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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

UCD’s lead at the top of Ulster Bank League Division 1A was cut to four points after Lansdowne got the better of them in a tight 22-20 verdict today.



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UCD’s six-match winning streak in the competition came to an end on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch, with Lansdowne captain Scott Deasy playing a central role with a 17-point haul.

Out-half Deasy kicked five penalties and converted a second half try from Leinster’s Cian Kelleher, as Mike Ruddock’s men climbed one place into fifth courtesy of their third straight victory.

It was tough for the league leaders to take as they outscored Lansdowne by three tries to one – forwards Brian Cawley and Josh Murphy and centre Jamie Glynn touched down – but former Munster player Deasy took on the mantle of match winner once again.

It was lock Cawley’s try on the stroke of half-time that nudged UCD into a 8-6 lead after a fast-paced first half. A move straight off the training ground saw flanker Murphy make it 13-6 on the restart.

Lansdowne were level when Kelleher collected Deasy’s cross-field kick for his converted try, and two well-struck penalties from the latter made it 19-13.

Glynn’s intercept try from a stray Deasy pass, which Liam Bourke converted, saw UCD move back in front with 73 minutes, but they fell just short as despite missing two more place-kicks late on, Deasy’s 77th-minute strike proved to be the decisive score of an entertaining encounter.

Young Munster pipped Cork Constitution by a single point for the second time this season as they took the spoils – 18-17 – at Temple Hill this afternoon.

A try on the stroke of half-time from Munster Academy hooker Max Abbott gave Con a 7-6 lead at the break, as they sought their fourth Ulster Bank League or Cup win in as many weeks.

It got even better for the hosts when a Ned Hodson break teed up try number two for Niall Kenneally, which Tomas Quinlan also converted.

However, Munsters, now coached by former Constitution favourite David Corkery, had the better of the final quarter with powerful forwards Alan Ross and Sean Duggan crashing through for tries, with the latter squeezing over by the left corner flag.

Gearoid Lyons converted the first one on the hour mark, adding to his two earlier penalties, and that proved enough for the Cookies as they followed up on November’s 11-10 triumph over the same opposition.

Meanwhile, Clontarf put an end to their two-match losing streak in the league with a hard-earned 17-5 victory away to Galwegians.

This Division 1A game will go down in the Irish rugby record books as there were two ‘Anthony Ryans’ on the Crowley Park pitch, both wearing number 8 jerseys!

Clontarf’s ‘Anthony Ryan’, capped by Leinster earlier this season, would not have been best pleased with just a 3-0 lead at half-time. The ‘Tarf forwards exerted a lot of pressure but out-half David Joyce could only land one of four penalty attempts on a heavy surface.

Galwegians enjoyed a strong start to the second period, however young Clontarf tighthead Vakhtang Abdaladze – capped by Ireland at Under-18 and Under-19 level in recent years – forced his way over for a 50th minute try.

Joyce converted and just five minutes later, ‘Tarf’s front row union were celebrating again when loosehead Ivan Soroka grabbed a second seven-pointer.

‘Wegians were quick to respond, Connacht recruit Api Pewhairangi breaking through to set up an unconverted score for full-back John ‘Luigi’ Cleary. They went close to a second try when replacement Doron McHugh was held up, but ‘Tarf did enough to get back to winning ways.

Out-of-sorts Old Belvedere slumped to their fourth league defeat on the trot as Garryowen ran out 27-14 bonus point winners at Dooradoyle.

Garryowen should have gone in front inside a few minutes following a great break by Munster’s Jordan Coghlan, and a well-judged grubber kick by Andrew O’Byrne looked set to bring a try for James McInerney but he knocked on ten metres out.

The Light Blues went ahead thanks to Neil Cronin’s 10th-minute penalty and they were rewarded for their good forward work after 20 minutes. Again it was impressive openside Coghlan who made the break and winger Steve McMahon touched down close enough for Cronin to convert.

The home forwards were well on top at this stage and their Kiwi captain Josh Hrstich notched their second try with 36 minutes on the clock. Just before half-time, an O’Byrne kick was blocked down at halfway and his opposite number Willie Staunton raced through for a try which he also converted for a 15-7 scoreline.

However, the Limerick side dominated the second half and tries by centre David Johnston, after a powerful burst from number 8 Hrstich, and winger McInerney, with Cronin converting the first one, ensured their five-point return. ‘Belvo’s only consolation was a late effort from replacement Aaron Sheehan. 

Bottom side Ballynahinch dug deep in defence to see out their first away league win since beating Dolphin in Cork last March, as they toppled Terenure College 20-9 at Lakelands Park.

Wind-backed ‘Hinch did all of their scoring in the first half, an early converted try from their number 8 and Ireland Sevens international David McGuigan, who profited from an advancing five-metre scrum, setting them on their way.

Ace place-kicker Chris Quinn took his tally to 83 points for the campaign with two penalties and the conversion of fellow winger Jordan Grattan’s try which came from a bouncing ball which favoured the visitors.

That left Terenure trailing 20-3 at the turnaround, their attack struggling to break down a well-organised ‘Hinch defence who were down to 14 men nearing the break.

The Dubliners, winless in the last three rounds, mounted a strong comeback on the resumption as Jake Swaine slotted over two penalties and ‘Hinch’s Ulster-capped blindside Conor Joyce saw yellow.

Nonetheless, ‘Hinch really had the bit between their teeth and deservedly prevailed to pick up their third win in four matches, with only three points now separating the bottom three in the table – ‘Hinch (16), ‘Nure (17) and Galwegians (19). The latter two have a game in hand.