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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Dublin University’s loss to Lansdowne, combined with Young Munster’s thrilling bonus point success at St. Mary’s, has the Cookies at the top of the pile in Ulster Bank League Division 1A.



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Scorers: Cork Constitution: Tries: Max Abbott, Evan Mintern, Shane Daly, Niall Kenneally; Cons: Tomas Quinlan 4; Pen: Tomas Quinlan
Terenure College: Tries: Kevin O’Neill, Stephen Caffrey; Con: Jake Swaine; Pen: Jake Swaine

HT: Cork Constitution 14 Terenure College 10

Cork Constitution swept clear of Division 1A’s bottom side Terenure College in the second half to register a 31-15 win at Temple Hill this afternoon.

Constitution won for the third time in as many games, claiming their first try-scoring bonus point of the campaign thanks to a late breakaway score from captain Niall Kenneally.

CBC Cork starlet and Ireland Under-19 international Alex McHenry came in on the left wing for Con, with flanker Graeme Lawler, their lone try scorer from last week’s victory at Old Belvedere, promoted from the bench.

Smarting from their derby loss to neighbours St. Mary’s, Terenure had four personnel changes in centre Willie Devane and forwards Gary Hamilton, Silvio Borza and Stephen Caffrey, while the absence of Mark O’Neill at out-half saw James O’Donoghue don the number 10 shirt.

Jake Swaine’s fourth-minute penalty was the game’s only score until Terenure flanker James O’Neill was the victim of what the visitors felt was a harsh yellow card.

Constitution quickly took advantage, mauling hooker Max Abbott over for a 27th minute try which Tomas Quinlan converted. It gave the Leesiders a considerable boost, playing into a strong wind.

That score seemed to open the floodgates somewhat, near the end of a forwards-dominated first half. Evan Mintern and Kevin O’Neill swapped tries for a 14-10 half-time scoreline.

The second period was just as physical, a 20-metre penalty from out-half Quinlan breaking the deadlock in the 54th minute while ‘Nure’s Devane was in the sin-bin for a high and early tackle.

Leading by seven points, Brian Hickey’s men needed to make the result safe and they did so with two converted tries in a seven-minute spell. Backs and forwards combined to set up full-back Shane Daly’s fourth try of the league run, expertly converted from the touchline by Quinlan.

The home crowd roared their delight in the 75th minute when strong-running centre Kenneally used turnover ball to sprint clear from halfway, with Quinlan again converting. Blindside Caffrey had a late consolation try for the Dubliners.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Shane Daly; Liam O’Connell, Ned Hodson, Niall Kenneally (capt), Alex McHenry; Tomas Quinlan, Jason Higgins; Liam O’Connor, Max Abbott, Rory Burke, Conor Kindregan, Brian Hayes, Graeme Lawler, James Murphy, Evan Mintern.

Replacements: Gavin Duffy, Ger Sweeney, Sonny Dwyer, John Poland, Michael Clune.

TERENURE COLLEGE: Jake Swaine; Stephen O’Neill, Conor Finn, Willie Devane, Robbie Murphy; James O’Donoghue, Kevin O’Neill; Gary Hamilton, Robbie Smyth, Silvio Borza, Cathal Deans, John Dever, Stephen Caffrey, James O’Neill, Kyle McCoy (capt).

Replacements: Barry Elliott, Cian Madden, Patrick Thornton, Thomas Burke, Marc Hiney. 

UCD 23 GARRYOWEN 16, Belfield Bowl
Scorers: UCD: Tries: Jamie Glynn, Tommy O’Brien, James Ryan; Con: Cillian Burke; Pens: Cillian Burke 2
Garryowen: Try: David Johnston; Con: Neil Cronin; Pens: Neil Cronin 3

HT: UCD 15 Garryowen 7

Ireland Under-20 captain James Ryan had a starring role in UCD’s hard-earned 23-16 success at home to a durable Garryowen outfit today.

Ryan’s second half try helped the students end their three-match losing streak in the Ulster Bank League, with captain Jamie Glynn and teenage centre Tommy O’Brien also touching down.

Goal-kicking winger Cillian Burke was UCD’s only change in the back-line, with their starting pack bolstered by the reunited second row pairing of Emmet MacMahon and Ryan.

Garryowen gave returning Munster centre Sam Arnold a start after his second half cameo off the bench against Trinity, but Alex Wootton and Conor Oliver were pulled from the team after appearing as second half replacements against the Ospreys the previous night.

Scrum half Glynn grabbed his second try in as many games after just seven minutes at Belfield, scoring after a period of pressure close to the Garryowen posts saw Ryan, Greg Jones and out-half Matthew Gilsenan all go close. Burke’s conversion attempt came back off the post.

Andy Skehan’s charges dominated possession in the first quarter. As the half wore on and with Garryowen still on the back foot, Burke made no mistake with a close range penalty for 8-0. But the visitors suddenly came to life nearing half-time, out-half David Johnston, who is currently on a Munster development deal, sliced through a gap on the right for an excellent five-pointer.

Johnston’s half-back partner Neil Cronin fired over a superb conversion, before UCD issued the perfect response. Fresh from a try-scoring league debut last week, O’Brien brilliantly added to his tally by racing through from deep to score by the posts. Cronin lessened the blow with a late penalty for a 15-10 deficit.

Crucially, UCD gave themselves some breathing space in the third quarter, Burke splitting the posts with a penalty from distance and then the physically imposing Ryan dotted down on the left after a powerful 56th minute dash to the line.

Cronin’s second successful penalty gave the Light Blues a glimmer of hope and they moved into losing bonus point territory with another accurate Cronin kick in the 73rd minute. UCD might have had their own bonus point by then, but Ryan’s attempted pass failed to set up O’Brien for his double.

However, the margin remained at seven points right to the final whistle, UCD standing firm for a deserved and much-needed triumph as Garryowen ended the game with loosehead prop Niall Horan in the sin-bin.

UCD: Andy Marks; Tom Fletcher, Colm Mulcahy, Tommy O’Brien, Cillian Burke; Matthew Gilsenan, Jamie Glynn (capt); Mikey Moynihan, Sean McNulty, Liam Hyland, Emmet MacMahon, James Ryan, Josh Murphy, Alex Penny, Greg Jones.

Replacements: Gordon Frayne, Rory Mulvihill, Brian Cawley, Niall O’Neill, Stephen Murphy.

GARRYOWEN: Steve McMahon; Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham, Sam Arnold, Andrew O’Byrne, Liam Coombes; David Johnston, Neil Cronin (capt); Niall Horan, Eamon Costello, Jack Mullany, Barra O’Byrne, Sean O’Connor, Alwyn van Vuuren, Elliot Fitzgerald, Bailey Faloon.

Replacements: Ger Horan, Brian Moriarty, Paul McCarroll, Peadar Collins, Hugh Lane. 

Scorers: Dublin University: Try: Jack Kelly; Pens: Jack McDermott 3
Lansdowne: Tries: Eamonn Mills, John O’Donnell; Pens: Scott Deasy 5

HT: Dublin University 14 Lansdowne 14

Dublin University’s spell at the top of Division 1A lasted just a week after Lansdowne consigned the high-flying students to a rare 25-14 defeat at College Park.

Trinity, who led 11-3 during the first half, have fallen from the summit to fifth place in the top flight standings, with 2015 champions Lansdowne climbing to second on the back of Scott Deasy’s decisive 15-point kicking haul.

Paddy Finlay returned at hooker for the hosts in their only change from last week’s three-try victory at Garryowen, while Lansdowne – 33-31 winners over Clontarf in the last round – were missing their top try-scoring flanker Joe McSwiney following the sudden death of his father Joe senior on Wednesday. Tyrone Moran, Philip Donnellan and Paul Boyle came into their pack.

Following a minute’s silence to mark McSwiney’s passing, Trinity started strongly with winger Colm Hogan pressing for a try in the corner. Out-half Jack McDermott slotted over a subsequent penalty, which was quickly cancelled out by his opposite number Deasy.

McDermott restored the students’ lead before they conjured up the opening try, prop Andy ‘Panda’ Keating’s initial carry giving them momentum and some neat interplay between Tom Ryan, Jack Kelly and Bryan Mollen seeing full-back Kelly eventually cross.

Deasy’s cultured right boot clawed back six points in swift fashion to reduce the arrears to 11-9, and with Trinity meekly coughing up possession after a fine defensive stand, Lansdowne worked full-back Eamonn Mills over for a try in the corner.

However, the home side levelled matters at 14-all for half-time, McDermott landing his third successful penalty and repeated infringements leading to Lansdowne tighthead and captain Ian Prendiville picking up a yellow card.

Despite a positive start on the resumption, the league leaders continued to give away cheap ball at times and Lansdowne needed no second invitation, centre and Ireland Sevens international John O’Donnell darting through for his third try of the campaign.

After missing the conversion, the increasingly influential Deasy was back on target with a subsequent penalty. Mike Ruddock’s men seem to be hitting form at a crucial stage of the season, and a final penalty in the dying minutes from Deasy took the losing bonus point away from misfiring Trinity.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Jack Kelly; Bryan Mollen, Michael Courtney, Kyle Dixon, Colm Hogan; Jack McDermott, Daniel Joyce; Eric O’Sullivan, Paddy Finlay, Andy Keating, Jack Burke (capt), Pierce Dargan, Sam Pim, Dermot O’Flynn, Tom Ryan.

Replacements: James Bollard, Liam Cronin, Tom Collis, Evan Dixon, James O’Donovan.

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Daniel McEvoy, John O’Donnell, Mark Roche, Foster Horan; Scott Deasy, Matthew D’Arcy; Jacob Walshe, Tyrone Moran, Ian Prendiville (capt), Philip Donnellan, Stephen Gardiner, Willie Earle, Charlie Butterworth, Paul Boyle.

Replacements: Tadgh McElroy, Ntinga Mpiko, Barry Fitzpatrick, Alan Bennie, Charlie McMickan. 

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE 32 YOUNG MUNSTER 34, Templeville Road
Scorers: St. Mary’s College: Tries: David Fanagan, Ryan O’Loughlin, Darren Moroney 2, Terry Kennedy; Cons: Conor Dean 2; Pen: Conor Dean
Young Munster: Tries: Dan Goggin 2, Gavin Coombes, Rob Guerin; Cons: David O’Mahony 4; Pens: David O’Mahony 2

HT: St. Mary’s College 3 Young Munster 24

St. Mary’s College strung together five second half tries but still fell just short of Young Munster in a stunning 66-point, nine-try contest at Tempeville Road.

A first half brace from Munster centre Dan Goggin laid the foundations for the Cookies’ breathless 34-32 victory, a result which has sent Gearoid Prendergast’s charges right to the top of the table.

Sniping scrum half Rob Guerin’s 76th-minute try was just enough to get the visitors over the finish line, with Mary’s two-try centre Darren Moroney closing out the scoring in the dying seconds.

Conor Hogan and Moroney were brought into the Mary’s back-line, with young out-half Conor Dean – the son of former international and incoming Ireland team manager Paul Dean – continuing to deputise for injured top scorer Sean Kearns.

Former captain Kevin Sheahan added steel to the hosts’ back row, while the Limerick men welcomed back Abrie Griesel, a PRO12 debutant for Munster on Friday night, and Tom Goggin into their starting line-up.

Eager to build on last week’s bonus point success against UCD, free-scoring Munsters were over the whitewash inside five minutes as the talismanic Goggin powered over from close range.

Full-back David O’Mahony converted and added a 10th minute penalty. Dean answered back with a well-struck kick, three minutes later, but the Cookies were clinical with ball in hand, Goggin breaking through again in the 24th minute and young number 8 Gavin Coombes, a recent Munster Academy recruit, adding try number three before the interval.

Mary’s head coach Jamie Cornett’s half-time words had the desired effect, though, as they began to eat into the 24-3 deficit. Quick-fire tries from pacy backs Ryan O’Loughlin (48 minutes) and Terry Kennedy (51) had them back within nine points.

Munsters replied with a penalty through impressive place-kicker O’Mahony, but it really was anyone’s contest after Dean converted Moroney’s first touchdown of the afternoon and the equally elusive David Fanagan, who switched from full-back to wing this week, flew in for the levelling 70th minute try. Mary’s now had the bonus point and enough momentum to kick on from 27-all.

It was Munsters, however, who struck for a vital try from replacement Guerin six minutes later and although resilient Mary’s opened up the visitors’ brittle defence again through Moroney, Dean’s missed conversion allowed the Cookies to cling on.

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE: Conor Hogan; Terry Kennedy, Darren Moroney, Ryan O’Loughlin, David Fanagan; Conor Dean, Paddy O’Driscoll; Tom O’Reilly, Richard Halpin, Brian McGovern (capt), David O’Connor, Cathal O’Flaherty, Nick McCarthy, David Aspil, Kevin Sheahan.

Replacements: Stephen O’Brien, Neil Murphy, Ciaran Ruddock, Hugh Kelelher, Ian O’Neill.

YOUNG MUNSTER: David O’Mahony; Jack Harrington, Dan Goggin, Mark Doyle, David Gleeson; Alan Tynan, Abrie Griesel; Gavin Ryan, Ger Slattery (capt), Colm Skehan, Tom Goggin, Alan Kennedy, Darren Ryan, Daniel Walsh, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: David Begley, Evan Ryan, Alan Ross, Sean Rennison, Rob Guerin.

CLONTARF 13 OLD BELVEDERE 20, Castle Avenue (played on Friday)
Scorers: Clontarf: Tries: Conor Jennings, Rob McGrath; Pen: Conor Jennings
Old Belvedere: Try: Simon Killeen; Pens: Steve Crosbie 5

HT: Clontarf 13 Old Belvedere 12

Clontarf’s Ulster Bank League title defence took another dent when Old Belvedere came from behind to beat their Dublin rivals 20-13 at Castle Avenue on Friday night.

Belvedere moved back up to third place in Division 1A as 15 points from the boot of out-half Steve Crosbie steered Paul Cunningham’s men to a hard-earned victory. Winger Simon Killeen’s second half try was also crucial.

Crosbie, who is currently in the midst of a short-term deal with Munster, kicked ‘Belvo in front with a third minute penalty. But Clontarf produced the perfect response, the visitors failing to deal with an awkward kick in the air by Matt D’Arcy and after gathering the loose ball, pacy full-back Conor Jennings raced through on the left for the opening try.

Jennings’ missed conversion was followed by Crosbie’s second penalty success, before ‘Tarf created their second unconverted score, moving the ball wide for winger Rob McGrath to cross.

Crosbie closed the gap to 10-9 by the end of the first quarter and it was down to one by half-time as Jennings and Crosbie swapped penalties.

Although ‘Tarf had been more clinical in possession, it was anyone’s game in a fiercely-contested third quarter. Ireland Under-20 prop Vakh Abdaladze led by example as the title holders closed down the space on ‘Belvo at every available opportunity.

Crosbie watched a 62nd minute kick drift wide after ‘Tarf centre Michael Brown had been sin-binned for offside. However, just moments later, Belvedere attacked out wide in the hosts’ 22 and Daniel Riordan’s short offload saw Killeen dot down to move his side back in front.

Clontarf were restored to their full complement in the closing stages, but a superb touchline penalty by the outstanding Crosbie on the stroke of 80 minutes sealed ‘Belvo’s fourth win in six league outings. Seventh-placed ‘Tarf’s record is the exact opposite – two victories and four defeats. 

CLONTARF: Conor Jennings; Jimmy Hawkshaw, Michael Brown, Matt D’Arcy, Rob McGrath; Evan Ryan, Sam Cronin; Vakh Abdaladze, Bryan Byrne, Royce Burke Flynn, Ben Reilly (capt), Eoghan Browne, Michael Noone, Adrian D’Arcy, Tony Ryan.

Replacements: Thomas Byrne, Rory Litchfield, Niall Carson, Peter du Toit, Mark Sutton.

OLD BELVEDERE: Daniel Riordan; Aaron Sheehan, John Kennedy (capt), Sean Coughlan, Simon Killeen; Steve Crosbie, Charlie Rock; Adam Howard, Ed Rossiter, Declan Lavery, Jack Kelly, Karl Miller, Michael Oyuga, Paul Pritchard, Jonathan Slattery.

Replacements: Cathal O’Flynn, Daryl Ryan, Matt Ritani, Willie Staunton, David Brandon.