Division 3 leaders Midleton hit the 50-point mark in terms of league points when they scored a bonus point victory over Connemara on Saturday, while their chief chasers, Queen’s University, also netted a bonus point when thumping Rainey Old Boys at home.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 3 RESULTS: Saturday, February 20
Banbridge 23 Portadown 12, Rifle Park
County Carlow 28 Sunday’s Well 42, Oak Park
Instonians 27 Ards 13, Shaw’s Bridge
Midleton 26 Connemara 12, Towns Park
Naas 6 Wanderers 15, Forenaughts
Navan 25 Barnhall 24, Balreask Old
Nenagh Ormond 19 Suttonians 7, New Ormond Park
Queen’s University 44 Rainey Old Boys 0, Dub Lane
First half tries from Michael O’Connell and Troy Smith, both converted by Jeff Hitchmough, set Midleton on their way to a 26-12 win over Connemara at Towns Park.
Hamish Adams’ charges added two more touchdowns after the break, from Troy Smith and Damian Smyth, with Hitchmough converting one, as they extended their unbeaten run to 12 matches (11 wins and a draw).
Second-placed Queen’s ‘nilled’ their opponents for the second week running, running out comfortable 44-0 winners over Rainey Old Boys. The Belfast students scored seven tries in all, including a hat-trick from winger Stuart Campbell.
With two teams being promoted to Division 2 at the end of the season, Midleton (50 points) and Queen’s (49 points and with a game in hand) are now odds-on to take those spots. Third-placed Banbridge are back on 41 points, hoping to capitalise on any setbacks.
Rainey did Queen’s a favour last weekend when they drew with table toppers Midleton, But the students were in no mood to be charitable at Dub Lane on Saturday.
Queen’s, using quick ball from a lineout, set up centre Matthew Arneill for a crash ball run that resulted in the opening try, four minutes in. Scrum half Ian Porter missed the conversion.
While Rainey centre Neil Suiter was in the sin-bin, Porter kicked a penalty. Blindside flanker Gareth Hooks quickly added a second try, going over after former Ulster and Ireland centre Jonny Bell combined well with Campbell, and Michael Pyper provided the scoring pass.
Porter’s conversion left it 15-0 for half-time, and Rainey were put to the sword in the second half. Tries for Campbell after 53 and 62 minutes chalked up the bonus point.
Team captain Mark Robinson was Queen’s next try scorer as he hacked the ball on twice, after Rainey full-back Rodney Paul had fumbled it, and won the foot race for the score.
Queen’s certainly have a ruthless streak and they went in search of more tries in the closing ten minutes, notching two more.
Winger Richard Mayne grabbed his side’s sixth and the final one came from hat-trick hero Campbell, after good work by Bell and replacement Neil Doak.
Meanwhile, Sunday’s Well have not given up on reaching the play-offs. They are currently residing in fifth, following a 42-28 win at County Carlow.
The Corkmen thrived in what was a free-flowing, entertaining game at Oak Park, registering six tries through team captain David Twohig and winger Tom Parker, who scored two each, along with forwards John Moynihan and Chris Long.
Bottom side Carlow were still in the hunt at 17-8 at half-time, with assured full-back Billy Murphy scoring a try and a penalty, and further touchdowns from centre Ross Byrne and replacements Richie Whyte and Eddie Barron saw the midlanders deservedly pick up a try-scoring bonus point.
At Rifle Park, Banbridge won a well-contested Ulster derby against Portadown, emerging as 23-12 victors.
Young guns Stephen Irvine, Jonny Weir and Chris Leathem, who were part of Bann’s Under-18 Ulster Cup-winning squad last season, all touched down as the hosts secured their seventh league win on the trot.
Click here to view video highlights from the Banbridge v Portadown game.
A vocal crowd at Shaw’s Bridge watched Instonians take a 27-13 win over their provincial rivals Ards. First half tries from flanker David Bradford and hooker Stephen Douglas set ‘Inst on their way, with Adam Telford adding a third after the break.
The first AIB League derby between Navan and Barnhall was a terrific encounter at Balreask Old, with the hosts battling back to claim a 25-24 win. A try from John Duffy, two minutes into injury-time, was converted brilliantly from near the touchline by Ryan Roberts for the deciding score.
Related Links –
AIB League: Division 3 Round-Up (February 13)