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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

In a remarkable series of results, there were five away wins during an exciting opening weekend of action in Ulster Bank League Division 1A. Lansdowne top the table courtesy of their 32-25 triumph over Garryowen.



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Scorers: Garryowen: Tries: Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham, Johnny Keane, David Johnston; Cons: Neil Cronin 2; Pens: Neil Cronin 2
Lansdowne: Tries: Alan Bennie, Daniel McEvoy 2, John O’Donnell; Cons: Scott Deasy 3; Pens: Scott Deasy 2

HT: Garryowen 10 Lansdowne 26

Lansdowne launched their Ulster Bank League campaign with a 32-25 bonus point victory away to Garryowen.

The Light Blues battled back for a late losing bonus point, but the visitors were full value for their win which builds on their early season Leinster Senior League Cup form.

Lansdowne were 26-10 and four tries to the good by half-time, Daniel McEvoy impressing with a brace and fellow winger John O’Donnell and Ireland Sevens international Alan Bennie also touching down.

Bennie’s half-back partner Scott Deasy converted three of the tries and added two second half penalties, which were needed as Garryowen finished strongly.

The hosts’ new forwards coach Denis Leamy would have been pleased to see their recovery from captain Neil Cronin’s 50th-minute sin-binning and a spell of uncontested scrums.

Having been down to 12 players at one stage due to injured props, Garryowen hit a purple patch with two tries in the space of five minutes from hard-working blindside Johnny Keane and Munster’s David Johnston.

Scrum half Cronin converted one of them and then split the posts with a 75th minute penalty to ensure his side got something out of the game at seven points down.

GARRYOWEN: Alex Wootton; Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham, Andrew O’Byrne, David Johnston, Steve McMahon; Jamie Gavin, Neil Cronin (capt); Niall Horan, Eamon Costello, Mike O’Donnell, Kevin McInerney, Paul McCarroll, Johnny Keane, Elliot Fitzgerald, Bailey Faloon.

Replacements: Caolan Moloney, Sean Seymour, Dara Shanahan, Joey Purcell, Ronan O’Halloran.

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; John O’Donnell, Mark Roche, Tom Daly, Daniel McEvoy; Scott Deasy, Alan Bennie; Peter Dooley, Tyrone Moran, Ian Prendiville (capt), Josh O’Rourke, Stephen Gardiner, Joe McSwiney, Jack O’Sullivan, Willie Earle.

Replacements: Tom Sexton, Ntinga Mpiko, Max Deegan, Ruairi O’Farrell, Charlie McMickan.

Scorers: St. Mary’s College: Try: Sean Kearns; Con: Sean Kearns; Pens: Sean Kearns 3
Cork Constitution: Tries: Rob Jermyn, Liam O’Connell, Niall Kenneally; Con: Tomas Quinlan; Pen: Tomas Quinlan

HT: St. Mary’s College 3 Cork Constitution 12

Cork Constitution survived a late onslaught from hosts St. Mary’s College to claim a deserved 20-16 win in their Ulster Bank League opener at Templeville Road.

Con captain Niall Kenneally’s 41st-minute try had put 14 points between the sides and although young out-half Sean Kearns inspired a determined fight-back from Mary’s, they ultimately had to settle for a losing bonus point.

A Kearns penalty on the stroke of half-time was Mary’s only score of the first half, as the Leesiders turned around with a 12-3 advantage.

On their return to Division 1A, Mary’s fell behind to a fifth-minute try from winger Rob Jermyn who crossed in the right corner via neat passes from Kenneally and hooker Max Abbott.

The injury-enforced departure of number 8 Kevin Sheahan, coupled with two penalty misses by Kearns, hampered Mary’s and with 33 minutes on the clock, a powerful break by Kenneally paved the way for winger Liam O’Connell to notch Con’s second try.

A third touchdown followed on the resumption, the impressive Jermyn breaking from deep to send centre Kenneally crashing over. Tomas Quinlan’s conversion was blocked by Terry Kennedy.

Mary’s dug their heels in, however, and Kearns fired over his second penalty. Soon, the visitors lost forwards Ger Sweeney and Conor Kindregan in back-to-back sin-binnings.

Just before Kindregan’s return to the pitch, Kearns sidestepped his way through for a seven-pointer. He increased his influence with a curling penalty in the 73rd minute, cutting the gap to just 17-16.

Mary’s were suddenly hot on Con’s heels, but Brian Hickey’s men eventually prevailed thanks to a coolly-struck injury-time penalty from out-half Quinlan.

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE: Jonathan McDonnell; Terry Kennedy, Ryan O’Loughlin, Ivan Dineen, Mark Fogarty; Sean Kearns, Paddy O’Driscoll; Tom O’Reilly, Hugo Kean, Brian McGovern, Ciaran Ruddock, Cathal O’Flaherty, Nick McCarthy, David Aspil, Kevin Sheahan.

Replacements: Richard Halpin, Emmet Ferron, Daragh Keller, Ian Cullinane, Zach O’Hagan.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Shane Daly; Liam O’Connell, Ned Hodson, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Tomas Quinlan, John Poland; Gavin Duffy, Max Abbott, Ger Sweeney, Brian Hayes, Darren O’Shea, Conor Kindregan, Sonny Dwyer, Evan Mintern.

Replacements: Liam O’Connor, Greg Roche, Cian Barry, Jason Higgins, JJ O’Neill.

UCD 20 CLONTARF 22, Belfield Bowl
Scorers: UCD: Tries: Stephen Murphy, Greg Jones; Cons: Cillian Burke 2; Pens: Cillian Burke 2
Clontarf: Try: Rob McGrath; Con: Rob Keogh; Pens: Rob Keogh 5

HT: UCD 10 Clontarf 10

Full-back Rob Keogh came to reigning champions Clontarf’s rescue as his late penalty saw them edge past UCD 22-20 at the Belfield Bowl.

This was a repeat of last season’s Division 1A semi-final and a league debut for new UCD head coach Andy Skehan, who gave starts to Ireland Sevens international Harry McNulty and Ireland Under-20 captain James Ryan (newly signed from Lansdowne).

Clontarf wasted little time in hitting the front. Winger Rob McGrath turned a loose ball at halfway into a superbly-taken opportunist try, and five points soon followed from Keogh’s reliable right boot, including a scrum penalty. The set piece was a real area of strength for the visitors, with Connacht lock Mick Kearney partnering skipper Ben Reilly in the engine room.

However, UCD found their rhythm entering the second quarter, winger Cillian Burke slotting a penalty and then converting Stephen Murphy’s try which saw the centre open up a gap with a clever dummy.

That made it 10-all for half-time, and it was tit-for-tat in the early part of the second half. A ruck penalty saw Keogh add to his tally before a midfield break from McNulty teed up a response from Burke.

The momentum was with the students after Ireland U-20 flanker Greg Jones broke off the back of a well-executed lineout maul to reach over for a try, with Burke continuing his excellent form with the boot for 20-13.

But ‘Tarf showed their winning mentality in a nail-biting conclusion. Two more penalties from Keogh, either side of a yellow card for UCD prop Liam Hyland, made it a one-point game with 10 minutes remaining.

Both Burke and Keogh were off target in the windier conditions before the latter made no mistake with a final place-kick to bring the points back across the Liffey.

UCD: Tom Fletcher; Cillian Burke, Harry McNulty, Stephen Murphy, Hugo Keenan; Jamie Glynn (capt), Nick McCarthy; Andrew Porter, Sean McNulty, Liam Hyland, Emmet MacMahon, James Ryan, Greg Jones, Alex Penny, Peadar Timmins.

Replacements: Gordon Frayne, Mikey Moynihan, Brian Cawley, Nick Peters, Adam Byrne.

CLONTARF: Rob Keogh; Rob McGrath, Conor O’Brien, Matt D’Arcy, Michael Brown; Evan Ryan, Dermot O’Meara; Ivan Soroka, Jonathan Larbey, Royce Burke Flynn, Ben Reilly, Michael Kearney, Michael Noone, Karl Moran, Tony Ryan.

Replacements: Rory Litchfield, Eoghan Browne, Vakh Abdaladze, Andrew Feeney, Mick McGrath.

Scorers: Young Munster: Tries: Dan Walsh 2, Rob Guerin, Darren Ryan; Cons: Paul Downes 3; Pens: Paul Downes 3
Old Belvedere: Tries: Daniel Riordan 2, Shane McDonald 2; Cons: Willie Staunton 2; Pens: Willie Staunton 2; Drops: Willie Staunton 2

HT: Young Munster 13 Old Belvedere 15

Old Belvedere squeezed past Young Munster at the end of an enthralling contest at Greenfields, with former Cookies star Willie Staunton kicking 16 points in this 36-35 triumph.

Staunton’s handsome kicking contribution – two conversions, two penalties and two drop goals – proved vital for Belvedere as they leaked an 89th minute try to Young Munster’s new flanker Dan Walsh. The touchline conversion was missed, though, and the Dubliners hung on.

Two quick-fire tries from talismanic full-back Daniel Riordan – one of them a lung-busting intercept effort – had ‘Belvo leading 15-13 at the interval.

Recent Ireland Under-20 cap Walsh grabbed an early debut try for the Cookies, but Riordan sparked his side into life with scores after 9 and 11 minutes.

Munsters were unable to convert their lion’s share of possession into points, although full-back Paul Downes’ late penalty cancelled out Staunton’s 38th-minute kick to keep the two-point deficit.

It was drama all the way in a rip-roaring second half, with the Cookies, including Munster back rower Robin Copeland, clearly determined to succeed in new head coach Gearoid Prendergast’s first league game in charge.

Twice the Limerick men breathlessly snatched the lead from ‘Belvo’s grasp thanks to tries from blindside Darren Ryan and scrum half Rob Guerin. Downes converted both and also nudged over a penalty for a 30-26 turnaround.

Staunton’s boot negated the damage for ‘Belvo and with time almost up, winger Shane McDonald clinically cut through to complete his second half brace. Walsh’s last-gasp effort ensured that both sides finished with try-scoring bonus points.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Paul Downes; David O’Mahony, Abrie Griesel, Jack Harrington, Tom McHale; Shane Airey, Rob Guerin; Gavin Ryan, Ger Slattery, Colm Skehan, Alan Ross, Michael Madden, Darren Ryan, Dan Walsh, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Peter Meyer, Evan Ryan, Sean Rennison, Elie Mundu, Mark Doyle.

OLD BELVEDERE: Daniel Riordan; Shane McDonald, Ben Woods, John Kennedy, David Brandon; Willie Staunton, Aaron Sheehan; Adam Howard, Ed Rossiter, Declan Lavery, Jack Kelly, Karl Miller, Michael Oyuga, Jonathan Slattery, Dave Sherry.

Replacements: Cathal O’Flynn, Jonathan Inglis, Tom de Jongh, Robert Cruess Callaghan, Kyle McCarthy.

TERENURE COLLEGE 18 DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 25, Lakelands Park (played on Friday)
Scorers: Terenure College: Tries: Penalty try, Jake Swaine; Con: Jake Swaine; Pens: James O’Donoghue 2
Dublin University: Tries: Paddy Finlay, Michael Courtney, Evan Dixon; Cons: Jack McDermott 2; Pens: Jack McDermott 2

HT: Terenure College 15 Dublin University 10

Dublin University enjoyed a winning Division 1A debut when they handed 14-man Terenure College a 25-18 defeat at Lakelands Park on Friday night.

Terenure were really up against it after scrum half Kevin O’Neill’s 11th-minute sending-off for use of the boot, but a penalty try and a Jake Swaine effort had the hosts 12 points to the good.

A cracking offload from centre Conor Kelly released winger Swaine to go over in the 22nd minute, with full-back James O’Donoghue adding a penalty for 15-3 nearing half-time.

However, Trinity hit their attacking stride before the break. Full-back James O’Donovan impressed on a sidestepping run and then hooker Paddy Finlay rumbled over from close range.

Despite losing prop Andy Keating to the sin-bin, the students opened the second period with another try, quick turnover ball releasing centre Michael Courtney for a powerful run to the corner.

Tony Smeeth’s youngsters pushed into a 22-15 lead thanks to winger Evan Dixon’s 55th-minute touchdown, which saw him link neatly with his brother, centre Kyle. Steady out-half Jack McDermott converted and tagged on a penalty to complete his 10-point haul, while a late kick from O’Donoghue gave gallant ‘Nure a losing bonus point.

TERENURE COLLEGE: James O’Donoghue; Jake Swaine, Conor Kelly, Willie Devane, Sam Coghlan Murray; Marc Hiney, Kevin O’Neill; Kieran Moloney, Adam Clerkin, Gary Hamilton, Mike Murphy, Cathal Deans, James O’Neill, Patrick Thornton, Kyle McCoy (capt)

Replacements: Risteard Byrne, Rory Harrison, Robert Duke, Thomas Burke, Conor Finn.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: James O’Donovan, Bryan Mollen, Michael Courtney, Kyle Dixon, Evan Dixon; Jack McDermott, Rowan Osborne; Eric O’Sullivan, Paddy Finlay, Andy Keating, Jack Burke (capt), Pierce Dargan, Sam Pim, Ross Todd, Tom Ryan.
Replacements: Liam Cronin, Fintan Murphy, Cian O’Dwyer, Daniel Joyce, Fraser Wright.