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Ulster Bank League: Division 2B Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 2B Review

Armagh are now the only team left with a 100% record across the five Ulster Bank League Divisions, while Thomond lifted themselves off the bottom of the 2B table with a maiden win over Skerries.



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Armagh 21 Old Crescent 9, Palace Grounds
Bective Rangers 29 City of Derry 3, Donnybrook
Thomond 12 Skerries 6, Liam Fitzgerald Park
Wanderers 41 Dungannon 7, Aviva Stadium back pitch
Greystones 39 MU Barnhall 15, Dr. Hickey Park (played on Friday)

Of the five home clubs that won over the weekend, Wanderers had the biggest winning margin as they routed second-placed Dungannon by 41-7 on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch.

It was a tremendous display from the red-shirted Dubliners who started and finished strongly, running in three tries in the opening 23 minutes and closing the deal with touchdowns in the 63rd, 73rd and 75th minutes.

Back rowers Paddy Mallon (the former Ireland underage international) and Harley Murray and lock Brian Quill were three of Wanderers’ leading lights and deservedly got over for tries, while out-half Ciaran Wade and centre Rob Clune (2) also capped fine individual performances by crossing the whitewash.

Greystones, who lost 35-19 up in Dungannon last week, returned to winning ways with a 39-15 ‘Friday Night Lights’ dismissal of MU Barnhall on the County Wicklow coast.

The game was still right in the melting pot at half-time, ‘Stones outscoring the Blue Bulls by three tries to two for a 24-15 lead. Adding to earlier efforts from Mike Lea and Jack Keating, a definite contender for try of the season was finished off by Congall Callan in the 33rd minute.

Speedster Keating started the attack behind his own try-line, beating two Barnhall players and setting off at a blistering pace down the pitch. Andrew Kealy was up in support and he linked with Callan who outstripped the cover to score. Out-half Kealy also had a solid night with the boot, accumulating 14 points off the tee, and second half tries from Killian Marmion (41 minutes) and Paudie Geoghegan (47) had the bonus point tucked away early.

A 38th minute penalty from Neil Burns proved to be City of Derry’s only score at Donnybrook where Bective Rangers found an extra gear or two in the second half of their 29-3 bonus point victory. The hosts hit Derry with 24 unanswered points after the break, including four tries between the 47th and 75th minutes.

That is back-to-back wins for Bective who are now resident in the top half of the table. Thomond and Skerries were also on the move after their clash at Liam Fitzgerald Park, the Soda Cakes leapfrogging Derry into ninth overall and Skerries’ bonus point taking them above Old Crescent into seventh.

Both sides had players sin-binned in the first half in Limerick, hosts Thomond coping the better as the wind-backed Dermot Fitzgerald booted four well-struck penalties to give them a 12-0 buffer at the break.

Turning around with the elements in their favour, the Goats quickly halved Thomond’s lead with a Paul O’Loghlen penalty in the 48th minute. However, Thomond’s defence stood up to the task and they became the first team to keep Skerries try-less this season.

A second yellow card did make Thomond sweat late on, with O’Loghlen splitting the posts for 12-6, but a losing bonus point was Skerries’ only reward in a tense conclusion to the match.

Thomond’s local rivals Old Crescent went down 21-9 to league leaders Armagh at the Palace Grounds. Three penalties from Barry Neville had fired-up Crescent in bonus point range until a 78th minute penalty confirmed Armagh’s sixth win on the trot.

Neil Faloon produced another big performance from number 8 for the victors, who had tries in each half from Faloon and winger Andrew Willis. It was the in-form Willis’ fourth touchdown in three league games, while Harvey Young and Ryan Purvis kicked their rest of their points on Saturday.