Round 5 of Ulster Bank League Division 2B wrapped up on Saturday with a late try from prop Michael Moynihan seeing Sunday’s Well edge out MU Barnhall 17-14 at Irish Independent Park.
It was a day to remember for the Moynihan family as both John (hooker) and Michael (loosehead) scored tries for the ‘Well, while the third Moynihan brother, tighthead Francis, took plenty of pleasure from another superb scrummaging display.
It was a second successive win for improving Sunday’s Well, but it was a tight game throughout and fast-starting MU Barnhall deservedly hit the front thanks to a central penalty from Simon Gillespie.
The visitors survived a threatening maul from the ‘Well – a serious weapon for the Corkmen this season – before their pace in the backs and accuracy at the breakdown paved the way for a second successful Gillespie place-kick.
Some excellent fielding and running from Ross O’Mahony and Greg Higgins got the hosts on the front foot soon after, and it was the latter who slotted a scrum penalty from the 10-metre line to open the ‘Well’s account. They maintained the momentum, moving 10-6 clear for half-time as John Moynihan broke off a well-worked lineout maul to score a try which Shane O’Riordan converted.
However, Barnhall, turning around with the wind behind them, opened the second period in fine fettle and they went very close to crossing the whitewash. It took a terrific try-saving tackle from Will Trevor to deny them.
Gillespie split the posts to make it a one-point game and with the penalties starting to stack up, the ‘Well lost flanker James Mulcahy to the sin-bin for not rolling away just past the hour mark. Barnhall duly kicked to the corner and lock Conor McDermott touched down via the lineout.
The ‘Well had to dig deep in defence and once they wrestled back possession at the breakdown, the home side showed impressive composure to strike for the match-winning try with less than three minutes left. Mark Chandler, who moved to scrum half, was stopped just short from a close-in penalty that he tapped, and quick ruck ball allowed Michael Moynihan to burrow over in the very next phase.
O’Riordan’s conversion was on target, putting three points between the sides, and the ‘Well closed out the result by showing the form that has given them the third best defensive record in the division.
The other round 5 games produced two contrasting Ulster derby clashes and a couple of tight away wins for Bective Rangers and Highfield over Seapoint and Greystones respectively.
Bective got back to winning ways as a late drop goal saw them defeat Seapoint 17-13 at Kilbogget Park, while tries from Dave Kelly and James Daly gave Highfield an 18-11 verdict against their Co. Wicklow opponents.
Armagh ended their three-match losing streak with a well-judged 29-5 bonus point victory over Rainey Old Boys at the Palace Grounds. They laid the platform with a three-try salvo in the opening half.
The hosts, coached by Alex McCoy and Ulster flanker Willie Faloon, got off to a flying start with a fourth minute try from James Hanna that was converted by Johnny Pollock. But Rainey, aided by an Armagh yellow card for a deliberate knock-on, closed the gap to 7-5 as winger Nick Sterling was sent over in the corner.
That was as good as it got for Rainey, though, as they were left to rue a general lack of discipline and three missed penalty kicks at crucial stages in the opening 40 minutes.
Armagh centre Matthew Hooks held off several defenders to score by the posts in the 15th minute with out-half Pollock converting and then, approaching the interval, winger Josh Morton put the finishing touches to a fine back-line move in the corner.
Trailing 19-5 and with flanker Jody McMurray in the bin, Rainey had an uphill task and they leaked three more points via the boot of Pollock on the resumption.
There were chances at both ends as space began to open up and it was not until five minutes from the end that Armagh secured their bonus point. A loose ball from a Rainey attack was gobbled up by the hosts and moved wide for replacement winger Andrew Willis to cut inside from halfway and race over by the posts for the final seven-pointer.
Meanwhile, pacesetters City of Derry made it five wins on the bounce by overcoming hosts Dungannon 37-25 at Stevenson Park. Terry McMaster’s men now hold a six-point lead at the top of the table, having picked up 24 out of a possible 25 points so far.
Replacement Steven Sinnamon had a second half to remember, becoming the first ever Dungannon prop to score a hat-trick of tries, but Derry were always in control of the scoreboard, having built a 23-6 interval lead.
The visitors ran in five tries through full-back Ali Beckett, wingers Neil Brown and Simon Logue, replacement David Graham and David Funston, who was sin-binned late on. The latter’s centre partner Neil Burns kicked three conversions and two penalties for a 12-point contribution.
ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Sunday’s Well 17 MU Barnhall 14, Irish Independent Park (played on Saturday)
Seapoint 13 Bective Rangers 17, Kilbogget Park
Armagh 29 Rainey Old Boys 5, Palace Grounds
Dungannon 25 City of Derry 37, Stevnson Park
Greystones 11 Highfield 18, Dr. Hickey Park