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AIB League: Division 1 Round Up

AIB League: Division 1 Round Up

Cork Con put a dent in ‘Tarf’s playoff hopes, Belvo rack up points against Dungannon, UL Bohs in the hunt as they beat ‘Nure and Dolphin climb higher with narrow win over UCD.

Clontarf 7-36 Cork Constitution

Cork Constitution dished out a severe beating to one of their main play-off rivals at Castle Avenue this afternoon. ‘Tarf remain in fourth place but now have  Dolphin and Blackrock breathing down their neck for a playoff spot.

Munster out-half Jeremy Manning was in man-of-the-match form as he tallied up 19 points for Con, thanks to a try, a conversion, two penalties and two drop-goals.

A third-minute breakaway try from Max Rantz-McDonald caught Con on the hop but Manning steered them to a 13-7 half-time lead.

Tries from Cronan Healy, former Munster and Ireland winger John Kelly and Daragh Lyons followed as Con maintained their first place position in Division One.
Clontarf 7-36 Cork Constitution

Clontarf have been building up some serious momentum in recent weeks with home wins over UL Bohemians in the AIB League and Garryowen in the AIB Cup, so this was a deflating defeat.

With former Ireland Under-20 scrum-half Paul O’Donohoe ruled out due to injury, ‘Tarf started with noted winger Phil Howard in at number nine and they made a blistering start with Con being turned over badly and a lightning break finishing with Rantz-McDonald touching down.

However, Con’s strength at the breakdown and Manning’s ability to kick his side 40-50 yards downfield proved crucial as the Leesiders soon swung the game in their favour.

Manning was well served by his half-back partner John Stringer, who stepped in for the injured Duncan Williams, and scampered over close to the posts for his try.

The New Zealand-born number ten converted it, added a penalty and then swung over a delightful drop-goal close to half-time to give Con a six-point lead heading into the second half.

Flanker Billy Holland continued to show well for the league leaders during the early part of the second half. A further penalty and drop goal from Manning sent Con into a 19-7 lead before his departure.

A superb try by winger Healy, after a dinked kick from Stringer, edged Billy Walsh’s men further in front.

A simple case of numbers out wide then saw Kelly get in on the scoring act and Lyons, on as a replacement for Manning, did likewise as ‘Tarf’s defence disintegrated and the north Dubliners coughed up far too many turnovers.

Clontarf: Try: Max Rantz-McDonald; Con: Ian Keatley
Cork Constitution: Tries: Jeremy Manning, Cronan Healy, John Kelly, Daragh Lyons; Cons: Jeremy Manning, Daragh Lyons; Pens: Jeremy Manning 2; Drops: Jeremy Manning 2.

Dungannon 12-29 Old Belvedere

Dungannon’s poor defensive record in this season’s AIB League continued at Stevenson Park this afternoon as they leaked four tries to Old Belvedere.

The Tyrone men slipped to bottom spot in the Division One table as Belvo’s Marcin Wilczuk, Barry Kinsella, Eamonn Fitzgerald and Ray Monaghan helped themselves to tries. Despite a slow start, the Dubliners were 17-5 to the good at half-time with ‘Gannon scoring a breakaway try in reply through AIB Club international Richard McCarter.

McCarter converted another counter attack try from Matt Maguire but Belvo were out of sight with Wilczuk and Monaghan both touching down.

‘Gannon came into the game as the Division One team that had conceded the most points (213) and most tries (25) since the opening day back in October and even without two of their most potent backs – Eoin O’Malley and Felix Jones are on the Leinster bench tonight – Belvo still managed to cut the hosts open.

Experienced out-half Richie Murphy played an influential role once again as his side won for the first time away from home in the league this season – at the sixth attempt.

‘Gannon boasted provincial experienced in their side with the likes of scrum half Kieran Campbell and flanker David Pollock standing out, but John Andrews’ charges were made to pay for a poor second quarter when they let the game get away from them.

During that time, both Fitzgerald and Kinsella managed to cross the whitewash, adding to a 13th-minute penalty effort from Murphy. Belvo’s burly pack was getting on top but a sin-binning for Polish prop Wilczuk was a setback.

As befits a team in the lower reaches of the table, ‘Gannon struggled for cohesion in attack and the visitors took in the hour mark still with a 12-point lead to their name.

Centre Maguire did rumble over for a try for the hosts but those scores from Wilczuk and Monaghan put the result beyond doubt and handed Belvo their first ever win at the Tyrone venue.

Scorers: Dungannon: Tries:  Richard McCarter, Matt Maguire; Con: Richard McCarter
Old Belvedere: Tries: Marcin Wilczuk, Barry Kinsella, Eamonn Fitzgerald, Ray Monaghan; Cons: Eamonn Fitzgerald 3; Pen: Richie Murphy

Terenure College 6-25 UL Bohemians

UL Bohemians cut loose against Terenure College at Lakelands Park to end a two-match losing streak in the AIB League.

Nippy out-half Fergal Lawlor was in dominant form for Bohs as he scored a try and set up scores for flanker John Ed O’Connor (2) and winger Ian Hanly.

Two penalties from Robbie McCarthy had Terenure leading but O’Connor’s second try edged the visitors 10-6 ahead for the interval.

‘Nure lost their captain Stephen Nolan to a yellow card and scores from Hanly and Lawlor sealed the result.

UCD 23-28 Dolphin

Dolphin had a little help from their Munster-contracted players as they held off a late surge from UCD at Belfield.

The Cork side took the spoils with provincial duo James Coughlan (2) and Tomas O’Leary both touching down.

A Kevin Croke try and two Killian Lett penalties had the students 11-10 in front at half-time but Dolphin were 25-11 ahead by the hour mark.

Centre Eric Moloney was the visitors’ other try scorer and despite late scores from Cian Aherne and Vasily Artemiev, there was no denying Dolphin.

UCD: Tries: Kevin Croke, Cian Aherne, Vasily Artemiev; Con: Killian Lett; Pens: Killian Lett 2
Dolphin: Tries: James Coughlan 2, Eric Moloney, Tomas O’Leary; Con: Barry Keeshan; Pens: Barry Keeshan 2.