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Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Review

A lone second half penalty from Kevin O’Keeffe was enough for UCC to claim the scalp of Division 1B rivals Ballynahinch, winning 15-10 at Ballymacarn ParK.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: RESULTS ROUND-UP

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE TABLES

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BALLYNAHINCH 10 UCC 15, Ballymacarn Park
Scorers: Ballynahinch: Try: Penalty try; Con: Chris Quinn; Pen: Chris Quinn
UCC: Tries: Cathal Gallagher, Chris McAuliffe; Con: Kevin O’Keeffe; Pen: Kevin O’Keeffe

HT: Ballynahinch 3 UCC 12

UCC caught Ballynahinch on the hop to open up a 12-0 lead, with flanker Cathal Gallagher and full-back Chris McAuliffe both crossing the whitewash.

Goal-kicking winger O’Keeffe added one conversion which was cancelled out by ‘Hinch full-back Chris Quinn’s 27th-minute penalty, the home side struggling to secure quick ball against UCC’s supremely committed defence.

The visitors’ infectious work-rate on both sides of the ball continued to frustrate ‘Hinch, with O’Keeffe drilling over his one and only penalty goal to restore the 12-point advantage.

Derek Suffern’s error-strewn charges built for a big final push, a 73rd minute penalty try, converted by Quinn, getting them back within striking distance. However, UCC stood firm in a breathless finish to give themselves a massive boost ahead of their November 25 derby clash with Dolphin.

BALLYNAHINCH: Chris Quinn; Callum McLaughlin, Stuart Morrow, Davy Nicholson, Chris Orr; James McBriar, Chris Gibson; Jonny Blair, Jonny Murphy, Craig Trenier, John Donnan, Michael Graham (capt), Callum Irvine, Lorcan Dow, Gareth Gill.

Replacements: Stuart Orr, Joe Roe, James Simpson, Conor Phillips, Jordan Grattan.

UCC: Chris McAuliffe; Kevin O’Keeffe, Kevin Slater (capt), Murray Linn, James Kiernan; Tom Kiersey, Richard Walsh; Shane O’Hanlon, Ben Burns, Rob O’Donovan, Darragh Moloney, Ben Mitchell, Conor Barry, Cathal Gallagher, Richie Moran.

Replacements: Charlie Slowey, Ciaran McHugh, Graham Smith, Charlie O’Regan, Rory Slater.

DOLPHIN 15 NAAS 10, Irish Independent Park
Scorers: Dolphin: Pens: Cian McGovern 2, Cillian Monahan 3
Naas: Try: Fionn Carr; Con: Peter Osborne; Pen: Peter Osborne

HT: Dolphin 9 Naas 10

Dolphin let their boots do the talking as a succession of penalties from Cian McGovern and Cillian Monahan guided them past Naas on a 15-10 scoreline.

The Corkmen snapped a three-match losing streak at Irish Independent Park to lift themselves off the bottom of the Division 1B table, a point ahead of Shannon.

Centre McGovern and out-half Monahan shared the place-kicking duties and they had David Corkery’s men 6-3 to the good, before Naas winger Fionn Carr swept through in the 38th minute for his fourth league try, converted by Peter Osborne.

A Monahan penalty on the stroke of half-time closed the gap to 10-9, and Naas indiscipline continued to be punished on the resumption, McGovern (43 minutes) and Monahan (55) booting Dolphin back in front.

With try-scoring opportunities few and far between and both sides guilty of poorly directed attacks in the final quarter, Naas were unable to make up the difference as Dolphin took the spoils without needing a clinching try.

The Kildare men, who had picked up some crucial late scores in recent outings, failed to match the intensity of those victories as they fell to fifth in the table – level on 19 points with Ballymena just above them.

DOLPHIN: Cameron O’Shaughnessy; Timmy Phelan, Cian McGovern, Sam Kennedy, Gerry Ryan; Cillian Monahan, Daryl Foley; Liam Walsh, David Byrne, James Rochford, Dave O’Mahony, Rob O’Herlihy, Anthony Mason, Kevin Allen, Ryan Murphy (capt).

Replacements: John Leahy, Caolan O’Flynn, Lar Coughlan, Tom McAuliffe, Killian O’Keeffe, Will Hanly, Ian O’Donoghue.

NAAS: Peter Osborne; Rob O’Connor, Johne Murphy, Ben Swindlehurst, Fionn Carr; Michael Skelton, Max Whittingham; Adam Coyle, Warren Larkin, Jason Harney, Stephen Kinneavy, David Benn, Andrew Kearney, Will O’Brien (capt), Eoin Walsh.

Replacements: Graham Reynolds, Jordan Duggan, Paulie Tolofua, Paul Monahan, Andrew Shanahan.

GALWEGIANS 34 BALLYMENA 35, Crowley Park
Scorers: Galwegians: Tries: Marc Kelly, Cormac Brennan, Brian Murphy, Matt Quinn, Aidan Moynihan; Cons: Mitch Lam 3; Pen:  Mitch Lam
Ballymena: Tries: Penalty try, Jonny Rosborough, Adam McBurney, Mark Best; Cons: Ritchie McMaster 3; Pens: Ritchie McMaster 3

HT: Galwegians 19 Ballymena 10

Once again Galwegians scored enough points to win but came out on the wrong side of a tight result (35-34) against Ballymena at Crowley Park.

Brian McClearn’s men have made a habit of starting fast on their home patch, and early tries from lock Marc Kelly, via a terrific second-minute break by Alan McMahon, and centre Cormac Brennan (10 minutes) gave them a 12-0 lead.

Poor discipline from the hosts invited Ballymena forward, however, and after an initial penalty by Ritchie McMaster, a strong lineout maul in the 23rd minute earned a penalty try which out-half McMaster comfortably converted.

The ‘Wegians back-line, one of the best to watch in this division, clicked just four minutes later to send captain Brian Murphy over for a try and an eventual 19-10 half-time lead.

Yet again, disciplinary issues reared their head for the Blues, hooker John Moloney sent to the sin-bin before the interval and two minutes after it, Moloney’s opposite number Adam McBurney crashed over on the end of a lineout maul.

The penalty count was a massive 12-2 in the Braidmen’s favour after McMaster split the posts for three more points in the 48th minute, edging the visitors into the lead (20-19).

Mark Best’s subsequent intercept try was followed by a real purple patch from resilient ‘Wegians. They strung together some of their best phases as replacement Matt Quinn made it over in the corner, and then it was his break up the wing that sets the wheels in motion for a fantastic fifth try by full-back Aidan Moynihan, converted by Mitch Lam for 31-27.

Lacklustre defending from the hosts allowed Ballymena winger Jonny Rosborough to respond with their bonus point score. ‘Wegians redeemed themselves when hammering away to the visitors’ line. Full-back Rodger McBurney infringed to earn himself 10 minutes in the bin, before a 79th minute penalty from out-half Lam gave the Blues a narrow 34-32 buffer.

In a conclusion that just about sums up ‘Wegians’ season so far, their hearts were broken in the third minute of injury-time when Ballymena gained a scrum penalty and McMaster kicked the vital three-pointer to see his side back to winning ways after two recent reversals.

GALWEGIANS: Aidan Moynihan; Alan McMahon, Cormac Brennan, Brian Murphy (capt), Ed O’Keeffe; Mitch Lam, Barry Lee; Dominic Robertson-McCoy, John Moloney, Jason East, Anthony Ryan, Marc Kelly, Ronan Moore, Paul Hackett, Jack Dinneen.

Replacements: Ja Naughton, Doron McHugh, Matthew Towey, Peadar O’Beirn, Matt Quinn.

BALLYMENA: Rodger McBurney; James Beattie, Callum Patterson, Mark Best, Jonny Rosborough; Ritchie McMaster, Dave Shanahan; Andrew Warwick, Adam McBurney, Chris Cundell, Alan O’Connor, David Whann (capt), Mark Foster, Tony McGuinness, Stephen Mulholland.

Replacements: Andrew Ferguson, James Taggart, Willie McKay, David Creighton, Jordan Foster.

OLD WESLEY 22 BUCCANEERS 49, Donnybrook
Scorers: Old Wesley: Tries: Conor Maguire, Tim Clifford, Rory Stynes; Cons: Barry McLaughlin 2; Pen: Barry McLaughlin
Buccaneers: Tries: Jordan Conroy, Eoghan O’Reilly, Cian Romaine, Evan Galvin, Shane Layden, Shane O’Leary; Cons: Alan Gaughan 5; Pens: Alan Gaughan 3

HT: Old Wesley 17 Buccaneers 20

Buccaneers scored 49 points for the second week running as they galloped clear of hosts Old Wesley in a nine-try contest at Donnybrook.

Former Connacht back Shane Layden captained Buccs and scored a try in the 49-22 bonus point success, banishing memories of his most recent trip to Wesley where he suffered a cruciate injury last season.

Quick ruck ball and an overlap created by Stephen McVeigh enabled Eoghan O’Reilly to race through for a second minute try, the Pirates moving 10 points clear with assured out-half Alan Gaughan converting and adding a penalty.

Just when it seemed like Wesley had recovered from a nervy start, Jordan Conroy became the second Buccs winger to get on the scoresheet. In a stunning solo score, he ran a kick back with interest as he stepped in off his wing and found a couple of cross-field gaps, cutting a great line and then outpacing the final two defenders to bag his eighth try of the campaign.

After a Gaughan penalty for 20-0, Wesley finally got off the mark when out-half Tim Clifford made it over after some crisp offloading, and a second converted effort followed from hooker Conor Maguire via a lineout maul.

Barry McLaughlin, who landed both conversions, added a penalty on the stroke of half-time, as Buccs suffered two yellow cards – the first of them for a high tackle by centre Mata Fifita.

It proved to be only a wobble for the Athlone men, though, as they outscored Morgan Lennon’s charges by four tries to one in an entertaining but one-sided second half. Layden, Evan Galvin, Romaine and current Connacht squad member Shane O’Leary – making his debut off the bench – all crossed the whitewash, with Wesley’s hard-working full-back Rory Stynes notching their only response.

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, Donnchadh Phelan, Jonathan O’Sullivan, Adam Kennedy.

BUCCANEERS: Luke Carty; Eoghan O’Reilly, Shane Layden (capt), Mata Fifita, Jordan Conroy; Alan Gaughan, Graham Lynch; Martin Staunton, John Sutton, Saba Meunargia, Cian Romaine, Daniel Qualter, Simon Meagher, Evan Galvin, Stephen McVeigh.

Replacements: Eoghan Maher, Rory Grenham, Ruairi Byrne, Conor McKeon, Shane O’Leary, Kolo Kiripati.

UL BOHEMIANS 14 SHANNON 13, University of Limerick 4G pitch
Scorers: UL Bohemians: Tries: Penalty try, Finbar Aherne; Cons: Rick McKenna 2
Shannon: Tries: Riley Winter, Shane Mullally; Pen: Conor Fitzgerald

HT: UL Bohemians 7 Shannon 8

Shannon were a missed conversion away from a late victory over local rivals UL Bohemians on the University’s 4G pitch in Limerick.

Young out-half Conor Fitzgerald was narrowly off target with a difficult conversion attempt from the right touchline, leaving Bohs to hang on to a 14-13 verdict.

The result keeps Christy Neilan’s men second in the standings just behind Buccaneers whom they lost to last week, while Dolphin’s home win over Naas sees Shannon slip to the bottom.

The Parish club were 8-7 to the good at half-time, the sight of Luke O’Dea and fit-again winger Greg O’Shea in their back-three providing a welcome boost for Marcus Horan’s side.

O’Dea threatened from a kick chase and the Shannon maul and scrum also had Bohs scrambling near their try-line. The hosts held out until just moments after their out-half Rick McKenna was sin-binned in the 18th minute, a powerful Shannon maul shunted Australian lock Riley Winter over in the corner.

That opening try quickly drew a reaction from the UL pack who were camped on the Shannon line for a concerted spell. They turned up the heat at scrum time and forced a penalty try which the returning McKenna converted for 7-5.

Despite losing O’Shea to the bin, the visitors managed to respond two minutes before the interval, good carries from John Foley and James Vaughan preceding Fitzgerald’s well-struck penalty from just outside the 22.

Shannon felt prop Tony Cusack was harshly sin-binned after a scrum collapse in the 54th minute, and Bohs took swift advantage, moving the ball wide for centre Finbar Aherne to run in his fourth try of the campaign, converted by McKenna.

That would prove to be the match-winning score despite a strong fight-back from the Shannon forwards. Towards the end of UL captain Ian Condell’s sin-binning for a tip tackle, Shannon won a close-in lineout from a 72nd minute penalty and worked winger Shane Mullally over in the corner.

Fitzgerald, who had missed a previous penalty, went close to adding the extras but his kick missed the target, and Bohs hung on in a tense finale to chalk up their sixth win in seven rounds.

UL BOHEMIANS: Colin Ryan; Jamie McNamara, Finbar Aherne, Harry Fleming, Cian Aherne; Rick McKenna, Joe Murphy; Joe Conway, David Rowsome, Philip Poillot, Ed Kelly, Daragh Frawley, James Ryan, Ian Condell (capt), Brian Walsh.

Replacements: Peter King, Noel Kinane, Pat Staff, Rory White, Robbie Burke.

SHANNON: Luke O’Dea; Greg O’Shea, Richie Mullane, Jack O’Donnell, Shane Mullally; Conor Fitzgerald, Keith Kavanagh; Conor Glynn, Ty Chan, Tony Cusack, Lee Nicholas (capt), Riley Winter, Niall Mulcahy, James Vaughan, John Foley.

Replacements: Jordan Prenderville, John Andress, Paddy Kearns, Jack Stafford, Ronan McKenna.