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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

With Clontarf slipping up at St. Mary’s on Friday night, Terenure College closed in on a home semi-final in Ulster Bank League Division 1A with a well-judged 20-8 win away to Cork Constitution this afternoon.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A RESULTS

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: UPDATED TABLES

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Terenure were unbeatable earlier in the season and they recaptured some of their best form with a 20-point first half display at Temple Hill, as James O’Donoghue, Robert Duke and Harry Moore all ran in tries.

The result saw James Blaney’s men tighten their grip on second spot. They now hold a seven-point lead over third-placed Clontarf with just three rounds remaining.

Terenure made full use of their early wind advantage on Leeside, with out-half Thornton landing a second minute penalty. Then a quick tap set up right winger O’Donoghue for a try in the corner.

Impressive flanker Duke (pictured below) scored for the second week running, charging through from halfway to touch down to the right of the posts, and free-scoring winger Moore grabbed his ninth try of the campaign to make it 20-0.

An unconverted effort from Munster Academy member Darren Sweetnam reduced the arrears for Cork Constitution to 15 points, but the visitors always looked in control despite Tomas Quinlan tagging on a 55th minute penalty.

Apart from retaining the Munster Senior Cup, it has been an up and down 2015 so far for Cork Constitution. Certainly, it was a weekend of mixed emotions for their head coach Tom Tierney as this defeat came less than 24 hours after his Ireland Women’s team beat World champions England in Ashbourne.

The Leesiders have a fight on their hands to reach the play-offs as they still have to travel to leaders Lansdowne and reigning champions Clontarf before hosting UCD in the final round in April.

Cork Con have been leapfrogged by Ballynahinch into fourth in the table following the Co. Down club’s hard-fought 18-16 victory over UCD at Ballymacarn Park.

Three well-struck penalties from out-half Liam Bourke had the students leading 9-7 at half-time, but ‘Hinch scored at crucial stages in the second half with Chris Quinn converting two penalties and fellow winger Ross Adair scoring a try.

The elusive Adair had a second effort ruled out for a knock-on and Bourke missed a gilt-edged chance to win it for UCD in the dying minutes, sending a kickable penalty wide much to the relief of the home support.

Young Munster won for the first time in six league outings as they ran out comfortable 24-9 winners of their basement battle with Dolphin at Tom Clifford Park.

Bottom side Dolphin were the form team coming into this encounter, but Munsters raised their game significantly from recent weeks to bag a precious bonus point – only their second of the season – and move above Old Belvedere into eighth place.

The Corkmen had the benefit of a strong, albeit swirling, wind in the opening half and two long range penalties from out-half Rory Scannell gave them an early advantage. However, Scannell’s third successful penalty, after he was caught by a high tackle, proved to be Dolphin’s final score.

Young Munster broke into a 17-9 lead for half-time thanks to tries from Rob Guerin (pictured below), Darren Gallagher and Kolio Hifo, with the latter one coming after Dolphin lock Chris Rowe was sin-binned in the 38th minute.

Dolphin almost got in for a try but winger Rob Rearden was brought down near the line and the visitors suffered another blow nine minutes from the end when prop James Rochford was yellow carded.

It was all about the bonus point at this stage but Young Munster had to wait until the 78th minute when hooker Ger Slattery touched down and Willie Staunton, a steadying presence at out-half, added his second conversion of the afternoon.

The defeat leaves Dolphin precariously placed in the automatic relegation spot, some eight points adrift of second-from-bottom ‘Belvo, with a ‘must win’ trip to Clontarf to come next Saturday.

‘Tarf themselves slumped to a disappointing 21-17 defeat to St. Mary’s at Templeville Road on Friday night. Seventh-placed Mary’s may still be battling relegation but with the table particularly tight, they are only four points adrift of ‘Hinch in the fourth play-off position.

Peter Smyth’s charges were hammered 44-15 by Clontarf in early January, but they turned the tables on the title holders. With a big wind behind them, Mary’s burst into a 21-3 interval lead thanks to 11 points from Ray Crotty’s boot and tries from Brian McGovern (pictured above) and Ryan O’Loughlin, who finished off an excellent ‘team’ score.

Clontarf capitalised on Mary’s indiscipline to run in tries through Rob Keogh and Ireland Club international captain Matt D’Arcy. However, despite being down to 13 men, the home side hung on to win by a four-point margin.

Beaten by UCD last week, table-topping Lansdowne bounced back to triumph 17-13 at Old Belvedere. Centre Tom Farrell’s 51st-minute try splits the sides at the end of a keenly-contested game.

Lansdowne fell foul of referee David Wilkinson’s whistle as Ian Fitzpatrick, Brian Moylett and Tyrone Moran all spent time in the sin-bin during the first half. ‘Belvo cancelled out an early Aaron Conneely effort with tries from Jonathan Slattery and goal-kicker Josh Glynn, however they were left to rue two missed conversions and two missed penalties as Lansdowne finished the stronger.