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Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Review

Buccaneers’ fifth and most significant win of the league season has moved them to the top of Ulster Bank League Division 1B, while struggling Shannon got off the mark by beating Munster rivals Dolphin at home.



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Scorers: Ballymena: Tries: Dave Shanahan, Callum Patterson, Rodger McBurney, Penalty try; Con: Callum Patterson; Pen: Callum Patterson
Old Wesley: Tries: Mark Rowley, Iain McGann, Conor Maguire, Alan Jeffares; Cons: Barry McLaughlin 2; Pen: Barry McLaughlin

HT: Ballymena 3 Old Wesley 15

Two tries in each half helped Old Wesley outlast hosts Ballymena in an exciting 52-point encounter at Eaton Park.

Wesley squeezed home on a 27-25 scoreline, holding on as the Braidmen blundered by missing a very kickable late penalty.

It is another setback to Ballymena’s promotion hopes as they are now sixth overall, ten points behind the leading sides, with Wesley second and just one point off the summit.

The Dubliners burst out of the blocks, goal-kicking winger Barry McLaughlin launching a penalty through the uprights and then converting a well-taken try from number 8 Mark Rowley who found a gap to run in from 30 metres out.

Centre Callum Patterson opened Ballymena’s account from the kicking tee, but a second Wesley try, scored by second row Iain McGann on the stroke of half-time, made it 15-3 to Morgan Lennon’s men.

Ballymena were a lot more purposeful in their play on the resumption and scrum half Dave Shanahan, the eventual man-of-the-match, cut through for a fine individual try to close the gap to seven points.

However, Wesley went up another gear with two tries from hooker Conor Maguire and winger Alan Jeffares, the first of them converted by McLaughlin, to pocket the bonus point and put themselves in a seemingly unassailable position.

Back came the Braidmen, stringing together some of their best attacks of the afternoon as five-pointers from Patterson, who also converted a penalty try, and hard-carrying full-back Rodger McBurney suddenly made it a two-point game.

Andy Graham’s side were on the cusp of a stirring comeback victory when presented with a shot at the posts two minutes from time, but the Wesley players were hugely relieved to see the ball sail wide of the posts.

BALLYMENA: Rodger McBurney; Callum Patterson, Mark Best, Martin Irwin (capt), Jonny Rosborough; John Creighton, Dave Shanahan; Andrew Warwick, Adam McBurney, Ross Kane, Kieran Treadwell, Connor Smyth, Willie McKay, Tony McGuinness, Stephen Mulholland.

Replacements: Chris Cundell, James Taggart, Joe Thompson, James Beattie, Jordan Foster.

OLD WESLEY: Rory Stynes; Barry McLaughlin, Isaac Leota, Ger Finucane, Alan Jeffares; Tim Clifford, Adam Griggs; David Henshaw, Conor Maguire, James Burton, Michael Dunleavy, Iain McGann, Darren Horan (capt), Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley.

Replacements: Craig Telford, Martin Gately, Donnachadh Phelan, Matthew Bursey, Adam Kennedy.

Scorers: Buccaneers: Tries: Alan Gaughan, Jordan Conroy 2, Stephen McVeigh, Danie Poolman, Eoghan O’Reilly; Cons: Alan Gaughan 5; Pens: Alan Gaughan 3
UL Bohemians: Tries: David Rowsome 2, Harry Fleming; Con: Robbie Bourke

HT: Buccaneers 25 UL Bohemians 0

Buccaneers swapped positions with UL Bohemians at the top of Division 1B after running in six tries to emphatically end the Red Robins’ winning start to the season.

Bohs lost for the first time in six league games as the Buccs back-line cut loose at Dubarry Park, winger Jordan Conroy’s first half brace helping them coast to a fantastic 49-17 win.

UL had the breeze at their backs early on, but the big home crowd was delighted to see Conroy, back from illness last week, racing clear up the left wing for the opening try, 18 minutes in.

Connacht winger Danie Poolman threw a skip pass to play in Conroy for his second of the afternoon and seventh of the campaign, the Pirates’ back-line benefiting from the presence of another current Connacht player in centre Eoin Griffin.

Try number three followed when Buccs out-half Alan Gaughan stretched over in the final move of the opening half, with the same player landing two conversions and two penalties to leave Bohs 25-0 behind at the break.

UL had the ideal response on the restart, centre Harry Fleming slipping through for a try by the posts with barely a minute gone. Five minutes later, David Rowsome had another try which Robbie Bourke converted.

Eoghan O’Reilly snapped back for Buccs with the bonus point score, following some composed play by Brett Wilkinson’s side. Gaughan added a conversion and penalty, either side of Bohs hooker Rowsome’s second touchdown.

The midlanders’ pack stormed through with a terrific maul in the 64th minute, setting up a fifth try for flanker Stephen McVeigh, and they knocked Bohs out of bonus point range in the last minute, Daniel Qualter intercepting on halfway and setting Poolman free to add some final gloss. 

BUCCANEERS: Shane Layden; Danie Poolman, Eoin Griffin, Mata Fifita, Jordan Conroy; Alan Gaughan, Graham Lynch; Martin Staunton, John Sutton, Dylan Quinn, Ruairi Byrne, Daniel Qualter, Stephen McVeigh, Evan Galvin, Kolo Kiripati (capt).

Replacements: Eoghan Maher, Rory Grenham, Simon Meagher, Rory O’Connor, Eoghan O’Reilly.

UL BOHEMIANS: Joe Murray; Cian Aherne, Rory White, Harry Fleming, Finbar Aherne; Robbie Bourke, Rick McKenna; Joe Conway, David Rowsome, Peter King, Ed Kelly, Noel Kinane, James Ryan, Ian Condell (capt), Brian Walsh.

Replacements: Philip Poillot, Daragh Frawley, Pat Staff, Warren Kelly, Ger O’Connor.

Scorers: Galwegians: Tries: Cormac Brennan 2, John Moloney, Rory Parata; Cons: Conor Lowndes 2
Ballynahinch: Tries: Angus Lloyd, Stewart Evans, Jonny Murphy, Craig Trenier; Cons: Johnny McPhillips 2; Pens: Johnny McPhillips 2

HT: Galwegians 17 Ballynahinch 15

Galwegians blew a 14-point first half lead as Ballynahinch came from behind to take the spoils in a 30-24 bonus point victory at Crowley Park.

There was a point per minute in the opening quarter, ‘Wegians really warming to their task with Mitch Lam pulling the strings from out-half. Full-back Cormac Brennan was put over by Lam in the ninth minute, and another pinpoint pass from the latter teed up hooker John Moloney’s converted try on the quarter hour.

Brennan completed his brace in the 20th minute, finishing out wide again after good pressure from the home forwards. Ballynahinch’s only response was a Johnny McPhillips penalty.

However, the tables were turned by Ulster scrum half recruit Angus Lloyd who took a quick tap and set off on a 70-metre dash to the line for an inspiring 25th minute try.

‘Hinch were just two points behind after replacement Stewart Evans finished off a period of pressure with a seven-pointer just a minute before half-time.

Both attacks failed to put chances away until ‘Hinch tighthead Craig Trenier barged his way over in the 57th minute, Derek Suffern’s charges hitting the front of the first time (22-17).

Hooker Jonny Murphy joined his front row colleague on the scoresheet four minutes later, following some neat interplay between backs and forwards. ‘Wegians failed to profit from number 8 Jack Dinneen’s 30-metre break off the back of a scrum, and McPhillips edged ‘Hinch closer to the finish line with a 75th minute penalty.

The hosts’ back-line finished the game as they had started it, with a well-worked try. This time Connacht centre Rory Parata supplied the finishing touches and Lowndes’ conversion gave ‘Wegians a single point for their efforts.

GALWEGIANS: Cormac Brennan; Ed O’Keeffe, Rory Parata, Dave Clarke, Conor Lowndes; Mitch Lam, Barry Lee; Patrick Curran, John Moloney, Jason East, Matthew Towey, Marc Kelly, Ronan Moore, Josh Pim, Jack Dinneen.

Replacements: Doron McHugh, Tadhg Campbell, Paul Hackett, Matt Quinn, Aidan Moynihan.

BALLYNAHINCH: David Busby; Callum McLaughlin, Stuart Morrow, Jordan Grattan, Davy Nicholson; Johnny McPhillips, Angus Lloyd; Jonny Simpson, Jonny Murphy, Craig Trenier, John Donnan, Kenny Morton, Lorcan Dow, Calum Irvine, Gareth Gill.

Replacements: Jonny Blair, Joe Roe, Stewart Evans, Chris Quinn, James McBriar.

NAAS 10 UCC 6, Forenaughts
Scorers: Naas: Try: Michael Skelton; Con: Peter Osborne; Pen: Peter Osborne
UCC: Pens: Kevin O’Keeffe 2

HT: Naas 0 UCC 3

Replacement Michael Skelton scored the only try of a defence-dominated match as Naas held onto fourth place with a 10-6 home success against UCC.

In front of their Forenaughts faithful, Skelton secured the decisive score in the 70th minute after Naas player-coach Johne Murphy and Henry Bryce had spearheaded a brilliant back-line move.

Bustling centre Bryce had gone closest to touching down before that, however he knocked on over the try-line under pressure from the UCC cover with 30 minutes gone.

A 25th minute penalty from UCC’s goal-kicking winger Kevin O’Keeffe, who had missed an earlier attempt, proved to be the only score of a very tightly-contested first half.

Naas full-back Peter Osborne and O’Keeffe exchanged penalties after 49 and 54 minutes, but the breakthrough finally came when the Naas backs found some space in an otherwise impressive UCC rearguard.

The result keeps Murphy’s men within touching distance of the top three, while seventh-placed UCC will have to regroup quickly for two key upcoming fixtures – away to Ballynahinch (November 12) and home to Cork rivals Dolphin (November 25).

NAAS: Peter Osborne; Fionn Carr, Johne Murphy, Henry Bryce, Rob O’Connor; Ben Swindlehurst, Max Whittingham; Dan O’Byrne, Graham Reynolds, Jason Harney, Stephen Kinneavy, David Benn, Eoin Walsh, Will O’Brien (capt), Paulie Tolofua.

Replacements: Warren Larkin, Adam Coyle, Paul Monahan, Andrew Kearney, Michael Skelton.

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, Daire Feeney, Graham Smith, Tom Kiersey.

SHANNON 17 DOLPHIN 10, Thomond Park back pitch
Scorers: Shannon: Tries: Conor Glynn, Richie Mullane; Cons: Ronan McKenna 2; Pen: Ronan McKenna
Dolphin: Try: John Leahy; Con: Barry Keeshan; Pen: Barry Keeshan

HT: Shannon 0 Dolphin 3

Shannon opened their win account for the league season in rousing fashion with a late surge to see off close rivals Dolphin 17-10 on Thomond Park’s back pitch.

This was a real hard-nosed, old style Munster derby in the first half, a straightforward penalty from experienced out-half Barry Keeshan splitting the sides after 22 minutes.

3-0 is how it stayed up to half-time despite some further Dolphin pressure both in open play and at scrum time. Shannon centre Robbie Deegan had to depart early after injurying himself when making a try-saving tackle.

Dolphin captain Ryan Murphy would have scored from a scrum but for an excellent cover tackle by Shannon’s Niall Mulcahy, while a Keeshan 40-metre penalty and a drop goal attempt by Conor Fitzgerald, the hosts’ young number 10, both missed the target.

Shannon endured a difficult start to the second period, three penalties failing to go over and prop Conor Glynn seeing yellow in the 49th minute. But they did get a break when Keeshan went to the bin in the 64th minute for an apparent stamp at a ruck.

Marcus Horan’s side capitalised just two minutes later, right winger Richie Mullane reaching over in the corner after some good handling and angles of running. Full-back Ronan McKenna converted for 7-3.

Munster prop John Andress, who was sprung from the bench, snaffled turnover ball to set the Shannon attack off again, McKenna breaking the defensive line with aplomb and although he was stopped short, the ball was shipped on for Glynn to touch down in the 76th minute, with McKenna also converting.

McKenna made certain of the win with a well-struck penalty right on the 80-minute mark, before Dolphin dug deep to salvage a bonus point courtesy of replacement John Leahy’s injury-time try.

SHANNON: Ronan McKenna; Richie Mullane, Rob Deegan, Jack O’Donnell, Shane Mullally; Conor Fitzgerald, Jack Stafford; Conor Glynn, Ty Chan, Tony Cusack, Lee Nicholas (capt), Riley Winter, Niall Mulcahy, James Vaughan, John Foley.

Replacements: Jordan Prenderville, John Andress, Paddy Kearns, Keith Kavanagh, Will Leonard.

DOLPHIN: Cillian Monahan; Timmy Phelan, Cian McGovern, Denis Hurley, Will Hanly; Barry Keeshan, Daryl Foley; Liam Walsh, David Byrne, James Rochford, Dave O’Mahony, John Madigan, Anthony Mason, Kevin Allen, Ryan Murphy (capt).

Replacements: Caolan O’Flynn, John Leahy, Lar Coughlan, Killian O’Keeffe, Cameron O’Shaughnessy.