Division 1B leaders UL Bohemians continued their excellent start to the new season by defeating one of the main rivals for promotion, Ballynahinch, in a very entertaining nine-try clash in Limerick today.
BALLYMENA 15 NAAS 8, Eaton Park
Scorers: Ballymena: Tries: Stephen Mulholland, Mark Best; Con: Mark Best; Pen: Mark Best
Naas: Try: Fionn Higgins; Pen: Peter Osborne
HT: Ballymena 15 Naas 3
Recent Ulster debutant Matthew Rea produced a man-of-the-match performance as Ballymena ran out worthy 15-8 winners over Naas at Eaton Park.
Number 8 Rea was part of a strong pack that including fellow provincial players John Andrew, Kieran Treadwell and Stephen Mulholland, while Mark Best and Dave Shanahan both started behind the scrum.
Naas, who edged out Galwegians at home last week, played second fiddle to Ballymena in the first half, with tries from flanker Mulholland and classy centre Best giving Andy Graham’s men a 15-3 interval lead in wet conditions.
Out-half Peter Osborne’s 29th-minute penalty from Naas’ first incursion into Ballymena territory was the visitors’ only score until the hour mark. A tremendous break from player-coach Johne Murphy created the opening for full-back Fionn Higgins to touch down out wide with 61 minutes gone.
However, a subsequent leg injury suffered by Higgins held the game up for over half an hour. The teams resumed to play out the final nine minutes, with the Braidmen relatively untroubled in seeing out their second league win of the new season.
BALLYMENA: Rodger McBurney; Jordan Foster, Mark Best, Martin Irwin, Jonny Rosborough; Glenn Baillie, Dave Shanahan; Michael Lagan, John Andrew, Chris Cundell, David Whann, Kieran Treadwell, Connor Smyth, Stephen Mulholland, Matthew Rea.
Replacements: Adam McBurney, Adrian Kirkpatrick, Tony McGuinness, Paddy James, John Creighton.
NAAS: Fionn Higgins; Rob O’Connor, Johne Murphy, Henry Bryce, Fionn Carr; Peter Osborne, Max Whittingham; Adam Coyle, Charlie Kings, Jason Harney, Paul Monahan, David Benn, Ryan Casey, Will O’Brien, Paulie Tolofua.
Replacements: Graham Reynolds, Dan O’Byrne, Eoin Walsh, Warren Larkin, Andrew Shanahan.
BUCCANEERS 27 SHANNON 3, Dubarry Park
Scorers: Buccaneers: Tries: Rory O’Connor, Kolo Kiripati, Jordan Conroy 2; Cons: Conor McKeon 2; Pen: Conor McKeon
Shannon: Pen: Conor Fitzgerald
HT: Buccaneers 10 Shannon 3
A strong second half display inspired Buccaneers to their first win of the campaign, as they ran out comfortable 27-3 winners over Shannon in Athlone.
Brett Wilkinson’s men bounced back from a heavy defeat to Ballynahinch with this bonus point success, aided by two tries from league newcomer Jordan Conroy.
They led 10-3 at the turnaround, winger Rory O’Connor going in under the posts in the 28th minute with Connacht’s Conor McKeon, who has made the move from out-half to scrum half, converting to add to his ninth minute penalty.
A lone Conor Fitzgerald place-kick proved to be Shannon’s only score on a disappointing afternoon for Marcus Horan’s side. They suffered two sin-binnings and Buccs broke clear in the third quarter, Kiripati storming over from close range in the 41st minute and quick lineout ball, just five minutes later, was moved wide for winger Conroy to touch down.
The bonus point was pocketed by the Pirates in the 70th minute. Off a solid scrum platform five metres out, the ball was worked out to the left for Conroy to complete his brace and give his team a timely boost ahead of next Saturday’s trip to Naas.
BUCCANEERS: Luke Carty; Jordan Conroy, Shane Layden, Mata Fifita, Rory O’Connor; Alan Gaughan, Conor McKeon; Martin Staunton, John Sutton, Dylan Quinn, Cian Romaine, Ruairi Byrne, Stephen McVeigh, Evan Galvin, Kolo Kiripati (capt).
Replacements: Scott Flanagan, Rory Grenham, James Foley, Graham Lynch, Eoghan O’Reilly.
SHANNON: Ronan McKenna; Shane Mullally, Rob Deegan, Will Leonard, Tim Tobin; Conor Fitzgerald, Keith Kavanagh; Conor Glynn, Ty Chan, John Andress, Barrie Duggan, Riley Winter, John Foley, James Vaughan, Lee Nicholas (capt).
Replacements: Jordan Prenderville, Tony Cusack, Niall Mulcahy, Sean Markham, Ronan Hunt.
GALWEGIANS 31 UCC 14, Crowley Park
Scorers: Galwegians: Tries: Matthew Byrne, Cormac Brennan, Jack Dinneen, Conor Carey, Aidan Moynihan; Cons: Mitch Lam 3
UCC: Try: Cillian Ansbro; Pens: Kevin O’Keeffe 3
HT: Galwegians 12 UCC 11
Galwegians erased UCC’s early 11-point lead to chalk up their maiden win of the season, notching five tries in a 31-14 triumph at Crowley Park.
Brian McClearn’s charges were staring at a second successive defeat when wind-backed UCC scored 11 points in as many minutes, Kevin O’Keeffe booting two penalties and fellow winger Cillian Ansbro dotting down in the corner after a fine run by lock Darragh Moloney.
‘Wegians began to make inroads in the 19th minute when recent Connacht Academy recruit Matthew Byrne scored a seven-pointer from their first meaningful attack. Despite Byrne and prop Jason East being forced off in the second quarter, centre Cormac Brennan dummied his way through for the hosts’ second try and a 12-11 half-time lead.
Maintaining that momentum, an intercept from new out-half Mitch Lam set the wheels in motion for hooker Jack Dinneen’s 42nd-minute try. Lam converted before O’Keeffe landed a penalty, three minutes later, for a 19-14 scoreline.
The Cork students stayed in the hunt despite leaking a 57th-minute bonus point score to ‘Wegians replacement prop Conor Carey, who signed for Connacht last March. But the result was put beyond doubt by a closing try from full-back Aidan Moynihan which Lam converted.
GALWEGIANS: Aidan Moynihan; Matthew Byrne, Cormac Brennan, Brian Murphy (capt), Ed O’Keeffe; Mitch Lam, Barry Lee; Jason East, Jack Dinneen, Conan O’Donnell, Matt Towey, Eoin Tarmey, Paul Hackett, Josh Pim, Anthony Ryan.
Replacements: Conor Carey, John Moloney, Ronan Moore, Alan McMahon, Dave Clarke.
UCC: Chris McAuliffe; Kevin O’Keeffe, Kevin Slater (capt), Murray Linn, Cillian Ansbro; Charlie O’Regan, Richard Walsh; Peter McCabe, Ben Burns, Charlie Slowey, Darragh Moloney, Ben Mitchell, Richard Moran, Conor Barry, Daire Feeney.
Replacements: Danny Collins, Michael Shinkwin, Graham Smith, Andrew Dorgan, James Kiernan.
OLD WESLEY 21 DOLPHIN 10, Donnybrook
Scorers: Old Wesley: Tries: Paul Harte 2; Con: Barry McLaughlin; Pens: Barry McLaughlin 3
Dolphin: Try: Barry Fitzgerald; Con: Barry Keeshan; Pen: Cillian Monahan
HT: Old Wesley 18 Dolphin 0
Old Wesley marked today’s opening of their new pavilion and clubhouse at Donnybrook with a two-try 21-10 dismissal of Dolphin.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and IRFU President Stephen Hilditch were both present for the official ceremony before Morgan Lennon’s Wesley side took to the 4G pitch to make it two wins from two.
Following up on last week’s hard-fought three-point victory at UCC, the hosts scored 18 unanswered points in the first half with Paul Harte bagging a brace of tries to add to his second half effort in Cork.
The left winger stepped through a gap to score by the posts, adding to an initial penalty from Barry McLaughlin. A second three-pointer followed from the latter, before fast-breaking Kiwi centre Isaac Leota sliced open the Dolphin defence and provided the assist for Harte’s second try of the afternoon.
David Corkery’s half-time team talk had the desired effect as Dolphin immediately hit back with a Cillian Monahan penalty, and further indiscipline from Wesley allowed the Corkmen to enjoy more possession and territory.
McLaughlin kept the home side on course with a central penalty from outside the Dolphin 22. Yellow cards in the final quarter for props David Henshaw (scrum) and flanker Stephen Boyle (offside) put Wesley under increasing pressure, and from a tap penalty, Dolphin got over for a late consolation try through blindside Barry Fitzgerald.
OLD WESLEY: Rory Stynes; Barry McLaughlin, Isaac Leota, James Nolan, Paul Harte; Tim Clifford, Ian Cassidy; Martin Gately, Craig Telford, David Henshaw, Josh Hinde, Michael Dunleavy, Darren Horan (capt), Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley.
Replacements: Conor Maguire, Ken Knaggs, Donnchadh Phelan, Adam Kennedy, Adam Griggs.
DOLPHIN: Barry Keeshan; Kevin Cooke, Jimmy Ahern, Cian McGovern, Will Hanly; Cillian Monahan, Daryl Foley; Liam Walsh, Caolan O’Flynn, James Rochford, Dave O’Mahony, Barry Fitzgerald, Karl Keogh, Kevin Allen, Ryan Murphy (capt).
Replacements: Cian Scott, Dave Hartnett, Kevin O’Leary, Killian O’Keeffe, Ian O’Donoghue.
UL BOHEMIANS 38 BALLYNAHINCH 22, University of Limerick 4G pitch
Scorers: UL Bohemians: Tries: Jamie McNamara 2, Brian Walsh, Robbie Bourke, James Ryan, Finbar Aherne; Con: Robbie Bourke; Pens: Robbie Bourke 2
Ballynahinch: Tries: Oliver Brown, Aaron Cairns, Jordan Grattan; Cons: Johnny McPhillips 2; Pen: Johnny McPhillips
HT: UL Bohemians 18 Ballynahinch 7
UL Bohemians had another sensational day at the office, running six tries past a highly-rated Ballynahinch side to move two points clear at the top of Division 1B.
Christy Neilan’s team claimed their second try-scoring bonus point in as many games with right winger Jamie McNamara scoring two of their impressive haul against ‘Hinch, who dropped down from Division 1A last season.
‘Hinch certainly missed the influence of Ulster’s Sam Windsor and captain Mike Graham, and they were left trailing 18-7 by half-time with McNamara, number 8 Brian Walsh and out-half Robbie Bourke, who kicked a penalty, all touching down on the UL North Campus 4G pitch.
‘Hinch’s Ireland Under-20 out-half Johnny McPhillips, who lined out for the first time with ex-Trinity scrum half Angus Lloyd, converted debutant winger Oliver Brown’s try which came from a McPhillips grubber kick.
The margin was down to 18-14 after Ireland Sevens international Aaron Cairns touched down in the corner from quick turnover ball. However, once they got back up to a high intensity and accuracy, Bohs pushed on with a second Bourke penalty and a brilliant try from their own 22 by flanker James Ryan.
A subsequent penalty from McPhillips was cancelled out by a Finbar Aherne intercept effort for 31-17 and UL completed their six-try salvo with a second score from McNamara, set up for the second time by influential full-back Joe Murray.
Had ‘Hinch been more clinical with ball in hand, they may have claimed a try-scoring bonus point, but try number three did come before the final whistle. Stuart Morrow split the home defence to tee up his centre partner Jordan Grattan in the dying minutes.
UL BOHEMIANS: Joe Murray; Jamie McNamara, Finbar Aherne, Harry Fleming, Cian Aherne; Robbie Bourke, Cathal Sheridan; Philip Poillot, Joe Bennett, Peter King, Ed Kelly, Noel Kinane, James Ryan, Ian Condell (capt), Brian Walsh.
Replacements: Joey Conway, David Rowsome, Pat Staff, Daragh Frawley, Rory White.
BALLYNAHINCH: Steve Macauley; Oliver Brown, Stuart Morrow, Jordan Grattan, Aaron Cairns; Johnny McPhillips, Angus Lloyd; Craig Trenier, Joe Roe, Jonny Blair, James Simpson, John Donnan, Conor Joyce, Connor Phillips, Lorcan Dow.
Replacements: Andrew Harper, Stuart Orr, Keith Dickson, Justin Rea, Ross Carlisle.