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Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Review

Shannon are up to fifth in Ulster Bank League Division 1B after coming from behind to beat Munster rivals Dolphin 30-19 in difficult weather conditions at Coonagh.



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Marcus Horan’s men kicked on in the final quarter to earn their fourth league win on the trot, with influential backs Richie Mullane and David O’Donovan touching down for the second round running.

Dolphin led 12-10 at half-time despite playing into a very strong wind. Daryl Foley’s conversion of full-back Shane McAuliffe’s 28th-minute try split the sides, with Killian O’Keeffe having cancelled out Mullane’s fourth-minute score and Shannon hooker Simon Malone rumbling over just before the break.

Tadhg Bennett booted Shannon in front on the resumption, but Dolphin replacement Barry Fitzgerald raced clear after an intercept with Foley again converting. However, Shannon hit back in the 64th minute when Stephen Fitzgerald timed his pass to perfection to send centre Will Leonard over.

Horan’s charges produced the stronger finish, bagging their own bonus point and taking a losing one away from the Corkmen. The hosts forced a penalty try and converted scrum half O’Donovan had the final say right at the death.

Meanwhile, defences were on top at Eaton Park as Ballymena were made to work very hard for a 15-6 victory over UL Bohemians in a game that was played in miserable weather conditions.

Two penalties apiece from Ballymena out-half Ritchie McMaster and his UL counterpart Rick McKenna had sides level at 6-all at half-time. The try drought continued into the second period, despite the Braidmen being reduced to 13 men at one stage.

The hosts’ determined rearguard action on their own try-line kept Bohs out and two successful kicks – a Martin Irwin drop goal and young replacement Andrew Magrath’s 55th-minute penalty – gave Andy Graham’s men some breathing space.

Despite a fine all-round effort, the Limerick side were thwarted again by Ballymena’s unyielding defence and the visitors missed out on a bonus point courtesy of a tremendous 45-metre drop goal from Rodger McBurney, seven minutes from time.

Blackrock College survived a second half fightback from bottom side Belfast Harlequins as they prevailed on a 36-32 scoreline at rain-soaked Stradbrook.

Despite leaking 20 points over the closing 40 minutes, Emmet Farrell’s side did enough in the opening stanza to secure a much-needed first win in six league games.

Their new centre pairing of Hugo Godson Treacy and Sean Coughlan was prominent early on, but it was the ‘Rock pack that set the platform with forwards Mikey Carroll, Conor Kilcoyne and Joe Scott-Lennon all helping themselves to tries. Coughlan and winger Kelvin Leahy also dotted down for the Dubliners who had an 11-point kicking contribution from scrum half Jack O’Carroll.

Trailing 31-12, Ulster talent Rory Scholes led Harlequins’ determined response. In addition to a try, the young centre kicked 12 points, and a penalty try – coupled with a very well-taken brace from winger Mark Glover – saw Adam Larkin’s outfit claim two well-merited bonus points.

The Dublin University juggernaut rolled on at Dubarry Park where they finished strongly to pocket a 27-6 win over disappointing hosts Buccaneers and climb into third place.

Brett Wilkinson’s Pirates were still in touch at half-time, trailing 13-6 with their young South African out-half Cameron Hertz booting his first league points with two penalties.

However, Trinity’s greater firepower was particularly evident in the second period. With a second Buccaneers player seeing yellow, the visitors’ number 8 Tom Ryan seized the initiative by going in under the posts.

Jack McDermott converted and he also added the extras to Tim Maupin’s bonus point score, the American international outpacing the Buccs cover for his third try in two games. The students’ first half tries saw scrum half Angus Lloyd snipe over from a close range set piece and winger Killian O’Leary squeezed over in the corner.

Leinster winger Darragh Fanning grabbed the only try of the game as St. Mary’s College stayed top of Division 1B with a solid 19-9 triumph over Old Wesley at Templeville Road.

The wind-backed visitors led 9-7 at the break with the division’s leading scorer, winger Barry McLaughlin, landing three penalties to take his season’s haul to 112 points.

Fanning’s neatly-finished try by the posts – his fifth of the campaign – was converted by St. Mary’s out-half Sean Kearns who went on to guide the home side to victory. He fired over four second half penalties to put the league leaders out of sight, keeping them a point clear of second-placed Ballymena ahead of next week’s trip north to Belfast Harlequins.