw Shannon turn around at half-time with a 3-0 buffer, after they had the better of the atrocious weather conditions.


Con mounted a concerted comeback late on and pounded away at the Shannon line in injury-time but Shannon’s defence was defiantly resolute.


Meeting for the 20th time in the AIB League, these two heavyweights of the domestic game slugged it out in a game that was confined largely between the two 22s.


Shannon have caught up with Con and passed them out in the league table, won back the Munster Senior Cup and begun the year by qualifying for the AIB Cup quarter-finals and securing first place in the Division One table.


Although Mick Galwey and his players know full well that there is a lot of work to get through between now and play-off time, this was a very important step on the way to guaranteeing a spot in the league semi-finals.


Con had chances to pull level or go ahead but they failed to take them with their kickers understandably struggling in the conditions.


A third, late kickable penalty was refused and they punted it to touch. Con won the lineout and went through a series of forward drives, each repelled by a teak-tough Shannon defence.


Eventually, the Leesiders made it over the line but they were held up, much to their annoyance. The ball was recycled but Shannon succeeded in driving Con back a full 15 metres and away from the danger zone and effectively that was that.


The game’s only score came in the 12th-minute when Thompson, having missed an earlier effort, made amends with a difficult kick from the right and into a tricky wind.


Scorers:


Shannon: Pen: Andrew Thompson
Cork Constitution: None


Blackrock College 25-9 Dolphin


Former Leinster and Ireland hooker Shane Byrne touched down as Blackrock College got the better of Dolphin at Stradbrook this afternoon.


Byrne grabbed his first try since his return to AIB League rugby to help ‘Rock rise five places in the Division One table up to sixth.


After a third-minute try from home winger Niall Morris, three penalties from Dolphin number 10 Barry Keeshan shot them ahead.


But tries before the break from Byrne and centre John Quigley proved crucial for ‘Rock, who led 19-9 at half-time.


The omens were not good for Dolphin when Morris finished off a simple overlap for ‘Rock’s opener, wide out on the left.


But after full-back Fionn Carr had missed the difficult conversion, the visitors’ play came into play.


The carved out a first shot at goal for Keeshan which he duly took and the former Ireland Under-19 and Under-21 international banged over two more place-kicks after 11 and 20 minutes for a 9-5 lead.


A well-worked forward drive put Byrne over for his try, four minutes later, and despite losing young flanker Zach Farivarz to a yellow card, the home side defied the odds to create the opening for Quigley’s try, eight minutes before the break.


Carr converted both tries to nudge ‘Rock ten points ahead.


Dolphin also suffered a sin-binning – losing hooker Andrew O’Driscoll midway through the second half – and it did dent whatever comeback plans they had.


In the end, two smartly-struck penalties from the influential Carr, after 48 and 53 minutes, were the final scores of an entertaining game played in good spirits.


Scorers:


Blackrock College: Tries: Niall Morris, Shane Byrne, John Quigley; Cons: Fionn Carr 2; Pens: Fionn Carr 2
Dolphin: Pens: Barry Keeshan 3


Garryowen 20-6 St Mary’s College


Garryowen played themselves back into the play-off picture with a well-judged win over St. Mary’s College at a rain-soaked Dooradoyle this afternoon.


First half tries from out-half Alan Kingsley, centre Conan Doyle and flanker Anthony Kavanagh helped the Limerick men move up to fourth in the Division One table.


A penalty in each half from number 10 Frank Lynch kept Mary’s in the hunt.


But despite having hooker Colin Varley sent-off and winger Ciaran O’Boyle sin-binned, Garryowen held firm for their third league win on the trot.


For the second week in succession Garryowen proved best in the wind and rain at Dooradoyle and, in addition to bagging the league points, they also lifted the Shay Deering Cup which is competed for annually between the clubs to commemorate the memory of the former Ireland international who played for both outfits.


Late in the second half Garryowen were reduced to 13 players when Varley was sent-off for his part in an off-the-ball incident and O’Boyle was sin-binned, but the latter was back for the final few minutes.


But Garryowen will be disappointed not to have picked up a bonus point after they scored three first half tries when backed by the strong wind.


To their credit, Mary’s improved a great deal in the second period and squandered two great chances when they knocked-on when overlaps were clearly on.


Garryowen won because they had more firepower up front. Indeed Mark Melbourne, Paul Neville and Frank McKenna dominated the lineouts.


Behind them, scrum half Gerry Hurley was in superb form and his judicious kicking was vital in this latest success which keeps the defending champions very much in contention for the play-offs.


The conditions did not suit Mary’s who also suffered a blow just before half-time – they looked to have crossed for a try through nippy number 9 Matt D’Arcy when he took a quick tap penalty but his effort was disallowed after the intervention of a touch judge.


Garrywowen were awarded a penalty which enabled them to kick their way out of trouble.


The Limerick side’s opening try came as early as the second-minute. Backed by the wind they attacked from the start and Kingsley charged down an attempted clearance and then won the race for the touchdown.


Full-back Conor Kilroy added a penalty three minutes later. Doyle had try number two after 25 minutes and out-half Lynch landed a penalty for St. Mary’s to give the visitors some hope.


A try by the ever-ready Kavanagh, following another charged clearance, converted by Kilroy, had Garryowen 20-3 in front at the interval.


The visitors dominated the second half but disappointingly they could only manage a late penalty by Lynch.


Scorers:


Garryowen: Tries: Alan Kingsley, Conan Doyle, Anthony Kavanagh; Con: Conor Kilroy; Pen: Conor Kilroy
St Mary’s College: Pens: Frank Lynch 2


Terenure College 16-18 Greystones


Greystones came from behind at Lakelands Park to pip Terenure College and move off the bottom of AIB League Division One.


Tries from Leinster scrum-half Cillian Willis (66 minutes) and full-back David McKechnie (75) helped ‘Stones to their first win in six league meetings with Terenure.


The hosts, who had lost their last four league games, strode into a 16-6 half-time lead thanks to a try from lock Darren Egan and three penalties from full-back David McAllister.


However, ‘Stones upped the tempo to notch a vital win.


It was an evenly-balanced first half during which the sides tried their best to play good rugby in the poor conditions.


Greystones struck first with their out-half James Power, who has been capped at Leinster ‘A’ level, angling over a penalty in the 15th-minute.


‘Nure replied a little over ten minutes later when the Leinster-capped McAllister, who started at full-back owing to former captain Shane Cullen’s inclusion at number 10, knocked over a penalty.


Cullen moved the home back-line well through this encounter and after Power and McAllister had traded further kicks – a drop goal and penalty respectively – Terenure began to gain momentum.


A surging break, involving Niall McCann, Kevin O’Dwyer, skipper Stephen Nolan and Bertrand Guiry, showed what the Dubliners are capable of and they broke the try deadlock moments later when a big drive ended with lock Darren Egan getting over.


McAllister tagged on the extras and also notched a third penalty as ‘Nure ended the first half on the up. But ‘Stones bounced back in the final quarter.


After a great spell of pressure, a ‘Nure error saw Guiry slip as he attempted to win a lineout, which allowed the visitors to get back on the front foot. Quick ball allowed Willis to dance his way over and Power converted for a 16-13 scoreline.


Willis had a hand in the clinching try for McKechnie as he made the initial break that led to the experienced full-back’s third and undoubtedly most important try of the league campaign to date.


Scorers:


Terenure College: Try: Darren Egan; Con: David McAllister; Pens: David McAllister 3
Greystones: Tries: Cillian Willis, David McKechnie; Con: James Power; Pen: James Power; Drop: James Power


UCD 8-14 Clontarf


Former Ireland Under-20 stars Paul O’Donohoe and Ian Keatley combined to help Clontarf past UCD at Belfield this afternoon.


‘Tarf were stunned when College winger Vasily Artemiev darted over for a first-minute try. UCD followed up with a penalty from centre Killian Lett for an 8-0 interval lead.


Chasing their eighth win in ten league meetings with the students, ‘Tarf managed to turn things around.


Scrum half O’Donohoe burst through for a 50th-minute try and number 10 Keatley touched down, eight minutes from time, for the clinching score.


UCD struck for one of the fastest tries in AIB League history when a dropped ball and a couple of knock ons from the visitors, which saw referee Paul Haycock play advantage to the students, finished up with Artemiev getting over in the corner – all within 30 seconds of the kick-off.


The hosts’ blistering start was quickly quelled though and it was not until the 30th-minute that they could add to their tally. Lett, their reliable place-kicker, bisected the posts with a meaty penalty.


‘Tarf turned around for the second half with the wind at their backs and O’Donohoe and Keatley began to influence the game more, began the visitors’ powerful pack.


Ten minutes in and after a couple of phases on the UCD 22, O’Donohoe broke clear and zipped in close to the posts for a fine individual try.


Keatley tagged on the conversion and he made the game safe when, after the ‘Tarf eight had demolished UCD at a scrum near the hosts’ 22, the Leinster prospect took a pass and raced in under the posts for a seven-pointer.


Scorers:


UCD: Try: Vasily Artemiev; Pen: Killian Lett
Clontarf: Tries: Paul O’Donohoe, Ian Keatley; Cons: Ian Keatley 2