The 32-3 victory for Queen’s University at Chambers Park proved to be the only away win in the fourth round of matches in AIB League Division 3. With Instonians’ trip to Connemara being postponed, Cork side Midleton took full advantage with their bonus point defeat of County Carlow sending them to the summit.
Sunday’s Well bounced back from last week’s loss to Nenagh Ormond to record a well-judged 25-10 win over Ards at Musgrave Park on Saturday.
Keith Murphy’s men had tries from prop Francis Moynihan and flanker Chris Long, while out-half Eamon Ronan booted five penalty goals.
The ‘Well had Tom Parker back at scrum half and he dovetailed well with Ronan, giving the hosts a solid platform behind their hard-working pack.
Ards leaked a try after just 46 seconds when Parker hacked on a loose ball, won the race to it and popped it to the supporting Moynihan who showed an impressive turn of pace to finish off the score.
Michael Lawton struck a neat penalty in response for Ards, but three successful strikes from Ronan helped the ‘Well turn around at the break with a 14-3 buffer.
The visitors had a rising error count but they looked lively in attack, particularly when full-back Lawton came up in the line.
Sunday’s Well winger Gavin Blower had to be quick to intercept a pass that would have led to a try, while late in the game Ards centre Scott Young was left frustrated when he knocked on in sight of the line after breaking onto a kick through.
After Ronan’s fourth penalty early in the second period, Ards deservedly crossed for a try when they built through the phases and flanker Kenny McCombe, who had been sin-binned in first half injury-time, was the player to crash over the line. Lawton added the extras.
But the ‘Well hit back almost immediately when, after a string of phases, Long squeezed over in the corner under pressure from two defenders.
The match officials confirmed the grounding and the score stood, much to Ards’ dismay. Ronan missed the conversion but landed a 63rd minute penalty to complete the scoring.
County Carlow’s poor run continued at Towns Park where hosts Midleton ran six tries past them for a 43-11 win, which has them top of the table.
The men from east Cork, who had the bonus point secured by half-time, had tries from Jeff Hitchmough, Peter Broughton, Kevin Brierley, David Lee, Junior Sifa and David Smyth. Out-half Hitchmough also kicked five conversions.
Meanwhile, the Blue Bulls of Barnhall had to settle for a 16-16 draw with Nenagh Ormond at Parsonstown on Saturday, as a late penalty goal from David Delaney saw the Tipperary side draw level.
Barnhall continued their recent trend of starting games well, with their number 10 Leo Quinn drilling a drop goal over in the fourth minute. Nenagh’s first real spell of possession saw them on the march and Delaney kicked them level with his first penalty attempt.
After an exciting break by Dave Stewart, Quinn duly converted his first penalty of the afternoon but with torrential rain falling, Nenagh kept it tight and the forwards drove menacingly on, with captain and loosehead prop Mick Kennedy piling over for the game’s first try.
Delaney’s successful conversion was cancelled out by another Quinn penalty and Barnhall ended the first half on a high when excellent winger Paul Burke, having launched a chip and chase run, took the ball on the rebound to touch down close to the posts.
Quinn’s conversion made it 16-10 to the Kildare men at half-time. In a rain-lashed second half, Burke continued to be a threat with ball in hand.
However, Nenagh’s disciplined defence got them out of some trouble and two penalties from former Shannon ace Delaney, the second coming in the fourth minute of injury-time, squared it up in the end.
Speaking afterwards, Barnhall coach Denis Bowes said: “We need to become much more clinical in our execution and in closing out games. While most of the teams below us lost games today, most of the winning teams also scored four or more tries for bonus points.
“This is where we need to get to if we are to make progress in this league. We travel to Wanderers for our next game and we’ll now focus on gaining our second away win of the season in what is sure to be a cracking game of rugby.”
Banbridge, meanwhile, have moved up two places to eighth following their 27-13 triumph over Naas at Rifle Park. Matthew Irvine set them on the road to the bonus point with two first half tries, while a penalty try and a Dale Black effort completed a good day at the office for Andre Bester’s men.
Queen’s University are now third in the standings, courtesy of their 32-3 Ulster derby win over Portadown. Tries from full-back David McIlwaine, centre Jonny Shiels, winger Chris Quinn and prop Paul Karayiannis did the business for the Belfast students.
Queen’s director of rugby Robbie Moore said: “We thought Portadown would be on a revenge mission after the Ulster League game, it was a tough match and we had to work hard.
“I think our 11-0 lead at half-time was a fair reflection, in the second half we grinded them down and apart from the scrums we were superior in ever department. It’s a very pleasing and surprising result, I think we were workmanlike and professional.”
Beating Rainey Old Boys on a 27-16 scoreline, Wanderers remain one of only three unbeaten teams left in the division.
With their confident use of possession, Wanderers were 13-9 ahead at half-time at Merrion Road, with Samoan prop Heroshi Tea scoring the only try of the first half off a concerted spell of forward pressure.
Two penalties from full-back Daniel McKernan and a drop goal from out-half Gavin Martin kept Rainey in the hunt, but two more Wanderers tries, including one from 17-point full-back Michael Boland, settled the issue.
Suttonians upped their game to earn a 29-8 bonus point win over Navan. The Dubliners’ tries came from prop John Munro, centre Mick O’Shea and winger Darragh Mulligan (2), with the latter’s brace including a 50-metre intercept score.
AIB LEAGUE DIVISION 3 RESULTS: Saturday, October 31
Banbridge 27 Naas 13, Rifle Park
Barnhall 16 Nenagh Ormond 16, Parsonstown
Midleton 43 County Carlow 11, Towns Park
Portadown 3 Queen’s University 32, Chambers Park
Sunday’s Well 25 Ards 10, Musgrave Park
Suttonians 29 Navan 8, John J McDowell Memorial Grounds
Wanderers 27 Rainey Old Boys 16, Merrion Road
Connemara v Instonians, Monastery Field (Postponed to Saturday, November 21, 2.30pm)