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Ulster Bank League: Division 2C Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 2C Review

Old Crescent took advantage of Wanderers’ home defeat to Bruff as they moved back to the top of Ulster Bank League Division 2C. Meanwhile, bottom side Dundalk overcame Kanturk for their first win since coming up from the junior ranks.

Tony Cahill showed nerves of steel to convert a last-minute penalty and guide Bruff to an extremely hard-fought 21-19 win away to league leaders Wanderers.

The goal-kicking scrum half played a key role in Bruff’s fifth victory of the campaign, firing over three penalties and a conversion with his older brother Brian running in a 58th-minute intercept try and Paudie Kilcoyne crossing in the first half.

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Wanderers burst out of the blocks in slippery conditions at Merrion Road and led 10-0 early on. Peter Brougham’s reliable boot nudged them into a 19-18 lead with 13 minutes left.

However, the ice-cool Cahill had the final say for the Limerick men who, notably, have secured four of their five wins to date away from Kilballyowen Park.

Dundalk brought a nine-match winless run to an end – from the early season Leinster Senior League Shield through to the opening rounds of the Ulster Bank League – as they defeated Kanturk 21-8 at Mill Road.

This was a hugely important result for John Murphy’s men, coming ahead of the break in league action and the visit of high-flying Old Crescent on Saturday, November 28.

Ultan Murphy got the Co. Louth side off the mark with a couple of well-struck penalties in the first quarter, splitting the posts from 25 and 30 metres respectively. Mark Healy responded off the kicking tee for the visitors, but Murphy’s penalty on the stroke of half-time made it 9-3 to Dundalk.

After an early miss from Murphy on the resumption, the hosts increased their lead with a 46th minute try out wide from Laurence Steen. The same player touched down on the hour mark, with Murphy adding a fantastic touchline conversion for 21-3.

The Corkmen gained some late consolation with an unconverted effort from Sean Cremin, however they were very much second best on the day and have now lost their last three games.

Pacesetters Old Crescent, third-placed Tullamore and Navan, who have climbed up to fifth, all won on the road over the weekend, with Navan winning their local derby encounter with Boyne on a 16-13 scoreline.

Shamrock Lodge played host to its first ever Friday Night Lights clash, and the visitors came away with four valuable league points thanks to a 62nd minute penalty from player-coach Alan Kingsley.

The night had begun on a bad note for Kingsley as he was sin-binned in the fifth minute and Boyne took advantage with a 14th minute try from full-back Eoghan Duffy, who followed up on a terrific bust from livewire flanker Rory Hennessy.

Kingsley opened Navan’s account with a penalty on his return, but Hennessy crashed over for a deserved five-pointer in the 21st minute with dangerous backs Bevan Duffy and Brian Howell both prominent in the build-up.

The visitors had the better of the second quarter, though, and Boyne coughed up a try while their influential New Zealand-born back rower James Mose was in the bin for collapsing a maul. Flanker Conor Ryan put the finishing touches to a well-constructed attack from Navan and scrum half Kingsley added the extras.

A second successful penalty from Kingsley edged his side in front for half-time – 13-10 – and although replacement Karl Keogh booted Boyne level in the 45th minute, Navan proved to be the better side over the remaining 30-plus minutes as they keep things tight and restricted opportunities for the Boyne backs.

Some top notch defending from Boyne frustrated the visitors, who had to rely on another place-kick from Kingsley to settle the issue as they added to their recent triumphs over Dundalk and Kanturk.

Tullamore are enjoying an even better run of form, their 14-6 defeat of a highly-rated Midleton side representing their fifth win in-a-row. Some crisp passing created the opportunity for winger Brian Gilligan to score the match’s only try in the 62nd minute.

The sides were level at the interval (3-3) as Karl Dunne and Stuart Lee swapped penalties and Tullamore, coached by Geoff Kenny and John Burns, were let down by poor decision making as they failed to convert their dominance of possession into points.

They made noticeable improvements on the restart, an early penalty from Dunne putting them back in front before Gilligan’s crucial score. Dunne thumped over a fine penalty from 50 metres out to close out the scoring with seven minutes left.

Midleton mounted a late comeback as they sought a losing bonus point, but Tullamore’s defence – a big positive for them with only 80 points leaked in seven games – made sure that the eight-point gap remained in place.

Old Crescent, meanwhile, recaptured top spot with a 47-7 bonus point hammering of second-from-bottom Sligo at Hamilton Park. Matthew Cosgrove got over for the hosts in response to an early penalty try, but the Limerick men seized control with five tries over the closing 40 minutes.

ROUND 7 RESULTS –

Dundalk 21 Kanturk 8, Mill Road
Midleton 6 Tullamore 14, Towns Park
Sligo 7 Old Crescent 47, Hamilton Park
Wanderers 19 Bruff 21, Merrion Road
Boyne 13 Navan 16, Shamrock Lodge (played on Friday)