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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Four of the losing teams from the last round before Christmas all bounced back with home wins this afternoon as the top flight of the Ulster Bank League resumed in exciting fashion.



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ST. MARY’S COLLEGE 27 OLD BELVEDERE 18, Templeville Road
Scorers: St. Mary’s College: Tries: Dave Fanagan, Conor Hogan, Penalty try, Brian McGovern; Cons: Dave Fanagan 2; Pen: Dave Fanagan
Old Belvedere: Tries: Shane McDonald, David Brandon; Con: Willie Staunton; Pens: Willie Staunton 2

HT: St. Mary’s College 22 Old Belvedere 6

St. Mary’s College snapped their four-match losing streak in the Ulster Bank League with a much-needed 27-18 bonus point victory over south Dublin rivals Old Belvedere at Templeville Road.

Belvedere, who qualified for the Bateman Cup final last week, were 15-0 winners when the sides met at Anglesea Road in early December. They included Charlie Rock – a recent Leinster debutant – at scrum half, while his Academy colleague Terry Kennedy featured at full-back for the hosts.

Out-half Willie Staunton drifted a second minute penalty past the posts for ‘Belvo and it was his opposite number, versatile youngster Dave Fanagan, who opened the scoring with a comfortable strike at the other end.

Although Daniel Riordan and Rock were combining to good effect for the visitors, a stray offload on 17 minutes allowed Fanagan to set the wheels in motion for Mary’s opening try. Having broken out of defence, he passed wide to Conor Hogan and in attempting to prevent the winger from scoring, Belvedere’s Shane McDonald conceded a penalty try and was also sin-binned.

Mary’s confidence was growing as the first half went on. Staunton opened ‘Belvo’s account off the tee before Hogan touched down from a short Paddy O’Driscoll assist for Mary’s second seven-pointer – Fanagan’s second conversion went over with the aid of the woodwork. The latter then crossed for a try of his own in the 29th minute, at the end of a sweeping attack.

The margin stood at 22-6 at the turnaround, with Staunton landing his second penalty following a yellow card for Mary’s replacement back rower Jack Dilger. From their very first attack of the second half, ‘Belvo’s McDonald drifted in off his right wing to collect a pass and dot down in style for Staunton convert.

However, Mary’s kept their discipline in defence and by the time Dilger returned, they were still in the driving seat. Just before the hour mark, a strong maul got them into scoring range and when the ball was turned loose, Mary’s captain Brian McGovern finished off the bonus point try.

Belvedere did have the better of the closing stages, but they missed out on a losing bonus point when Rock failed to convert replacement David Brandon’s late try which came from a magnificent passage of play involving several players.

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE: Terry Kennedy; Ryan O’Loughlin, Darren Moroney, Paddy Lavelle, Conor Hogan; Dave Fanagan, Paddy O’Driscoll; Tom O’Reilly, Richard Halpin, Brian McGovern (capt), Ciaran Ruddock, Cathal O’Flaherty, Hugh Kelleher, Nick McCarthy, Kevin Sheahan.

Replacements: Hugo Kean, Cathal Ryan, Jack Dilger, Conor Gilsenan, Zach O’Hagan.

OLD BELVEDERE: Daniel Riordan; Shane McDonald, John Kennedy (capt), James Kearns, Sean Coughlan; Willie Staunton, Charlie Rock; Jonathan Inglis, Cathal O’Flynn, Adam Howard, Connor Owende, Jack Kelly, Jonathan Slattery, Michael Oyuga, David Sherry.

Replacements: Brian Coyle, Killian Foley, Karl Miller, David Brandon, Aaron Sheehan. 

Scorers: Dublin University: –
Clontarf: Tries: Mick McGrath 4; Cons: Rob Keogh 3; Pen: Rob Keogh

HT: Dublin University 0 Clontarf 7

Clontarf were the only team in the Division 1A to win both back-to-back fixtures either side of Christmas as they whitewashed Dublin University 29-0 at College Park.

Former Leinster winger Mick McGrath grabbed the headlines with four tries, including a second half hat-trick, as ‘Tarf followed up on their 33-0 home win over the students in the last round.

Aided by other results today, Andy Wood’s men have climbed back into the top four ahead of next Friday night’s clash with lowly Terenure College back at Castle Avenue.

There was little between the teams in the first half, Trinity defending stoutly with ever-alert flanker Brian du Toit stealing possession on two occasions to break up promising ‘Tarf attacks.

Tommy Whittle injured himself during a try-saving tackle, so regular out-half Jack McDermott made his return off the bench. After two penalty misses by Rob Keogh, the visitors finally broke the deadlock when loose ball led to McGrath barrelling through in the 25th minute for Keogh to convert.

The students started the second period in very good fettle, their strong scrum continuing to make an impression and winger Bryan Mollen was just fingertips away from an intercept try.

However, ‘Tarf pushed on and went 14-0 ahead when good work in midfield by David Joyce and Matt D’Arcy saw McGrath complete his brace. Trinity, willed on by the consistent excellence of scrum half Brian Slater and du Toit, went close again but a knock-on at a 62nd minute maul, five metres out, robbed them of a real try-scoring opportunity.

The students felt aggrieved at some of referee Leo Colgan’s decisions, including his interpretation of a couple of high tackles from ‘Tarf on Slater.

A Keogh penalty made it 17-0 before McGrath added two more tries late on, either side of Trinity captain Jack Burke’s sin-binning for a high tackle – a decision which capped off another frustrating day at the office for Tony Smeeth’s youngsters. They are second-from-bottom now and need to produce a big performance away to Cork Constitution next week.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Colm Hogan; Tim Maupin, Michael Courtney, Kyle Dixon, Bryan Mollen; Tommy Whittle, Brian Slater; Eric O’Sullivan, Paddy Finlay, Andy Keating, Jack Burke (capt), Cian O’Dwyer, Pierce Dargan, Brian du Toit, Tom Ryan.

Replacements: Jack Boland, Darragh Higgins, Niall O’Riordan, Daniel Joyce, Jack McDermott.

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

Replacements: Jonathan Larbey, Karl Moran, Dylan Doyle, Sam Cronin, David Joyce. 

Scorers: Terenure College: Tries: Marc Hiney 2, Penalty try; Cons: Mark O’Neill 3; Pens: Mark O’Neill 2
Garryowen: Tries: Neil Cronin, Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham, Andrew O’Byrne; Con: Neil Cronin

HT: Terenure College 0 Garryowen 10

Bottom side Terenure College lifted their spirits with a well-earned 27-17 success at home to Garryowen, reversing last month’s 41-26 defeat to the same opposition.

Obviously fired up by James Blaney’s half-time words and armed with a second half wind advantage, Terenure thrilled their Lakelands Park faithful with a 27-point performance over the closing 40 minutes.

The result put an end to their six-match losing run in the league and provides some vital momentum to their bid to avoid relegation. They are now nine points behind UCD at the foot of the table, but February could make or break them with three games against title-chasing teams – Clontarf, Young Munster and Cork Constitution.

Sitting in fourth place before kick-off, Garryowen had to wait until just before half-time to open the scoring. Two line breaks were clinically finished by scrum half and captain Neil Cronin (33 minutes) and centre Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham (37) for unconverted tries and a 10-0 interval lead.

However, the third quarter really belonged to resilient ‘Nure who cut the gap thanks to two well-struck penalties from out-half Mark O’Neill after 47 and 51 minutes.

The hosts’ first seven-pointer followed just four minutes later, referee Mark Patton awarding them a penalty try after the Light Blues had cynically pulled down a lineout maul on their own whitewash.

Now trailing 13-10, it soon descended into a nightmare scenario for Garryowen as persistent infringing saw O’Brien-Cunningham sin-binned and they were down to 13 men when Steven McMahon – the hat-trick hero from the sides’ first meeting on December 3 – saw yellow for a high tackle in the corner on the advancing Sam Coghlan Murray.

Terenure’s numerical advantage paid off with 12 minutes remaining when influential number 10 O’Neill used turnover ball to send centre Marc Hiney over for a converted score – 20-10.

O’Neill’s opposite number Jamie Gavin was then binned for offside. That left them with 14 players and ‘Nure copper-fastened the win with Hiney’s second try via a powerful fend out wide. Garryowen full-back Andrew O’Byrne grabbed a late consolation try converted by Cronin, but there was no bonus point for the ill-disciplined Limerick side who have fallen one place to fifth.

TERENURE COLLEGE: James O’Donoghue; Jake Swaine, Marc Hiney, Conor Finn, Sam Coghlan Murray; Mark O’Neill, Kevin O’Neill; Kieran Moloney, Robbie Smyth, Oisin Heffernan, Mike Murphy, Kyle McCoy (capt), Harrison Brewer, Stephen Caffrey, Eoin Joyce.

Replacements: Risteard Byrne, Gary Hamilton, John Dever, Conor Weakliam, Willie Devane.

GARRYOWEN: Andrew O’Byrne; Steven McMahon, Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham, Dave McCarthy, Dylan Sheehan; Jamie Gavin, Neil Cronin (capt); Niall Horan, Diarmaid Barron, Mike O’Donnell, Tim Ferguson, Barra O’Byrne, Johnny Keane, Alwyn van Vuuren, Bailey Faloon.

Replacements: Caolan Moloney, Jack Mullany, Mike Wilson, Dara Shanahan, Ronan O’Halloran, Conor Oliver. 

Scorers: UCD: Tries: Peadar Timmins, Stephen Murphy; Cons: Matthew Gilsenan 2; Pen: Matthew Gilsenan
Cork Constitution: Pen: Tomas Quinlan

HT: UCD 3 Cork Constitution 3

A sterling defensive performance in the first half was followed by tries from Stephen Murphy and Peadar Timmins as UCD turned the tables on Cork Constitution at Belfield.

UCD’s last two league encounters with Constitution ended in whopping defeats – 58-15 at this venue last February and 50-25 on Leeside before Christmas.

However, a reinforced starting line-up, bolstered by the presence of Billy Dardis, Hugo Keenan, Jeremy Loughman, Sean McNulty and Peadar Timmins who were all back from Leinster ‘A’ duty, helped the students to carve out a determined 17-3 victory.

Cork Con should have been well ahead at half-time but the 3-3 scoreline owed much to UCD’s ability to frustrate them in defence. Matthew Gilsenan and Tomas Quinlan swapped penalties inside the first 25 minutes, yet the visitors had nothing to show for a prolonged 15-minute spell in the College 22.

They also could not capitalise on two UCD yellow cards before the break. The students succeeded in disrupting the Con lineout, winning a crucial steal at the second attempt.

The home side had shown little in attack, but they looked the brighter team on the resumption as Ireland Sevens international Harry McNulty, playing on the left wing, and captain Jamie Glynn both found space in midfield and exploited it.

Con invited further pressure on themselves with a deliberate knock-on, and UCD centre Stephen Murphy made them pay with a clever dummy and gliding run to the try-line. Gilsenan converted for 10-3.

UCD’s tails were up now and a second converted effort followed from Leinster ‘A’ captain Timmins who finished off good work from Josh Murphy and Sean McNulty. Gilsenan supplied the extras again, and flanker Murphy, who had a great impact off the bench, managed to disrupt the Con lineout again as the Bateman Cup finalists struggled to respond.

A terrific kick chase by Glynn and Harry McNulty summed up UCD’s greater desire and work-rate on the day, with the result seeing Andy Skehan’s charges climb back up to seventh overall. Cork Con have dropped one place to third following their first defeat in seven league rounds.

UCD: Billy Dardis; Hugo Keenan, Jamie Glynn (capt), Stephen Murphy, Harry McNulty; Matthew Gilsenan, Nick Peters; Jeremy Loughman, Sean McNulty, Liam Hyland, Brian Cawley, Emmet MacMahon, Greg Jones, Alex Penny, Peadar Timmins.

Replacements: Gordon Frayne, Stephen McGivern, Josh Murphy, Sean McKeon, Andy Marks.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Liam O’Connell; Alex McHenry, Ned Hodson, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Tomas Quinlan, Jason Higgins; Gavin Duffy, Max Abbott, Rory Burke, Conor Kindregan, Brian Hayes, Luke Cahill, James Murphy, Evan Mintern.

Replacements: Ger Sweeney, Graeme Lawler, Cian Barry, John Poland, Darragh Lyons. 

YOUNG MUNSTER 19 LANSDOWNE 10, Tom Clifford Park
Scorers: Young Munster: Try: Cian Bohane; Con: Alan Tynan; Pens: Alan Tynan 4
Lansdowne: Try: Alan Bennie; Con: Scott Deasy; Pen: Scott Deasy

HT: Young Munster 16 Lansdowne 10

Young Munster have reduced Lansdowne’s lead at the top of Division 1A to a single point following their impressive 19-10 win over the table toppers at Tom Clifford Park.

Multi-talented Tipperary teenager Alan Tynan showed his coolness under pressure by kicking 14 points in what was a huge game for his club, coming on the back of last month’s 30-24 loss at Lansdowne.

The Cookies did themselves and other play-off hopefuls a big favour with this hard-earned victory which moves them above Munster rivals Cork Constitution into second place.

Almost all of the scoring came in the first half, but tellingly Lansdowne were unable to make the most of the attacking qualities possessed by the four Ireland Sevens internationals in their back-line – Mark Roche, Tom Daly, John O’Donnell and Alan Bennie.

Munster duo Dan Goggin (another Sevens international) and Cian Bohane provided plenty of work for the Lansdowne defence in midfield, and it was the latter who broke through for a 23rd minute try, converted by out-half Tynan for a 13-3 lead.

Tynan had opened the scoring with successive penalties after 8 and 10 minutes, before Scott Deasy, who recently became the first Lansdowne player to score 500 league points, split the posts with 21 minutes on the clock.

Limerick man Bennie snipped through in typical scrum half fashion for a Lansdowne try, with Deasy supplying the extras, however a third successful penalty from Tynan, a recent member of the Ireland Under-20 training squad, closed out the first half 16-10 in Munsters’ favour.

The second period was just as gripping, although scores proved hugely difficult to come by. In the end, a fourth and final penalty goal from the trusty left boot of Tynan was enough to see the home side over the line and send Lansdowne home pointless, with their head coach Ruddock still awaiting his first victory at Greenfields.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Shane Airey; Craig O’Hanlon, Dan Goggin, Cian Bohane, Jack Harrington; Alan Tynan, Rob Guerin; Gavin Ryan, Ger Slattery, Colm Skehan, Alan Ross, Sean Duggan (capt), Alan Kennedy, Dan Walsh, Darren Ryan.

Replacements: David Begley, Shane Fenton, Ben Kilkenny, Abrie Griesel, Tom Goggin.

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Daniel McEvoy, Mark Roche, Tom Daly, John O’Donnell; Scott Deasy, Alan Bennie; Peter Dooley, Tyrone Moran, Ian Prendiville (capt), Josh O’Rourke, Stephen Gardiner, Willie Earle, Charlie Butterworth, Max Deegan.

Replacements: James Rael, Ntinga Mpiko, Barry Fitzpatrick, Matthew D’Arcy, Charlie McMickan.