Five of the six Ulster clubs in AIB League Division 3 were victorious on Saturday, with Ards the only northern side to lose.Unbeaten Instonians are the new leaders – they have a one-point lead at the top of the table – while chief chasers Wanderers and Midleton also made it three wins on the bounce.
Fresh from dumping Dungannon out of the AIB Cup, Queen’s University ran riot at the Dub on Saturday as they hammered Connemara 71-0 to close the gap on table toppers Instonians to just three points.
Speedy winger Chris Quinn scored four of Queen’s 11 tries in total, with Robbie Moore’s side guaranteeing themselves the bonus point before half-time.
The students’ other try scorers were Paddy McGowan, David McIlwaine (2), Michael Pyper, Paul Karayiannis, Matthew Arneill and James McKinney, while former Ireland Under-20 scrum half Ian Porter kicked eight conversions.
Over at Shaw’s Bridge, Instonians went top of the table with a hard-earned 19-3 win over a Barnhall side that was third before kick-off.
Out-half Leo Quinn gave Barnhall a first quarter lead with a well-taken drop goal, but with hooker Stephen Douglas and centres Jamie Scott and Seamus Mallon coming more into the game, ‘Inst hit back during a wind-assisted second half.
Out-half Rory McCann impressively bossed matters, distributing well and keeping Barnhall pinned back with some pinpoint line kicks.
He kicked three penalties and a drop goal and also converted David Bradford’s try, which came off a lineout maul. Clem Boyd’s young side almost leaked a late try but Barnhall were called back for crossing and ‘Inst also spurned an overlap when a try looked on.
Wanderers continued their progress, notching their third win of the league run with a gritty 13-12 defeat of Ards at Hamilton Park. Mark McDermott’s side did just enough with a try from their Samoan prop Heroshi Tea and eight points from the boot of full-back Michael Boland.
County Carlow fell to their third straight defeat when Banbridge visited them at Oak Park. Three-try Bann, coached by South African Andre Bester, recorded their maiden win with a 30-12 triumph.
The visitors’ dominance in the scrum laid a winning platform, with number 8 Matthew Irvine scoring off a pushover drive and full-back Ashley Finlay doing well to finish off two breakaway scores. Out-half Robin Thompson had a 100% kicking return, landing three conversions and three penalties.
Portadown recovered from a ten-point deficit to post a gutsy 15-10 win over Naas at Forenaughts, with flanker Stuart Douglas and Kiwi full-back Tommy Overy crossing for tries.
Recovering an early sin-bin, wind-backed Naas went ahead courtesy of a David Ahearne penalty and after turning down some further kickable penalties, the Kildare side built some pressure in the Ports’ 22 and crossed for their only try.
The Nass pack made the hard yards in a scrum and set number 8 Johnny Holmes up for a five-metre carry to the line, with Ahearne adding the conversion.
Portadown defended manfully for the remainder of the first half and using the wind and heavy rain to their advantage, they got on the scoreboard on 58 minutes.
Overy charged down the right, setting up ruck position and a fluid passing move ended with lock Chris Banks offloading for Douglas to squeeze over in the corner.
Scrum half Craig Woods missed his conversion attempt from wide out. Naas stymied a number of Portadown attacks before Overy, collecting a clearance kick near the visitors’ ten-metre line, managed to waltz his way through on a mesmeric run that left a number of Naas players clutching at thin air.
The pacy full-back cantered over under the posts for one of the best tries of the season so far. Woods knocked over the simple conversion to nudge Portadown ahead for the first time and centre David Whitten crowned the away win with an injury-time drop goal.
At Hatrick Park, Rainey Old Boys opened their win account by beating Suttonians 23-10. Tries from hooker Gary Coleman and out-half Gavin Martin, allied to a 13-point kicking contribution from full-back Dan McKernan, did the business for the Magherafelt men.
Determined Midleton, coached by Hamish Adams, ended Navan’s winning start to life in the AIB League as an unconverted try from American international Junior Sifa saw them leave Balreask Old with a 5-3 victory.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s Munster derby at New Ormond Park went the way of the hosts as two penalties from former AIB Club international out-half David Delaney steered Nenagh past Sunday’s Well on a 6-0 scoreline.
Delaney kicked penalties in the first quarter, with the wind behind him, and Nenagh were able to ride out a second half onslaught from the ‘Well, putting in a dogged defensive display full of commitment and discipline.
The Corkmen did likewise after going 6-0 down, keeping their try-line intact for half-time as Nenagh tried to muscle their way over from a series of close range lineouts.
With the stronger set piece, Sunday’s Well looked poised to challenge for the lead in the second period but despite some surges around the fringes from the forwards and winger Gavin Blower’s ability to find space when on the ball, Nenagh held out for a morale-boosting win in atrocious weather conditions.
AIB LEAGUE DIVISION 3 RESULTS: Saturday, October 24
Ards 12 Wanderers 13, Hamilton Park
County Carlow 12 Banbridge 30, Oak Park
Instonians 19 Barnhall 3, Shaw’s Bridge
Naas 10 Portadown 15, Forenaughts
Navan 3 Midleton 5, Balreask Old
Nenagh Ormond 6 Sunday’s Well 0, New Ormond Park
Queen’s University 71 Connemara 0, Dub Lane
Rainey Old Boys 23 Suttonians 10, Hatrick Park