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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Leinster winger Mick McGrath’s 10th try of the campaign helped to propel Clontarf past Young Munster on a 42-25 scoreline at Castle Avenue.



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Clontarf are the new leaders in Ulster Bank League Division 1A after hammering Young Munster in a five-try display and taking advantage of UCD’s heavy loss to Cork Constitution.

The north Dubliners ended the opening quarter 17-5 to the good, cancelling out Gary Fitzgerald’s fourth-minute try with touchdowns from Mick McGrath, who profited from a strong Collie O’Shea run and offload, and place-kicker Rob Keogh, who booted 14 first half points.

Their was a high penalty count against Munsters and they leaked two more tries before the interval, with forwards Ivan Soroka and Adrian D’Arcy making it 34-8.

With the bonus point in the bag, ‘Tarf’s rate of scoring dipped on the resumption and after opposing centres Matt D’Arcy and Diarmaid McCarthy were sin-binned, Munsters succeeded in closing the gap.

David O’Mahony teed up James O’Connor’s try in the right corner and with ‘Tarf losing Dylan Doyle to the bin, the Cookies reduced the arrears to 17 points thanks to a Darragh O’Neill score.

Sam Cronin’s yellow card in the 63rd minute had the home side down to 13 players, but O’Shea and Matt D’Arcy combined superbly before winger Michael Brown dotted down in clinical fashion.

Young replacement full-back O’Mahony had the final say for the Limerick men, crossing the whitewash in the 72nd minute for their bonus point score. Munsters remain third in the table, with ‘Tarf now four points clear at the summit.

14-man Garryowen dug deep to take the spoils against Terenure College, winning a tight affair 12-3 at Dooradoyle.

Second row Paul McCarroll’s sending-off in the 22nd minute could have been the defining moment of the game, but the Light Blues overcame the setback with their back row of Jordan Coghlan, Conor Oliver and returning captain Josh Hrstich leading by example.

Garryowen fell behind to a Jake Swaine penalty on the quarter hour mark, as Terenure enjoyed a good spell of possession and territory.

Scrum half Neil Cronin responded just before half-time, landing two successive penalties to give the hosts a 6-3 advantage.

‘Nure’s discipline let them down at times during the second period, with hooker Risteard Byrne seeing yellow for a high tackle. Crucially, they leaked penalties in kicking range too, and Cronin tagged on two more three-pointers to seal the result for Conan Doyle’s men.

Talismanic out-half Scott Deasy touched down twice as Lansdowne overcame Galwegians 30-24 in a closely-fought game on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch.

Deasy’s 79th-minute penalty, completing his own 25-point haul, was the final score of an exciting seven-try encounter which saw ‘Wegians come away with two bonus points.

The westerners were leading 24-20 with 13 minutes remaining, a penalty try adding to earlier efforts from backs Api Pewhairangi and John Cleary – his sixth in as many games – and number 8 Marc Kelly.

But a Ross Deacon try, supplemented by Deasy’s brace and 15 points with the boot, keeps sixth-placed Lansdowne right in the hunt for a play-off place with three rounds remaining.

Meanwhile, resurgent Old Belvedere made it two wins on the trot by overcoming Division 1A’s bottom side Ballynahinch 19-14 at Anglesea Road.

Leinster youngster Steve Crosbie – ‘Belvo’s 19-point hero against Lansdowne – converted winger Shane McDonald’s 24th-minute try and added a penalty to establish a 10-3 interval lead.

The former Ireland Under-20 international kept the scoreboard ticking over with three more penalties, the last of which came six minutes from the end.

Battling Ballynahinch had the gap down to 16-11 at one stage thanks to Chris Quinn’s try and penalty, and the goal-kicking winger, who has now amassed 106 points this term, fired over a last-gasp penalty for a losing bonus point.

Former table toppers UCD were stunned into submission by Cork Constitution who gave their play-off hopes a huge boost with a 58-15 victory at the Belfield Bowl.

Cork Con completely dominated the second half, picking off try after try as they turned a 13-8 half-time lead into a 43-point annihilation.

Missing a number of frontliners, including late Leinster call-up Peadar Timmins, the students hit the front off a stolen lineout, the ball being moved wide for winger Barry Daly to grab his 10th try of the season.

But Con profited from a UCD yellow card to move 13-8 ahead for half-time, with a converted try supplemented by two Johnny Holland penalties in a real end-to-end tussle.

Munster out-half Holland had a brilliant day scoring-wise, finishing with 26 points courtesy of a try, six conversions and three penalties, while right winger Aaron Spring helped himself to two tries and Max Abbott, Ryan Foley, Tomas Quinlan and Darragh Lyons also dotted down for the rampant Leesiders.

Back-to-back defeats have seen UCD lose their grip on top spot. They now trail Clontarf by four points but are very much on course for the play-offs. Notably, Con have jumped ahead of Garryowen into fourth place, and also have a game in hand.