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Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Review

Centres Alan Gaughan and Ben Carty accumulated 28 points between them as Buccaneers emerged as 38-20 bonus point winners over Belfast Harlequins at Deramore Park in Ulster Bank League Division 1B.



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Alan Gaughan and Ben Carty both touched down and shared out 18 points from the kicking tee, with hooker Sean Delahunt and full-back Callum Boland also plundering tries for Brett Wilkinson’s Buccaneers.

Belfast Harlequins, trailing 18-3 at the break, improved considerably with a three-try second half salvo. Frankie Taggart crossed the whitewash for the second week running, but the northerners have now lost four league games on the bounce.

St. Mary’s College collected their third successive Division 1B victory by defeating Dublin rivals Blackrock College 23-19 at Stradbrook.

In a game which saw the gate receipts go to the Berkeley tragedy fund, Blackrock led 16-13 at the break thanks to a maul try from flanker Sam Cooke and 11 points from the reliable right boot of full-back Alan Hughes.

Ryan O’Loughlin and Mark Sexton touched down for St. Mary’s during the opening 40 minutes and with Leinster’s Darragh Fanning on as a replacement, the visitors had the better of the second period. A close-in scrum paved the way for back rower Barry O’Flanagan to score the clinching try in the dying minutes (pictured below).

Winger Barry McLaughlin scored a try and kicked 14 points as Old Wesley maintained their table-topping form with a 24-19 success against Dolphin at Irish Independent Park.

But the Dubliners were made to fight all the way, with yellow cards for Wesley’s Adam Kennedy and Josh Hinde leading to a helter-skelter finish. Indeed, Dolphin were held up over the line in injury-time as they hunted for a potential match-winning seven-pointer.

McLaughlin, who amassed 48 points during the first three rounds, converted his own try and landed three penalties for a 16-6 half-time scoreline. In a very physical contest, Cian McGovern’s boot kept the hosts in touch and while replacement Niall O’Brien barged over for a second Wesley try, touchdowns from Chris Rowe and Will Hanly made Morgan Lennon’s side sweat right to the final whistle.

Dublin University’s first home league match of the season saw them burst clear of UL Bohemians in the second half for a 39-21 bonus point win.

Poor discipline from Trinity saw Robbie Bourke boot UL to a 15-13 half-time lead at College Park, with a terrific ankle tap from young scrum half Angus Lloyd denying Bohs a try in the closing minutes of the half.

Bourke finished with a seven-penalty haul, but the hosts found an extra gear in attack as ex-Clontarf winger Max McFarland completed his brace, Brian du Toit touched down and fit-again out-half Jack McDermott starred with a 24-point tally, including two well-taken tries.

Second-placed Ballymena finished off this first block of four league games with a hard-fought 22-19 victory over Shannon at Coonagh.

Marcus Horan’s hosts recovered well from the concession of a second minute try to Ballymena full-back Rodger McBurney (pictured above), as prop Tony Cusack crossed in the ninth and 18th minutes to set the division’s bottom side on their way to a 12-8 interval advantage.

Loosehead Conor Glynn scored a spectacular third try for Shannon, with Shane Airey’s successful conversion extending the lead to 11 points. However, tries in the 68th and 77th minutes from winger Kieran Joyce and lock Connor Smyth – both converted by Ritchie McMaster – gave the fast-finishing Braidmen the points.