Old Crescent suffered their first defeat of the Ulster Bank League Division 2C campaign as Wanderers staged a stunning comeback to win 25-24 in Limerick and return to the top of the table.
Having won their first five games, Eugene McGovern’s Old Crescent side were brimming with confidence and they looked well on course for win number six when leading Wanderers 19-3 at half-time.
However, the determined Dublin 4 outfit stormed back into contention with tries from Eoin O’Donnell and Ciaran Wade (pictured below).
Crescent, who had touchdowns from Larry Hanly, Shane O’Brien and Cathal O’Reilly as well as a penalty try, edged into a 24-18 lead, only for the impressive Wade to break through and flanker Harley Murray provided the finishing touches to the match-winning seven-pointer.
There was further drama as the hosts missed a touchline penalty attempt with a couple of minutes to go. Wanderers held on for their most significant win of the season to date, but they will have to regroup quickly as another ambitious Limerick club comes calling next Saturday.
Bruff will provide the opposition at the Aviva Stadium in round 7, eager to bounce back from a stinging 25-22 home defeat by Midleton. The Cork side climbed above Bruff into fourth place thanks mainly to an excellent place-kicking performance from out-half Stuart Lee.
Lee landed six penalties and converted Sean White’s first half try for a 20-point haul. Lee and Tony Cahill swapped early penalty goals before the visitors’ big forwards forced the issue and some hard-earned yards led to influential back rower White touching down.
Lee converted and added a penalty for a 13-6 scoreline before Bruff got back on level terms. Second row Mikey Cooke was held up short of the try-line, but a subsequent attack saw loosehead Davy Horan crash over for a converted effort. However, a late Lee kick made it 16-13 to Midleton at the break.
The sides were very evenly matched in the second period with neither giving an inch at the breakdown. Cahill fired over two penalties, sandwiching a Lee strike, to square things up again at 19-all.
Crucially, Midleton gained momentum on the back of their dominant scrum. One penalty from the set piece was slotted through the posts by Lee and he then punished Bruff for a deliberate knock-on, leaving the hosts trailing 25-19. Cahill kicked a 30-metre penalty with 10 minutes remaining, but the scores dried up in a defence-dominated climax as Fergus Burke’s charges prevailed by a three-point margin.
Leinster pair Tullamore and Navan both kept their opponents try-less as they got the better of Boyne (21-3) and Kanturk (24-3) respectively. Tullamore are up to third in the standings, but they should really have pocketed a try-scoring bonus point against lowly Boyne.
The Offaly club built a 13-0 interval lead at Spollanstown, some lovely handling in the backs putting winger Brian Gilligan over for a try in the 24th minute. Full-back Karl Dunne converted and also kicked two penalties.
However, Tullamore only played well in patches and discipline was an issue – they coughed up 13 penalties in all and had a player sin-binned, and another sent-off for a 55th minute melee.
Boyne closed the gap to 10 points with a penalty and played their best rugby either side of the hour mark. But 14-man Tullamore snapped back control of the game with a tremendous 72nd minute try from centre Ivor Scully who was put clear by two pinpoint long passes from Aaron Deverell and place-kicker Dunne. The latter tagged on a further penalty for an 18-point success.
Navan, who visit Boyne in a Friday Night Lights clash this week, scored 24 points without reply to finish as comfortable winners over Kanturk. David Clarke touched down in the first half and Alan Kingsley and Robbie Waters did likewise in the second, with player-coach Kingsley also kicking three conversions and a penalty.
Sligo won the battle of the bottom two sides, defeating visitors Dundalk 39-19 to open their win account for the current league run. They scored six tries in all at Hamilton Park, as Conor Mitchell, Cillian Gallagher and Matthew Cosgrove all crossed the whitewash and Connacht Under-20 starlet Ryan Feehily helped himself to a hat-trick.
ROUND 6 RESULTS –
Bruff 22 Midleton 25, Kilballyowen Park
Navan 24 Kanturk 3, Balreask Old
Old Crescent 24 Wanderers 25, Rosbrien
Sligo 39 Dundalk 19, Hamilton Park
Tullamore 21 Boyne 3, Spollanstown