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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Lansdowne will enjoy the festive period that little bit more than their Division 1A rivals after defeating Young Munster 30-24 in a supercharged top of the table clash on Saturday.



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LANSDOWNE 30 YOUNG MUNSTER 24, Aviva Stadium back pitch
Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Willie Earle, Ferdia Doherty, Daniel McEvoy, Marc O’Keefe; Cons: Scott Deasy 2; Pens: Scott Deasy 2
Young Munster: Tries: Craig O’Hanlon 2, Calvin Nash, Jack Harrington; Cons: David O’Mahony 2

HT: Lansdowne 20 Young Munster 12

Mike Ruddock’s men hold a four-point lead at the league’s halfway point, with only third-placed Young Munster able to match the headquarters club’s haul of six try-scoring bonus points in the nine rounds so far.

Despite falling to their second straight defeat, the Cookies will take heart from a performance that earned them two bonus points in the end. Gearoid Prendergast’s charges will regroup and look to make up lost ground against Lansdowne in their January 28 rematch.

Three first half tries, one of them converted by Scott Deasy who also kicked an initial penalty, had the hosts leading 20-12 at half-time on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch.

After Deasy’s early penalty for 3-0, Lansdowne created a first senior try for winger Ferdia Doherty, strong-running second row Stephen Gardiner opening up the visitors’ defence before linking with hooker Tyrone Moran. Doherty was then released for a sprint to the line, with the conversion missed.

The home side switched off from the restart, though, as they allowed the Cookies to set up a series of close-in attacks and winger Craig O’Hanlon was freed up to plunge over in the right corner, closing the gap to 8-5.

Deasy did the donkey work in the lead up to Lansdowne’s second try, winning turnover ball and then knocking a penalty up to the line to tee up a maul opportunity from the lineout. The forwards did the rest and influential lock Willie Earle crashed over with Deasy converting.

The hosts’ defence was not as clinical, however, and they allowed Munsters centre Jack Harrington clean through on a midfield raid approaching the interval. He passed for 19-year-old winger Calvin Nash to finish off and full-back David O’Mahony converted.

However, right on the stroke of half-time, the ball was moved wide to the left for Lansdowne winger Daniel McEvoy to claim his fourth try of the campaign, the plaudits going to captain Ian Prendiville and his pack for winning a scrum penalty and then heaping the pressure on at maul time again.

Eight points in arrears, the next score was crucial and Munsters, with the wind behind them in the second half, managed to get it in the 56th minute. Aided by the introduction of big forwards Fineen Wycherley and Dave Begley off the bench and the powerful carrying of Munster’s Dan Goggin, a missed tackle was ruthlessly punished with O’Hanlon’s second try of the day for 20-17.

Just as the Munsters forwards lay siege in Lansdowne territory, the hosts’ athletic back row trio of Charlie Butterworth, Joe McSwiney and Paul Boyle led a resolute defence. Their tireless efforts were rewarded with a tremendous team try in the 73rd minute, a move starting on the Lansdowne 10-metre line ending with man-of-the-match Marc O’Keefe racing clear up the left wing.

The fizzing winger’s third try in two league games was a hugely important score. Just as they had done throughout the afternoon, Young Munster snapped back with a Harrington try at the other end, making it a three-point game, but out-half Deasy put the hosts out of reach with an injury-time penalty. Indeed, it was a milestone match for the Corkman as he became the first Lansdowne player to accumulate 500 points in the league.

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Daniel McEvoy, Mark Roche, Ferdia Doherty, Marc O’Keefe; Scott Deasy, Matthew D’Arcy; Jacob Walshe, Tyrone Moran, Ian Prendiville (capt), Willie Earle, Stephen Gardiner, Joe McSwiney, Charlie Butterworth, Paul Boyle.

Replacements: Tadgh McElroy, Ntinga Mpiko, Jack O’Sullivan, Alan Bennie, Charlie McMickan.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Shane Airey; Craig O’Hanlon, Calvin Nash, Jack Harrington, David O’Mahony; Alan Tynan, Abrie Griesel; David Begley, Ger Slattery (capt), Colm Skehan, Tom Goggin, Alan Kennedy, Darren Ryan, Dan Walsh, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Mark O’Mara, Gavin Ryan, Fineen Wycherley, Dan Goggin, Rob Guerin.

Scorers: Old Belvedere: Tries: David Brandon 2; Con: Steve Crosbie; Pen: Steve Crosbie
St. Mary’s College: –

HT: Old Belvedere 8 St. Mary’s College 0

Winger David Brandon helped himself to two tries as Old Belvedere ended a three-match losing streak with a 15-0 home win over St. Mary’s College on Saturday afternoon.

Recent Munster recruit Steve Crosbie kicked the other five points as ‘Belvo moved six points clear of second-from-bottom St. Mary’s, ahead of a long winter break in Division 1A action.

Centre Sean Coughlan limped out of the Belvedere team before kick-off at Anglesea Road, but the home side hit the ground running and out-half Crosbie’s delicate chip almost produced a fourth-minute breakaway try.

Mary’s were held up and turned over from a promising maul opportunity before Crosbie opened the scoring in the 17th minute, landing a long range penalty with just inches to spare.

Clear-cut scoring opportunities were few and far between during a tight and attritional first half, but ‘Belvo struck seven minutes before half-time when excellent approach work by Crosbie led to Brandon diving over in the left corner.

The try was unconverted from the touchline and although Mary’s were unable to eat into the eight-point deficit with in-form lock David O’Connor just held up, the presence of Leinster ‘A’ starlet Jordan Larmour in the visitors’ youthful back-line offer them hope.

Mary’s let Belvedere off the hook after the restart, though. With Crosbie and second row Jack Kelly being treated for blood injuries, the Templeogue side looked set to score but young out-half Conor Dean’s attempted pass towards David Fanagan and Conor Hogan was overcooked.

Dean then watched his 40-metre penalty attempt rebound off the post and ‘Belvo showed their clinical edge in attack again in the 61st minute, working the ball wide for Brandon to finish smartly in the left corner.

Crosbie brilliantly added the extras from out wide for a 15-point advantage and although ‘Belvo lost forwards Matt Ritani and Karl Miller to yellow cards, they finished the game with a clean defensive slate.

OLD BELVEDERE: Daniel Riordan; Shane McDonald, John Kennedy, James Kearns, David Brandon; Steve Crosbie, Aaron Sheehan; Adam Howard, Cathal O’Flynn, Declan Lavery (capt), Jack Kelly, Karl Miller, Jonathan Slattery, Tom de Jongh, David Sherry.

Replacements: Andy McGrath, James McWilliams-Grey, Matt Ritani, Willie Staunton, Kyle McCarthy.

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE: David Fanagan; Conor Hogan, Ryan O’Loughlin, Paddy Lavelle, Jordan Larmour; Conor Dean, Paddy O’Driscoll; Tom O’Reilly, Richard Halpin, Brian McGovern (capt), David O’Connor, Cathal O’Flaherty, Kevin Sheahan, Nick McCarthy, Caelan Doris.

Replacements: Hugh Kelleher, Emmet Ferron, Ciaran Ruddock, Stephen O’Brien, Ian O’Neill. 

Scorers: Cork Constitution: Tries: Liam O’Connor, Penalty try, JJ O’Neill, Tomas Quinlan, Darragh Lyons, Rob Jermyn, Ned Hodson; Cons: Tomas Quinlan 6; Pen: Tomas Quinlan
UCD: Tries: Tom Fletcher, Tommy O’Brien, Gordon Frayne; Cons: Ciaran Frawley 2; Pens: Ciaran Frawley 2

HT: Cork Constitution 29 UCD 13

Seven tries – six of them converted – saw Cork Constitution hit the half-century mark against an overworked UCD side, with Brian Hickey’s men enjoying a 50-25 bonus point victory at Temple Hill.

Constitution were missing their top try scorer Shane Daly (five tries) who is away in Dubai with the Ireland Sevens squad this weekend, but they more than made up for his absence in another dominant display.

The Leesiders’ sixth straight success has moved them up to second in the Division 1A table, and they were well on their way when leading 29-13 at half-time.

Con put 58 points on the students in their most recent meeting at Belfield last February and they were 10-0 up in as many minutes today. Tomas Quinlan fired over a fifth-minute penalty before Liam O’Connor followed up with an outstanding try in the right corner, the loosehead prop throwing an outrageous dummy and showing impressive pace to score from 25 metres out.

UCD out-half Ciaran Frawley kicked two penalties – one from close to halfway – and also converted winger Tom Fletcher’s well-finished try from 30 metres, but Con pocketed their bonus point by the break, a 17th minute penalty try for a collapsed scrum being added to by efforts from backs JJ O’Neill and Quinlan, the latter breaking through from a clever blindside run.

Despite having their Munster lock Darren O’Shea sin-binned for an awkward tackle and tighthead Ger Sweeney dismissed for repeated scrum infringements, the home side held firm with the lion’s share of second half possession.

Experienced replacement Darragh Lyons claimed their fifth try of the afternoon, making it over in the right corner. The scoring dried up until the sides swapped four tries during a breathless final 10 minutes.

UCD gained some consolation with teenage centre Tommy O’Brien’s fourth league score and replacement Gordon Frayne also touched down in the 79th minute. Con ran out ‘double scores’ winners in the end, winger Rob Jermyn getting on the scoresheet in the 77th minute and then, from the restart after Frayne’s effort, home centre Ned Hodson broke clean through to dot down by the posts.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Liam O’Connell; JJ O’Neill, Ned Hodson, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Tomas Quinlan, John Poland; Liam O’Connor, Max Abbott, Ger Sweeney, Darren O’Shea, Conor Kindregan, Brian Hayes, James Murphy, Evan Mintern.

Replacements: Rory Burke, Gavin Duffy, Ross O’Neill, Jason Higgins, Darragh Lyons.

UCD: Andy Marks; Cillian Burke, Stephen Murphy, Tommy O’Brien, Tom Fletcher; Ciaran Frawley, Jamie Glynn (capt); Mike Moynihan, Sean McNulty, Liam Hyland, Emmet MacMahon, Brian Cawley, Jonny Guy, Alex Penny, Greg Jones.

Replacements: Gordon Frayne, Stephen McGivern, Jack Dwan, Nick Peters, Matthew Gilsenan. 

Scorers: Clontarf: Tries: Matt D’Arcy, Peter du Toit, Michael Brown, Rob Keogh, Penalty try; Cons: Rob Keogh 4
Dublin University: –

HT: Clontarf 7 Dublin University 0

Clontarf put together their most complete performance of the season so far to record a comprehensive 33-0 win over a below-par Dublin University at Castle Avenue.

Very little went right for injury-hit Trinity on the day – they were missing the likes of Jack Kelly, Michael Courtney, Colm Hogan and Jack McDermott in the backs – as defending champions ‘Tarf made it two victories on the bounce, climbing back into the top half of the table ahead of the Christmas break.

Hooker Bryan Byrne has not played for Leinster since September and he will hope his provincial coaches take note of his performance here. He had two excellent first half breaks, the second of which led to a 25th minute try for centre Matt D’Arcy which broke the deadlock.

Byrne was also a big part of ‘Tarf’s dominant scrum, but they were unable to press that advantage home as the first half ended 7-0 in their favour. Trinity, who started debutant Jesse Milne at outside centre, had a missed penalty attempt by out-half James Fennelly and a yellow card for winger Bryan Mollen.

Resolute defending from the students kept them very much in contention, a brilliant move involving D’Arcy and Mick McGrath almost seeing ‘Tarf score on the stroke of half-time before Trinity covered the danger.

However, the visitors blundered when knocking on straight from the restart and ‘Tarf quickly broke through, feeding winger Rob Keogh for a well-finished five-pointer wide on the right.

Trinity’s resistance lessened after Michael Brown joined his centre partner D’Arcy on the scoresheet, giving the north Dubliners a 19-point buffer in damp and muddy conditions.

The bonus point try followed when scrum half Peter du Toit outfoxed the cover at a close-in ruck, sniping through in impressive fashion with the students down to 14 men.

The ‘Tarf pack’s scrummaging power earned them a penalty try, with Keogh adding his fourth successful conversion, and Brown went close to scoring his second of the day late on. This chastening defeat – their third in four games and their heaviest one since September 2013 – will linger for Trinity before they get a chance to gain revenge on Andy Wood’s men in the January 28 rematch.

– Photos by Laurent Coudeur

CLONTARF: Jack Power; Rob Keogh, Michael Brown, Matt D’Arcy, Mick McGrath; Mark Sutton, Peter du Toit; Vakh Abdalaze, Bryan Byrne, Royce Burke-Flynn, Ben Reilly (capt), Mick Kearney, Michael Noone, Adrian D’Arcy, Tony Ryan.

Replacements: Jonathan Larbey, Eoghan Browne, Dylan Doyle, Sam Cronin, Rob McGrath.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Hugh Connors; Bryan Mollen, Jesse Milne, Kyle Dixon, Evan Dixon; James Fennelly, Daniel Joyce; Eric O’Sullivan, Paddy Finlay, Andy Keating, Jack Burke (capt), Pierce Dargan, Adrien Charbonnier, Dermot O’Flynn, Tom Ryan.

Replacements: Liam Cronin, Shane Byrne, Richard Dunne, Ryan Johnston, Tommy Whittle. 

Scorers: Garryowen: Tries: Conor Oliver, Steven McMahon 3, Dave McCarthy, Penalty try; Cons: Neil Cronin 4; Pen: Neil Cronin
Terenure College: Tries: Marc Hiney, Eoin Joyce, Conor Weakliam, Penalty try; Cons: Jake Swaine 3

HT: Garryowen 29 Terenure College 12

Winger Steven McMahon had a dream outing at Dooradoyle as Garryowen swept their way to a convincing 41-12 bonus point win over bottom side Terenure College.

McMahon, a 21-year-old Munster Academy back, scored a hat-trick of tries with Conor Oliver and Dave McCarthy also touching down in addition to a second half penalty try.

The Light Blues pocketed their bonus point by half-time, turning around with a 29-12 lead. Tries from flanker Oliver, who has seen recent senior action with Munster, and Terenure centre Marc Hiney had squared things up at seven-all after 12 minutes.

However, once McMahon notched the first of his tries in the 21st minute, the floodgates unlocked and captain Neil Cronin’s penalty gave the hosts the breathing space to open up the game at every opportunity.

McMahon (38 minutes) and centre McCarthy, just on the whistle, gave Conan Doyle’s charges a comfortable interval lead as they chased their third league triumph on the trot. They will take in the Christmas break in fourth place, with local rivals Young Munster five points ahead of them.

The scores kept coming in the closing 40 minutes, both defences offering up space as bodies tired. There was a penalty try apiece and Waterford man McMahon completed his hat-trick to make it 41-19. Cronin converted the penalty try to add to his nine first half points.

Terenure, who host Garryowen in the return leg on January 28, remain adrift of second-from-bottom Mary’s at the wrong end of the table. At least they picked up a late try-scoring bonus point, replacement Conor Weakliam crashing over to give his side something tangible from a very entertaining game.

– Photos by Luke Sheehan Photography

GARRYOWEN: Andrew O’Byrne; Steven McMahon, David Johnston, Dave McCarthy, Liam Coombes; Jamie Glynn, Neil Cronin (capt); Niall Horan, Ger Horan, Jack Mullany, Barra O’Byrne, Sean O’Connor, Dara Shanahan, Conor Oliver, Bailey Faloon.

Replacements: Eamon Costello, Michael O’Donnell, Paul McCarroll, Caolan Moloney, Bill Johnston.

TERENURE COLLEGE: Jake Swaine; Niall Thornton, Marc Hiney, Harrison Brewer, Robbie Murphy; James O’Donoghue, Kevin O’Neill; Kieran Moloney, Robbie Smyth, Conor McCormack, John Dever, Kyle McCoy (capt), Stephen Caffrey, James O’Neill, Eoin Joyce.

Replacements: Risteard Byrne, Cian Madden, Mike Murphy, Thomas Burke, Conor Weakliam.