Ballymena outscored Dublin University by five tries to four at Eaton Park this afternoon as they secured their third successive win (35-24) in Ulster Bank League Division 1B.
Returning from their runners-up finish at the World Universities Rugby Cup in Oxford, the Trinity students put in a brave effort and late tries from influential backs Paddy Lavelle and Tim Maupin gave them a deserved try-scoring bonus point.
Ballymena had established a 20-5 interval lead, however, and tries from John Andrew, Connor Smyth, James Beattie and Rodger McBurney, allied to centre Callum Patterson’s fourth of the campaign, had them leading from start to finish.
Blackrock College lost for the first time this season but two late tries from full-back David Scott-Lennon earned them two bonus points from their trip to the midlands.
Buccaneers did just enough to get over the finish line, winning 30-28 at Dubarry Park with former Ireland Under-20 out-half Conor McKeon kicking three penalties and converting tries from Martin Staunton, Daniel Qualter and Eoghan O’Reilly.
McKeon’s accuracy with the boot saw him take his tally for the Division 1B campaign to 39 points. Brett Wilkinson’s Pirates laid the foundations for victory with a 20-point first half salvo.
Meanwhile, St. Mary’s College showed little mercy to visitors Shannon as they coasted to a six-try 45-12 triumph at Templeville Road today.
Peter Smyth’s side did almost all of the damage in the first half during which they scored five tries for a 35-7 lead. John Shine’s early effort for the Limerick men was cancelled out by St. Mary’s lock Stephen Bradshaw, who was playing against his young cousin Frank Bradshaw-Ryan in the Shannon engine room.
Leinster’s Darragh Fanning notched his fourth try in two games and Mark Sexton and Ryan O’Loughlin also crossed before the break, in addition to a penalty try. Mark Fallon and recent Munster cap Stephen Fitzgerald swapped tries in the closing stages.
At Thomond Park’s back pitch, Dolphin came out of a poor early season patch with a fine 28-13 success away to Munster rivals UL Bohemians which lifts them up to sixth in the table.
They hit their hosts with four converted tries in the second half, including two penalty tries, to give new head coach Feargus O’Donoghue his first league win.
Robbie Bourke’s brace of penalties had UL leading 6-0 at the break, but Dolphin’s well-drilled pack – with Munster talents Niall Scannell and John Madigan standing out – soon took over and won some key decisions from referee Dudley Phillips. Ex-Old Crescent winger Will Hanly and hooker Scannell chipped in with a try each.
It is as you were at the top of Division 1B as pacesetters Old Wesley collected their third bonus point victory, overcoming Belfast Harlequins 33-8 in the late afternoon kick-off at Donnybrook.
Returning scrum half Dave O’Leary sniped over from close range for the opening try and 11 points from the reliable boot of winger Barry McLaughlin had Wesley 16-3 to the good at half-time.
O’Leary’s half-back partner Alan Large showed good footballing skills to grab try number two. Emerging Ireland flanker Frankie Taggart responded for ‘Quins from a maul, but the home side struck for a late brace. Lock Iain McGann stretched over after bursting up the touchline and New Zealander Billy Ngawini’s classy fend and sidestepping run set up flanker Stephen Boyle’s bonus point score.