There were tries aplenty at Ballymacarn Park today where Naas touched down six times in a stunning 41-26 Ulster Bank League Division 1B win over hosts Ballynahinch.
BALLYNAHINCH 26 NAAS 41, Ballymacarn Park
Scorers: Ballynahinch: Tries: Sam Windsor, Davy Nicholson, David Busby, Kenny Morton; Cons: Sam Windsor, Johnny McPhillips 2
Naas: Tries: Will O’Brien, Fionn Carr, Eoin Walsh, Paulie Tolofua, Rob O’Connor, David Benn; Cons: Peter Osborne 4; Pen: Peter Osborne
HT: Ballynahinch 14 Naas 26
Flanker Conor Joyce, who played the final 10 minutes of Ulster’s derby defeat to Munster, and winger Jacob Stockdale were among the young northern talents in the Ballynahinch line-up.
Out-half Sam Windsor – one of 11 changes from the Co. Down club’s 35-32 loss at Old Wesley – turned early pressure into the game’s opening try. However, openside and captain Will O’Brien was quick to respond for Naas who were clinical in finishing their scoring chances, swiftly bagging the bonus point for a 26-14 half-time lead.
Former professional Fionn Carr claimed his third try of the campaign, while number 8 Eoin Walsh and hard-hitting replacement Paulie Tolofua also crossed the whitewash to cancel out a Davy Nicholson effort in the corner.
Tolofua’s score was the best of the lot, the big Samoan breaking the line at halfway and charging clear for a five-pointer out wide. Naas managed to keep ‘Hinch’s main threats quiet, with the home side also guilty of a number of individual errors.
Further tries from winger Rob O’Connor (55 minutes) and lock David Benn (63) saw the Kildare men stamp their authority on the game, as Johne Murphy’s hungry team rose to fourth in the table.
Quick-fire scores from former Ireland Under-20 international David Busby (70) and lock Kenny Morton (73) reduced the arrears for ‘Hinch to 38-26, before Naas full-back Peter Osborne completed his 11-point haul with a closing penalty.
BALLYNAHINCH: Steve Macauley; Jacob Stockdale, Stuart Morrow, Jordan Grattan, Davy Nicholson; Sam Windsor, Angus Lloyd; Jonny Simpson, Jonny Murphy, Craig Trenier, Kenny Morton, John Donnan, Conor Joyce, Connor Phillips, Michael Graham (capt).
Replacements: Jonny Blair, Joe Roe, Keith Dickson, Johnny McPhillips, David Busby.
NAAS: Peter Osborne; Rob O’Connor, Johne Murphy, Henry Bryce, Fionn Carr; Michael Skelton, Max Whittingham; Adam Coyle, Graham Reynolds, Jason Harney, Stephen Kinneavy, David Benn, Paul Monahan, Will O’Brien (capt), Eoin Walsh.
Replacements: Warren Larkin, Jordan Duggan, Paulie Tolofua, Andrew Kearney, Ben Swindlehurst.
DOLPHIN 22 BUCCANEERS 31, Irish Independent Park
Scorers: Dolphin: Tries: Will Hanly, Ryan Murphy, Brian Scott; Cons: Barry Keeshan 2; Pen: Barry Keeshan
Buccaneers: Tries: Rory Moloney, Conor McKeon, Danie Poolman; Cons: Alan Gaughan, Conor McKeon; Pens: Alan Gaughan 4
HT: Dolphin 15 Buccaneers 12
Second-placed Buccaneers strung together 13 unanswered points in the closing stages to defeat hosts Dolphin 31-22 at Irish Independent Park.
Half-backs Alan Gaughan and Conor McKeon combined for 21 points, the former, who is back from GAA duty with Athlone, kicking four penalties and a conversion.
Cillian Monahan and Timmy Phelan were added to Dolphin’s back-three with Munster development lock John Madigan bolstering the pack. A superb individual try by winger Will Hanly out wide put the hosts ahead on the scoreboard.
However, scores from Rory Moloney and McKeon – the scrum half scampering clear and converting in the 22nd minute – saw Buccs lead 12-8 by half-time, their back row of Stephen McVeigh, Moloney and skipper Kolo Kiripati growing in influence as the minutes went by.
Dolphin captain Ryan Murphy was the scorer of their second try, but the lowly Corkmen had a streak of indiscipline which was ruthlessly punished by Gaughan’s reliable boot.
The Buccaneers number 10 notched penalties after 45 and 55 minutes, although Dolphin continued to cause problems for the visitors’ defence and good attacking play led to Munster prop Brian Scott going over, with Barry Keeshan converting for a 22-18 turnaround.
But, crucially, Buccs held Dolphin scoreless for the remainder and tacked on 13 points without reply. Gaughan split the posts with two more penalties in the 69th and 72nd minutes and also converted Connacht winger Danie Poolman’s try which saw him power over by the posts to take the bonus point away from the home side.
DOLPHIN: Cillian Monahan; Will Hanly, Cian McGovern, Sam Kennedy, Timmy Phelan; Barry Keeshan, Killian O’Keeffe; James Rochford, Liam Walsh, Brian Scott, Dave O’Mahony, John Madigan, Karl Keogh, Kevin Allen, Ryan Murphy (capt).
Replacements: Anthony Mason, Lar Coughlan, Dave Byrne, Daryl Foley, Denis Hurley.
BUCCANEERS: Luke Carty; Danie Poolman, Shane Layden, Mata Fifita, Eoghan O’Reilly; Alan Gaughan, Conor McKeon; Martin Staunton, John Sutton, Dylan Quinn, Daniel Qualter, Simon Meagher, Stephen McVeigh, Rory Moloney, Kolo Kiripati (capt).
Replacements: Rory Grenham, Scott Flanagan, Ruairi Byrne, Graham Lynch, Rob O’Connor.
OLD WESLEY 35 GALWEGIANS 25, Donnybrook
Scorers: Old Wesley: Tries: Barry McLaughlin, Ian Cassidy, David Henshaw, Isaac Leota; Cons: Barry McLaughlin 3; Pens: Barry McLaughlin 3
Galwegians: Tries: Ed O’Keeffe, Rory Parata 2, Barry Lee; Con: Conor Lowndes; Pen: Conor Lowndes
HT: Old Wesley 18 Galwegians 25
Leinster hooker Richardt Strauss continued his return from knee surgery by playing in Old Wesley’s 35-25 bonus point success at home to Galwegians this afternoon.
Strauss was called ashore early in the second half, getting some more game-time on the back of last week’s run-out with Leinster ‘A’ in the British & Irish Cup, which was also at Donnybrook.
Strauss was involved early on today, his clear-out at a ruck leading to a penalty stuck over by Barry McLaughlin, Division 1B’s top points scorer so far.
Galwegians’ ten personnel changes from the last round included the return of Connacht Eagles centres Rory Parata and Mitch Lam and fit-again captain Brian Murphy, giving their back-line a serious boost.
Indeed, the visitors took a 25-18 lead into the break, Connacht Academy winger Ed O’Keeffe and senior-capped centre Parata setting them on their way with 10th and 15th minute tries out wide. The defending Isaac Leota missed a potential intercept to leave an overlap for O’Keeffe’s score, and then Parata chased down his own grubber kick which wrong-footed McLaughlin.
A second three-pointer from McLaughlin, coming after ‘Wegian skipper Murphy was sin-binned for a tip tackle, and Wesley’s goal-kicker was soon over the try-line after a good move from a Strauss lineout throw.
‘Wegians made it 17-11 thanks to Parata’s second try as the lively centre profited from an interception, and following Murphy’s return, the Connacht men went wide off a lineout to send winger Barry Lee through for their bonus point score.
A subsequent Conor Lowndes penalty was cancelled out by a timely try by Wesley scrum half Ian Cassidy whose clever dummy and pace off the mark saw him touch down from a close-in ruck.
Wesley’s dominance of the scrum continued on the restart, and McLaughlin punished an off-the-ball tackle with three more points, reducing the arrears to just 25-21.
Galwegians were then forced to see out the game with 14 players after centre Murphy picked up his second yellow card for taking McLaughlin out after a kick. The resulting penalty was sent towards the corner and replacement David Henshaw peeled off the maul for a key seven-pointer.
Wesley were never really troubled after that, the ‘Wegians defence doing well to hold up another couple of mauls before Kiwi centre Leota got that elusive intercept to run in the bonus point try. The result moves Morgan Lennon’s men up to third place, with ‘Wegians sliding down to eighth.
OLD WESLEY: Rory Stynes; Barry McLaughlin, Isaac Leota, Ger Finucane, Alan Jeffares; Tim Clifford, Ian Cassidy; Ken Knaggs, Richardt Strauss, James Burton, Michael Dunleavy, Iain McGann, Darren Horan (capt), Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley.
Replacements: Conor Maguire, David Henshaw, Matthew Bursey, Donnchadh Phelan, Conor Fitzgerald.
GALWEGIANS: Cormac Brennan; Ed O’Keeffe, Rory Parata, Brian Murphy (capt), Barry Lee; Mitch Lam, Conor Lowndes; Patrick Curran, John Moloney, Doron McHugh, Matthew Towey, Anthony Ryan, Ronan Moore, Marc Kelly, Josh Pim.
Replacements: Dave O’Connor, Martin Fox, Tadhg Campbell, Matt Quinn, Dave Clarke.
UCC 17 SHANNON 9, the Mardyke
Scorers: UCC: Try: Kevin Slater; Pens: Kevin O’Keeffe 4
Shannon: Pens: Conor Fitzgerald 3
HT: UCC 6 Shannon 9
Centre and captain Kevin Slater crossed for the only try to guide UCC past Shannon on a 17-9 scoreline at the Mardyke.
The Cork students converted an overlap wide on the right as Slater snaked over in the 72nd minute, putting themselves out of reach of bottom side Shannon who remain without a win after five rounds.
Former captain Tom Hayes, who led Shannon to league titles in 2004 and 2005, put his boots back on to line out in the second row today. The 36-year-old retired from the professional game in 2013 due to a back injury, but agreed to link up with his old club this season as a defence/lineout coach.
Hayes paired up at lock with Australian youngster Riley Winter and they were the fulcrum of a couple of promising early mauls. An eighth minute penalty from out-half Conor Fitzgerald got Shannon on the scoreboard.
Marcus Horan’s young side led 9-6 at half-time, two set piece penalties leading to goals by UCC winger Kevin O’Keeffe and Fitzgerald nudging Shannon back in front with a thumping 35th minute effort from just inside the hosts’ half.
However, UCC avoided any further concessions despite a yellow card, and a well-struck 46th minute penalty from O’Keeffe had the students back on level terms.
There were penalty misses at both ends either side of the hour mark, but Shannon were guilty of going off their feet in the 68th minute and O’Keeffe was back on target for a 12-9 lead. The College outfit regained possession from the restart, setting up one of their best attacking spells with Slater’s unconverted effort getting them over the finish line.
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, Darragh Moloney, Ben Mitchell, Conor Barry, Cathal Gallagher, Richie Moran.
Replacements: Charlie Slowey, Shane O’Hanlon, Eoin Feeney, Graham Smith, Tom Kiersey.
SHANNON: Ronan McKenna; Nathan Randles, Rob Deegan, Jack O’Donnell, Richie Mullane; Conor Fitzgerald, Jack Stafford; Conor Glynn, Ben Burns, Tony Cusack, Tom Hayes, Riley Winter, James Vaughan, John Foley, Lee Nicholas (capt).
Replacements: Niall Mulcahy, John Andress, Paddy Kearns, Darren Gavin, Will Leonard.
UL BOHEMIANS 25 BALLYMENA 15, University of Limerick 4G pitch
Scorers: UL Bohemians: Tries: David Rowsome, Brian Walsh, Jamie McNamara, Joe Murray; Con: Rick McKenna; Pen: Rick McKenna
Ballymena: Tries: Jonny Rosborough, Rodger McBurney; Con: Callum Patterson; Pen: Callum Patterson
HT: UL Bohemians 17 Ballymena 15
Three first half tries put UL Bohemians on course for a 25-15 bonus point victory over Ballymena, one of their main rivals for promotion from Division 1B.
After a three-week break in league fixtures, UL resumed in fine fettle as they took their haul at the top of the table to 24 points out of a possible 25.
Callum Patterson’s fourth-minute penalty got Ballymena off to a good start on the University’s 4G pitch, but once hooker David Rowsome opened Bohs’ try-scoring account six minutes later, they never looked back.
Christy Neilan’s well-drilled team were 17-3 ahead by the half hour mark, number 8 Brian Walsh and winger Jamie McNamara (his fifth try in as many games) joining Rowsome in crossing the whitewash.
However, the Braidmen were not third in the table before kick-off for nothing. Enjoying a serious purple patch before half-time, they ran in tries through winger Jonny Rosborough and full-back Rodger McBurney to pull it back to a two-point game.
Most of the second half play was in the forwards, both defences giving very little away until a 59th minute penalty from Rick McKenna, who moved to scrum half to deputise for injured Bohs talisman Cathal Sheridan.
Four minutes from the end, UL settled the issue and pocketed another valuable bonus point when loosehead Joey Conway made it over in the corner. Having maintained their winning form, Bohs face a testing midlands clash next Saturday when they visit second-placed Buccaneers.
UL BOHEMIANS: Joe Murray; Cian Aherne, Finbar Aherne, Harry Fleming, Jamie McNamara; Robbie Bourke, Rick McKenna; Joey Conway, David Rowsome, Philip Poillot, Noel Kinane, Ed Kelly, James Ryan, Ian Condell (capt), Brian Walsh.
Replacements: Peter King, Daragh Frawley, Pat Staff, Eamon Boland, Rory White.
BALLYMENA: Rodger McBurney; Jordan Foster, Callum Patterson, Martin Irwin, Jonny Rosborough; John Creighton, Dave Shanahan; Houston Bonnar, Adam McBurney, Chris Cundell, David Whann (capt), Connor Smyth, Mark Foster, Tony McGuinness, Stephen Mulholland.
Replacements: Andrew Cundell, James Carson, Willie McKay, James Beattie, Ritchie McMaster.