Terenure College confirmed their place in Division One next season by pulling off a gritty 14-12 win over Ballymena at Lakelands Park on Saturday afternoon.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Saturday, March 29
TERENURE COLLEGE 14 BALLYMENA 12, Lakelands Park
Scorers: Terenure College: Try: Kevin Mahony; Pens: David McAllister 3
Ballymena: Tries: Ian Caldwell, Alan Smyth; Con: Craig Woods
Terenure College confirmed their place in Division One next season by pulling off this gritty win over Ballymena at Lakelands Park on Saturday.
After last weekend’s win at St. Mary’s College, three penalty goals from David McAllister and a try from hooker Kevin Mahony were enough for ‘Nure to take the spoils.
Mahony crossed in the 15th-minute but Ballymena signalled their intent on the half-hour when influential lock Ian Caldwell touched down.
McAllister’s boot kept the hosts ahead but an unconverted Alan Smyth try had them sweating late on.
Having lost nine of their last ten AIB League matches, this was a vital win for Kevin West’s side and one which will put the pressure off them ahead of the final weekend of games on April 19.
They deserved this latest triumph, particularly from the endeavour showned by their tough-tackling second row and back row units.
John Dever, the home side’s 20-year-old flanker, stood out in that regard with one bone-crunching hit on Ballymena man Caldwell, midway through the second half, summing up ‘Nure’s desire for the win.
McAllister kicked his side into a sixth-minute lead when he bisected the posts with a well-struck penalty.
On the quarter-hour, a spell of pressure inside the Ballymena 22 paid off for ‘Nure. They kicked a penalty to touch, Peter O’Malley claimed the lineout ball and hooker Mahony, after a couple of pick and goes, muscled his way over for the try.
McAllister missed the difficult conversion and Ballymena responded well by throwing the ball wide and getting the versatile Craig Woods, who lined out on the wing, involved in somes sparky attacks.
A late charge by McAllister on the Ballymena full-back earned him a yellow card in the 23rd-minute and while ‘Nure were down to 14 men, Caldwell barged through for a try to the right of the posts.
Woods converted for 8-7 but right on the stroke of half-time, McAllister returned to kick his second penalty and give his side a four-point buffer.
Into the second half, the Braidmen almost struck back in the opening minutes. ‘Nure captain Stephen Nolan was pinged for a deliberate knock-on but Woods missed the subsequent penalty kick.
The Dubliners bolstered their lead when, after a quick break involving Dever and his back row colleague Bertrand Guiry, Caldwell was whistled up for killing the ball and McAllister popped his kick through the uprights.
Terenure were not out of the woods yet as centre Alan Smyth wormed his way over for a late try which Woods narrowly failed to convert, leaving the score-line at 14-12.
There was still time for Mark O’Neill, on as a replacement for McAllister, to try and land a monster penalty but his effort was off target and ‘Nure’s defence had to be water-tight in injury-time as Ballymena managed to make it back into their 22 before the final whistle.
LANSDOWNE 6 DUNGANNON 0, The RDS
Scorers: Lansdowne: Pens: Andrew Geraghty 2
Lansdowne ended their ten-match winless run as they overcame fellow strugglers Dungannon at the RDS on Saturday afternoon.
Andrew Geraghty’s two penalties were enough to see Lansdowne climb off the bottom of the Division One table.
They will still need to beat Terenure College on the last day to stave off relegation but this was still a confidence-building victory.
After two earlier misses, Geraghty knocked over an injury-time penalty for a 3-0 interval lead.
Dungannon’s attacks were all too isolated and Geraghty landed his second kick before the hour mark.
This was a dour battle between two teams scrapping for their lives at the wrong end of the table. With that in mind, there was little in the way of enterprising rugby.
Lansdowne have admittedly struggled to ‘bed in’ at their temporary home of the RDS. A look, before kick-off, at their league record at home this term showed up that fact – played six, won one and lost five.
Dungannon travelled south still smarting from last weekend’s 23-19 defeat at home to Clontarf and with little in the way of confidence, given they lost their previous six league games on the road.
In windy conditions, Lansdowne settled the quicker. Although place-kicker Geraghty, a former Junior and Senior Cup winner with Blackrock College, missed penalty attempts after 23 and 28 minutes, the 22-year-old did raise the touch judges’ flags just before the interval.
Dungannon. although committed throughout, struggled to get themselves into attacking situations and Richard McCarter was too often out of range for place-kicks.
The Ulster side did have a couple of five-metre scrums, late in the game, but Thomas Anderson and company could not engineer a score.
Content to keep ball as they faced into the wind, a second penalty from Geraghty in the 46th-minute proved to be the final score of a game well refereed by John Lacey, the former Shannon player.
GREYSTONES 15 UL BOHEMIANS 38, Dr. Hickey Park
Scorers: Greystones: Tries: Daniel Kenny, Stuart Abbott; Con: James Power; Pen: James Power
UL Bohemians: Tries: Ian Hanly 2, Mike Long, Fergal Lawlor, Batt Duggan, James O’Neill; Cons: Fergal Lawlor 4
UL Bohemians plunged Greystones into serious relegation trouble at the bottom of Division One as they came from behind to secure a bonus point win at Dr. Hickey Park.
‘Stones sit in last place with only one round of matches remaining. With Lansdowne level on points with them and Dungannon a point above, Colin McEntee’s side still have a chance of staying up but they are living on the edge.
On Saturday afternoon they led UL 8-5 at half-time with Daniel Kenny and Ian Hanly swapping tries.
But wind-backed Bohs powered clear thanks to tries from Hanly, Mike Long, Fergal Lawlor, Batt Duggan and James O’Neill.
In blustery but sunny conditions, Bohs ventured to the County Wicklow seaside town with little but pride to play for.
Having lost five of their last six league games before today, Bohs have slipped out of play-off contention and down to eighth.
‘Stones put in arguably their best display of the season when beat UCD 25-18 at home last weekend but their home form has been decidedly patchy with only two wins from seven outings at Dr. Hickey Park.
James Power, son of club President Pierce, landed a first-minute penalty to get Greystones up and running.
However, Power’s direct opponent Lawlor begin to have an influence as Bohs played cleverly into the wind and used their big ball carriers to frustrate a committed Greystones pack.
A simple case of numbers out wide put winger Hanly over for his first score before young Irish Colleges star Daniel Kenny replied for the hosts, after good work from half-backs Power and Cillian Willis.
But backed the elements for the second half, Bohs raised their game sufficiently for the result to be beyond any doubt, just after the hour mark.
Hanly was given far too much space to manoeuvre in and he dotted down two minutes into the second half.
Hooker Mike Long then followed suit, albeit from closer range, and out-half Lawlor, who has been Bohs’ player of the season, then shrugged off two tackles before making the line.
Former Ireland Under-21 front rower Batt Duggan added the visitors’ sixth try before flanker James O’Neill touched down to complete a devastating spell that saw Bohs score 33 points without reply.
With the game beyond them, ‘Stones gained a consolation try ten minutes from the finish when Stuart Abbott barged his way over and Power’s conversion kick was the last scoring act of an entertaining if one-sided tie.
ST. MARY’S COLLEGE v DOLPHIN, Templeville Road (Postponed)
Saturday afternoon’s AIB League Division One clash between St Mary’s College and Dolphin had to be called off due to an unplayable pitch.
After heavy rain in the Dublin 6W area, match referee Mark Hermin from Ulster deemed that the Templeville Road pitch could not stand up to the top flight tie.
The decision only came through at 2pm, just half an hour before kick-off, so the Dolphin team, officials and supporters were understandably annoyed at their wasted trip to the capital.
It is anticipated that the game will be re-fixed for next Saturday or the weekend after as the final AIB League regulation phase games are down for decision on April 19.
Mary’s also have to play their Leinster Senior Cup final against Clontarf shortly, while Dolphin, who could still make the Division One play-offs, are eager to keep up their momentum after five straight league wins.