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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Centre pair Tom Farrell and Tom Daly starred behind a dominant scrum as Lansdowne began their Division 1A title defence with a 29-6 bonus point victory over Young Munster this afternoon.



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A drop goal and penalty from out-half Paul Downes gave Young Munster a 6-3 interval lead on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch in what was a repeat of last year’s semi-final. Lansdowne needed an extra-time try to win that contest, but today they cantered clear of the Limerick men with four second half touchdowns.

The fleet-footed Tom Farrell finished a brilliant breakaway try from his own 22, number 8 Ross Deacon scored a pushover effort, and the hosts’ scrum earned them a penalty try before Tom Daly, the Ireland Sevens captain, touched down from an intercept.

New back-line recruits Cormac Brennan and Ed O’Keeffe both touched down as Galwegians enjoyed a winning return to Division 1A at the expense of Cork Constitution (12-11).

Brennan stormed through midfield for a third-minute converted try at Crowley Park. ‘Wegians indiscipline allowed Cork Con out-half Tomas Quinlan to make it a one-point game by half-time.

A quick turnover from a lineout and slick hands then put winger O’Keeffe over in the corner in the 58th minute. After ‘Wegians lost replacement hooker Juan Anaya to the sin-bin, Constitution responded with a late unconverted effort from young winger Kerry Desmond but the home side deservedly held on.

Garryowen joined fellow promoted side Galwegians in getting off to a positive start in the top flight, with right winger James Frawley booting them past Ballynahinch on a 14-10 scoreline.

This was a typically error-strewn early season affair at Dooradoyle, and Garryowen player-coach Conan Doyle handed league debuts to three Under-20 players – Ed Barry, Jay Kavanagh and Elliott Fitzgerald.

Chris Quinn and Frawley kicked a penalty apiece during a defence-dominated first half, and the Light Blues gained crucial momentum thanks to Frawley penalties after 46 and 47 minutes and a Shane Buckley try with 12 minutes left. Jordan Grattan’s late try earned a bonus point for ‘Hinch.

On Friday night, Mick McGrath bagged a brace of tries as last season’s beaten finalists Clontarf opened the 2015/16 campaign with a 24-16 away success against UCD.

The Leinster winger scored in each half at a very wet Belfield Bowl as ‘Tarf edged out the students in an entertaining Division 1A opener. Ireland Under-20 international Joey Carbery, who switched from UCD to Clontarf in the summer, came back to haunt his former side with a 14-point kicking contribution.

Arguably the result of the weekend came at Anglesea Road where hosts Old Belvedere gave Terenure College a 27-8 beating. ‘Belvo mastered the tricky conditions with a penalty try giving them a 13-8 interval lead, and new signing Ed Rossiter, the ex-Garryowen hooker, and winger Rory O’Loughlin both touched down in the second half.