Brett Wilkinson won today’s battle of the former props-turned-head coaches in Ulster Bank League Division 1B as his Buccaneers side beat Marcus Horan’s Shannon 21-11 at Dubarry Park.
A try from experienced centre Alan Gaughan split the sides the break – 8-3 – and Buccaneers took control of the second half playing into the wind. Connacht Academy out-half Conor McKeon, who has switched from Lansdowne, landed his second penalty before winger Rory O’Connor broke out wide, chipped over the cover and won the race for a classy touchdown.
McKeon converted and swapped penalties with Ronan McKenna, while a late Shannon rally saw centre Shane Mullaney cross the whitewash.
Meanwhile, Darragh Fanning was in sizzling form for St. Mary’s College as he scored three of their seven tries in a 46-10 thrashing of a disappointing Dolphin side.
The Leinster winger thrilled the Templeville Road faithful with two quick-fire scores early on, and it was his inviting pass that put centre Marcus O’Driscoll in under the posts for try number three. Recent Munster cap John Madigan replied for Dolphin before half-time.
But it was one-way traffic over the closing 40 minutes. Man-of-the-match Fanning completed his hat-trick, number 8 Mark Fallon got over in the corner and full-back Ray Crotty and scrum half David Fanagan got in on the scoring act late on.
Last year’s Division 2A champions Old Wesley announced themselves in the second tier with a terrific 33-5 bonus point triumph over UL Bohemians at Thomond Park. A first half try from in-form centre Darren Moroney proved to be Bohs’ only score.
Morgan Lennon’s Wesley side built a 14-5 half-time advantage as Craig Telford went over from close range and goal-kicking winger Barry McLaughlin landed three successful penalties.
The Dubliners turned on the pace and power with McLaughlin finishing with 18 points, including a try and two conversions, and captain Ian Cassidy and busy lock Josh Hinde also dotting down.
Determined defence late on saw Ballymena take the Ulster derby spoils as they edged out Belfast Harlequins 27-23 at Eaton Park.
Impressive young lock David Whann ran in a tremendous 58th-minute solo try which proved to be the match-winning score, as Harlequins were unable to respond in a frenetic final quarter.
Callum Patterson chased down his own kick through to score a try that had the Braidmen 20-13 to the good at half-time, adding to an initial touchdown from his centre partner Martin Irwin. A second half try from ex-UCC full-back Brendan Monahan, adding to an earlier double from David McMaster, had ‘Quins back in front until Whann had the final say.
On Friday night, Blackrock College, promoted from Division 2A last season, enjoyed a nail-biting 11-10 first victory over Dublin University. Full-back David Scott-Lennon’s late penalty saw them prevail at rain-soaked Stradbrook.