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Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Review

Division 1B leaders UL Bohemians needed a late penalty from Rick McKenna to seal a hard-fought 27-23 victory over a determined Galwegians side at Crowley Park today.



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Scorers: Galwegians: Tries: Peadar O’Beirn, Aidan Moynihan, Matthew Quinn; Con: Conor Lowndes; Pens: Conor Lowndes 2
UL Bohemians: Tries: James Ryan, Brian Walsh, Finbar Aherne; Cons: Rick McKenna 3; Pens: Rick McKenna 2

HT: Galwegians 10 UL Bohemians 14

It was the first time that UL Bohemians have failed to net a try-scoring bonus point since the league season began, and Christy Neilan’s men had to overcome their stiffest test so far.

It was Jekyll and Hyde stuff from Galwegians in the early stages, winger Peadar O’Beirn breaking through for a try in the corner before Connacht prop Conan O’Donnell was sin-binned for collapsing a UL maul.

Bohs repeated the trick two minutes later, driving from cleanly-won lineout ball for flanker James Ryan to touch down with Kiwi out-half McKenna quickly converting.

McKenna’s opposite number Aidan Moynihan evaded a couple of tackles for an excellent 20th minute try out wide, but UL hit back just before half-time, excellent number 8 Brian Walsh finishing off a move on the left wing.

Leading 14-10 at half-time, the Limerick men had the better of an attritional third quarter that saw the influential O’Donnell and UL’s talismanic scrum half Cathal Sheridan (leg fracture) both go off with injuries.

Conor Lowndes and McKenna swapped penalties before UL put impressive width on the ball and worked centre Finbar Aherne over for a 58th minute try. Converted by McKenna, that looked to be the game’s decisive score at 24-13.

But back came ‘Wegians, whose forwards were just held up before full-back Lowndes booted a 70th minute penalty. Winger Matthew Quinn then made it over in the left corner, barely four minutes later.

Lowndes’ successful conversion left just a point in it – 24-23 – only for ‘Wegians to falter in the dying minutes, a costly and controversially-awarded yellow card, after UL had hacked downfield, setting up McKenna’s final nail in the coffin.

GALWEGIANS: Conor Lowndes; Matthew Quinn, Adam Leavy, Dave Clarke, Peadar O’Beirn; Aidan Moynihan, Barry Lee; Jason East, Jack Dinneen, Conan O’Donnell, Marc Kelly, Anthony Ryan, Ronan Moore, Paul Hackett, Josh Pim.

Replacements: Patrick Curran, Doron McHugh, Matthew Towey, Eamon Dowling, Gearoid Armstrong.

UL BOHEMIANS: Joe Murray; Jamie McNamara, Finbar Aherne, Harry Fleming, Cian Aherne; Rick McKenna, Cathal Sheridan; Philip Poillot, David Rowsome, Peter Kelleher, Ed Kelly, Noel Kinane, James Ryan, Ian Condell (capt), Brian Walsh.

Replacements: Eamon Boland, Joey Conway, Pat Staff, Daragh Frawley, Robbie Bourke.

Scorers: Ballymena: Tries: James Beattie 2, Rodger McBurney; Cons: Glenn Baillie 3; Pen: Glenn Baillie
Dolphin: Try: Ryan Murphy; Con: Barry Keeshan; Pens: Barry Keeshan 3

HT: Ballymena 0 Dolphin 9

Centre James Beattie crossed for two tries in a man-of-the-match display as Ballymena came from behind to defeat Dolphin at Eaton Park.

Having lost their way at UCC last week, Ballymena were determined not to lose to Cork opposition for the second week running. But without their Ulster ‘A’-tied players, including top scorer Mark Best, the Braidmen had to battle back from a 9-0 interval deficit.

Buoyed by their home win over Galwegians, Dolphin were good value for that nine-point advantage as lynchpin out-half Barry Keeshan converted three first half penalty opportunities. Their dominant form deserved a try but the hosts scrambled well to keep their line intact.

It was Beattie’s opening try, three minutes into the second period, that lifted the intensity for Ballymena. Glenn Baillie converted and also added the extras from the touchline to Beattie’s second effort, as the latter’s midfield partnership with Marty Irwin grew in influence.

The Ulster club’s lead was short-lived, though, as Dolphin number 8 and captain Ryan Murphy muscled over from a lineout drive and the excellent Keeshan put David Corkery’s side back in front at 16-14.

Crucially, Ballymena full-back Rodger McBurney then stepped up to the mark, using his power and pace to run in a tremendous solo try with four minutes remaining. Baillie converted and with Dolphin leaking a penalty in front of the posts in the second minute of injury-time – much to their frustration – a closing penalty from the Ballymena number 10 took the losing bonus point away from them.

BALLYMENA: Rodger McBurney; Jordan Foster, James Beattie, Marty Irwin, Jonny Rosborough; Glenn Baillie, John Creighton; Bryan Young, James Taggart, Chris Cundell, David Whann (capt), Connor Smyth, Mark Foster, Tony McGuinness, James Gallagher.

Replacements: Adrian Kirkpatrick, Andrew Ferguson, Joe Thompson, Matthew Norris, Ian Vance.

DOLPHIN: Cameron O’Shaughnessy; Gerry Ryan, Cian McGovern, Sam Kennedy, Will Hanly; Barry Keeshan, Killian O’Keeffe; James Rochford, Caolan O’Flynn, Liam Walsh, Dave O’Mahony, Barry Fitzgerald, Karl Keogh, Kevin Allen, Ryan Murphy (capt).

Replacements: Rob O’Herlihy, Lar Coughlan, Cian Scott, Anthony Mason, Ian O’Donoghue, Daryl Foley.

BUCCANEERS 49 UCC 36, Dubarry Park
Scorers: Buccaneers: Tries: Jordan Conroy 2, Penalty try, Saba Meunargia, Stephen McVeigh, Mata Fifita; Cons: Conor McKeon 3, Alan Gaughan 2; Pens: Conor McKeon 3
UCC: Tries: Rob O’Donovan, Conor Barry 2, Daire Feeney, Chris McAuliffe; Cons: Kevin O’Keeffe 4; Pen: Kevin O’Keeffe

HT: Buccaneers 25 UCC 10

Connacht Academy prop Saba Meunargia made a try-scoring return from injury as Buccaneers ran out six-try 49-36 winners over UCC at Dubarry Park.

Buccs’ in-form winger Jordan Conroy and UCC flanker Conor Barry both bagged braces as the sides tallied up 11 tries in a veritable avalanche of scores. Man-of-the-match Conroy scored his try double inside the opening 14 minutes.

The Pirates, who have cut UL Bohemians’ lead at the top to four points, built a 25-10 lead for half-time, with their first half haul including a penalty try in the 29th minute.

UCC turned a late bout of pressure into their opening try from prop Rob O’Donovan, just before the break, and Barry’s first effort in the 42nd minute, following a series of ground-gaining pick and goes, reduced the arrears to 25-17.

Suddenly, Buccs were under all sorts of pressure as College full-back Chris McAuliffe ran in an unconverted 47th minute try, profiting from a tremendous offload by goal-kicking winger Kevin O’Keeffe.

But the home side steadied the ship with a Conor McKeon penalty and their bonus point score in the 60th minute. The final quarter produced four more tries, including two O’Keeffe-converted scores from Barry and number 8 Daire Feeney, however Buccs had the final say as centre Mata Fifita’s late try took the losing bonus point out of UCC’s clutches.

BUCCANEERS: Luke Carty; Eoghan O’Reilly, Shane Layden, Mata Fifita, Jordan Conroy; Alan Gaughan, Conor McKeon; Martin Staunton, John Sutton, Saba Meunargia, Ruairi Byrne, Daniel Qualter, Evan Galvin, Rory Moloney, Stephen McVeigh.

Replacements: Dylan Quinn, Rory Grenham, James Foley, Graham Lynch, Rory O’Connor.

UCC: Chris McAuliffe; Kevin O’Keeffe, Kevin Slater (capt), Murray Linn, James Kiernan; Charlie O’Regan, Richard Walsh; Peter McCabe, Ben Burns, Rob O’Donovan, David Lynch, Richard Moran, Conor Barry, Graham Smith, Daire Feeney.

Replacements: Charlie Slowey, Emmet McCarthy, Lee McSherry, Tom Kiersey, Cillian Ansbro.

Scorers: Old Wesley: Tries: Mark Robinson, Ger Finucane 2, Stephen Boyle; Cons: Barry McLaughlin 3; Pens: Barry McLaughlin 3
Ballynahinch: Tries: Andrew Harper, James McBriar 2, Jordan Grattan; Cons: Steve Macauley, James McBriar 2; Pens: Stephen Macauley 2

HT: Old Wesley 17 Ballynahinch 13

Another free-scoring contest at Donnybrook where Old Wesley and Ballynahinch shared out eight tries, and two closing penalties from Wesley winger Barry McLaughlin proved decisive.

Replacement out-half James McBriar’s second try of the afternoon moved ‘Hinch ahead for the first time at 32-29, before McLaughlin split the posts twice in quick succession to complete his all-important 15-point contribution from the tee.

Prop Ken Knaggs had a big influence too in those defining final minutes, forcing the ruck penalty which McLaughlin turned into the winning score and claiming a relieving turnover just before the final whistle.

This was a very entertaining clash and the sides tore into each other right from the off, Wesley lock Mark Robinson finishing off good work by Ian Cassidy and Rory Stynes for the opening try.

The Dubliners led 17-13 at half-time, centre Ger Finucane getting over for their second touchdown and Steve Macauley adding a conversion and two penalties to ‘Hinch’s try from blindside Andrew Harper.

Wesley resumed on the attack with loosehead Knaggs stepping in at centre to provide a memorable assist for Finucane’s second try. McLaughlin converted for 24-13 and ‘Hinch, despite some dogged defending, were now struggling to stay in touch.

The Co. Down side’s classy inside centre Stuart Morrow then stepped up to the mark, using a quick tap to break from halfway and pass for McBriar to claim an encouraging seven-pointer.

A really well taken try from Wesley flanker Stephen Boyle, who fended off Davy Nicholson’s challenge, kept the hosts on course, but back-to-back efforts from lively replacements Jordan Grattan and McBriar, with Morrow again heavily involved, saw ‘Hinch nip in front with 15 minutes remaining.

Wesley held their nerve, though, to capitalise on ‘Hinch’s second sin-binning – McBriar was the man to go – as McLaughlin’s accurate kicks saw the visitors overhauled. Their third win has Morgan Lennon’s men up to fourth in the table, two points ahead of ‘Hinch.

OLD WESLEY: Rory Stynes; Barry McLaughlin, Isaac Leota, Ger Finucane, Alan Jeffares; Tim Clifford, Ian Cassidy; Ken Knaggs, David Rowley, James Burton, Aaron Browne, Mark Robinson, Darren Horan (capt), Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley.

Replacements: Craig Telford, David Henshaw, Jonathan O’Sullivan, Matthew Bursey, Wes Deverell.

BALLYNAHINCH: Justin Rea; Steve Macauley, Stuart Morrow, Davy Nicholson (capt), Chris Quinn; Ross Carlisle, Chris Gibson; Kelvin Hamilton, Andrew Harper, Stuart Orr, Stewart Evans, Kenny Morton, Keith Dickson, Ben Pentland, James Simpson (capt).

Replacements: Jonny Blair, Jonny Murphy, Brian Howard, James McBriar, Jordan Grattan.

SHANNON 10 NAAS 14, Thomond Park back pitch
Scorers: Shannon: Try: Lee Nicholas; Con: Ronan McKenna; Pen: Ronan McKenna
Naas: Tries: Rob O’Connor, Johne Murphy; Cons: Peter Osborne 2

HT: Shannon 7 Naas 0

Shannon remain rooted to the bottom of the Division 1B table after tumbling to a four-point home defeat at the hands of Naas.

Naas player-coach Johne Murphy got over in the corner for the vital 71st minute try, moving his side up to sixth in the standings after their second win in four games.

Winless Shannon did enjoy a brilliant start on Thomond Park’s back pitch, their second row and captain Lee Nicholas breaking through for a try after barely a minute.

Out-half Ronan McKenna added the conversion and the Limerick men were still seven points to the good at half-time, their hard-working pack containing Munster front row signing John Andress and Munster Academy number 8 John Foley.

Naas scrum half Peter Osborne hit the woodwork with a first half penalty attempt, but Murphy’s charges burst out the blocks on the restart, with right winger Rob O’Connor streaking clear for a 41st minute try.

Osborne’s conversion tied things up and although McKenna landed a 68th minute penalty, the Shannon defence gave way just three minutes later when the Naas back-line clicked and Murphy supplied the finishing touches. An excellent conversion followed from Osborne, an important strike which left Shannon scrambling for a late try which never came.

SHANNON: Darren Gavin; Nathan Randles, Rob Deegan, Will Leonard, Shane Mullally; Ronan McKenna, Jack Stafford; Conor Glynn, Ty Chan, John Andress, Riley Winter, Lee Nicholas (capt), Brian Downey, James Vaughan, John Foley.

Replacements: Niall Mulcahy, Conor Beary, Paddy Kearns, Ed Barry, Fionn McGibney.

NAAS: Fionn Carr; Rob O’Connor, Johne Murphy, Henry Bryce, Andrew Shanahan; Michael Skelton, Peter Osborne; Dan O’Byrne, Graham Reynolds, Adam Coyle, Paul Monahan, David Benn, Warren Larkin, Will O’Brien (capt), Eoin Walsh.

Replacements: Conor Johnson, Jason Harney, Cillian Dempsey, Andrew Kearney, Max Whittingham.