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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Garryowen and Terenure College were the only teams to move up the table in round 13 of Ulster Bank League Division 1A, although bonus point wins for leaders Lansdowne and defending champions Clontarf saw them gain slight ground on their top four rivals.



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Scorers: Old Belvedere: Try: Ed Rossiter; Con: Willie Staunton; Pens: Willie Staunton 2
Clontarf: Tries: Sean Long, Michael Noone 3, Matt D’Arcy; Cons: David Joyce 2, Rob Keogh 2; Pen: David Joyce

HT: Old Belvedere 7 Clontarf 15

Michael Noone was Clontarf’s hat-trick hero as the defending Ulster Bank League champions continued their quest for back-to-back titles with a commanding 36-13 bonus point win at Old Belvedere.

Three tries from number 8 Noone, combined with single efforts from backs Sean Long and Matt D’Arcy, saw fourth-placed ‘Tarf keep pace with their play-off rivals and condemn struggling Belvedere to their fourth consecutive defeat – they are now bottom of the Division 1A table on scoring difference.

Eddie O’Sullivan’s recent arrival at Anglesea Road as a coaching consultant has yet to coincide with improved results for ‘Belvo and the pre-match withdrawal of Daniel Riordan, who was due to start at out-half, was a significant blow.

Four minutes in, Clontarf spread the ball out to the right wing where Long used his pace to break through for a well-worked unconverted try. With Mick McGrath creating numerous problems on the opposite wing, the north Dubliners were well worth their early lead.

Shane McDonald and Willie Staunton both missed penalty attempts for Belvedere, allowing David Joyce to increase ‘Tarf’s advantage to 8-0 by the start of the second quarter. Joyce then missed his third shot at the posts but the gap was out to 15 points after Noone drove over near the half hour mark.

Crucially, Belvedere gave themselves a fighting chance with a seven-pointer just before half-time. Hooker Ed Rossiter touched down to the left of the posts following an initial maul set-up near the right corner. Staunton converted to reduce the arrears to 15-7.

Belvedere managed to hold off charges from both Noone and D’Arcy on the resumption, however Clontarf’s persistence paid off when centre D’Arcy was fed off a five-metre scrum and darted through a gap for his seventh try of the campaign, converted by Joyce.

Yet, as the second half wore on, the home side were forcing ‘Tarf on the back foot more and more. Number 10 Staunton clipped over two successful penalties for a 22-13 scoreline, with ‘Tarf danger man McGrath spending time in the sin-bin for a high tackle.

Andy Wood’s charges were under severe pressure after out-half Joyce also saw yellow during the final quarter. Nonetheless, a late fight-back from ‘Belvo did not materialise and just after McGrath’s return, a strong 74th-minute scrum was finished off by the impressive Noone for the bonus point.

The former Ireland Under-20 international’s second try, converted by Rob Keogh, put the outcome beyond any doubt, but there was enough time for Noone to add some further gloss with a runaway score just as the 80 minutes were up.

OLD BELVEDERE: Shane McDonald; Sean Coughlan, John Kennedy (capt), James Kearns, David Brandon; Willie Staunton, Aaron Sheehan; Adam Howard, Ed Rossiter, Darrell Ryan, Jack Kelly, Karl Miller, Paul Pritchard, Cathal O’Flynn, Jonathan Slattery.

Replacements: Michael Oyuga, James McWilliams-Gray, Matt Ritani, Simon Killeen, Ben Butler.

CLONTARF: Rob Keogh; Sean Long, Michael Browne, Matt D’Arcy, Mick McGrath; David Joyce, Sam Cronin; Vakh Abdaladze, Jason Harris-Wright, Royce Burke Flynn, Ben Reilly (capt), James Doyle, Karl Moran, Neil Reilly, Michael Noone.

Replacements: Jonathan Larbey, Samuel Blair, Dylan Doyle, Mark Sutton, Conor Jennings. 

GARRYOWEN 17 UCD 16, Dooradoyle
Scorers: Garryowen: Try: Peadar Collins; Pens: Neil Cronin 4
UCD: Tries: Andy Marks, Stephen Murphy; Pens: Billy Dardis 2

HT: Garryowen 6 UCD 13

Garryowen climbed back into the top half of the Division 1A table thanks to a gritty 17-16 victory over UCD at Dooradoyle.

Current Ireland Under-20 squad member Peadar Collins, playing at outside centre, crossed for the match-winning try in the 62nd minute despite the Light Blues losing lock Barra O’Byrne to the sin-bin.

It was a never-say-die performance from Conan Doyle’s side who suffered a yellow card in each half but kept their discipline at vital stages as UCD mounted attack after attack.

Leinster Academy hooker Sean McNulty helped the students get on top at scrum time, a five-metre set piece late in the first half leading to centre Stephen Murphy touching down.

UCD’s second unconverted try came after Garryowen loosehead Jack Mullany saw yellow, and just six minutes on from their opening five-pointer run in by winger Andy Marks in the right corner.

Two penalties from captain Neil Cronin kept Garryowen in touch at the break, trailing 13-6, and two more well-struck efforts from the Ireland Club international scrum half had the margin down to the minimum.

It looked like UCD were getting back on track when full-back Billy Dardis split the posts with his second successful penalty and Garryowen were reduced to 14 men again.

However, former Ard Scoil Ris skipper Collins slalomed through for the decisive try that ends Garryowen’s three-match losing streak and keeps alive their slim hopes of a top four finish.

GARRYOWEN: Andrew O’Byrne; James Frawley, Peadar Collins, Dave McCarthy, Ronan O’Halloran; Bill Johnston, Neil Cronin (capt); Jack Mullany, Niall Horan, Mike O’Donnell, Barra O’Byrne, Paul McCarroll, Diarmaid Barron, Johnny Keane, Bailey Faloon.

Replacements: Caolan Moloney, Alwyn van Vuuren, Elliot Fitzgerald, Dara Shanahan, Mike Wilson.

UCD: Billy Dardis; Andy Marks, Colm Mulcahy, Stephen Murphy, Tom Fletcher; Jamie Glynn (capt), Nick Peters; Michael Moynihan, Sean McNulty, Liam Hyland, Brian Cawley, Emmet MacMahon, Josh Murphy, Alex Penny, Greg Jones.

Replacements: Gordon Frayne, Stephen McGivern, Jack Dwan, Sean McKeon, Niall O’Neill. 

LANSDOWNE 45 DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 3, Aviva Stadium back pitch
Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Penalty try, Max Deegan, Foster Horan, Tyrone Moran, Scott Deasy, Daniel McEvoy, Mark Roche; Cons: Scott Deasy 5
Dublin University: Pen: Jack McDermott

HT: Lansdowne 21 Dublin University 3

Dublin University endured a seven-try drubbing at the hands of leaders Lansdowne who galloped to a 45-3 bonus point win on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch.

Lansdowne’s record league scorer Scott Deasy ran in a try and kicked five conversions to take his season’s haul to 142 points, as Mike Ruddock’s men stretched their lead at Division 1A’s summit to seven points.

Trinity director of rugby Tony Smeeth dubbed this ‘the ultimate test’ for his young side and they got off to a positive start, out-half Jack McDermott, who recently returned from a shoulder injury, landing a fifth minute penalty.

However, Lansdowne’s superior scrum fired its first shot when forcing a penalty try from five metres out, and try number two followed in the 18th minute when talented number 8 Max Deegan finished off a bout of forward pressure.

A fine breakaway effort from winger Foster Horan – converted again by out-half Deasy – had Lansdowne 21-3 ahead after just 23 minutes, with McDermott missing a subsequent penalty attempt and Trinity failing to capitalise on a five-metre lineout opportunity.

The visitors had a good amount of territory in the third quarter but no points to show for it, and the scrum became a key factor once more as successive penalties saw Trinity tighthead Andy Keating sin-binned.

There was no let up from the Lansdowne pack as Tyrone Moran’s pushover score on the hour mark racked up their ninth try-scoring bonus point of the campaign.

Turnover ball allowed the Lansdowne backs to break clear out wide in the 70th minute for Deasy to dot down, and with Trinity’s error count increasing, the hosts took full advantage with winger Daniel McEvoy running in his 10th league try and centre Mark Roche wrapping up the scoring in the 79th minute.

Worryingly, Trinity’s fifth defeat in six league games leaves them just three points off the bottom. They are a much better side than this result suggests and their March 4 date with Garryowen at College Park has ‘must win’ written all over it.

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Daniel McEvoy, Mark Roche, Fergal Cleary, Foster Horan; Scott Deasy, Alan Bennie; Jacob Walshe, Tyrone Moran, Ian Prendiville (capt), Stephen Gardiner, Josh O’Rourke, Joe McSwiney, Willie Earle, Max Deegan.

Replacements: James Rael, Ntinga Mpiko, Philip Donnellan, Matthew D’Arcy, Charlie McMickan.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Bryan Mollen; Tim Maupin, Michael Courtney, Kyle Dixon, Billy O’Hora; Jack McDermott, Brian Slater; Eric O’Sullivan, Paddy Finlay, Andy Keating, Jack Burke (capt), Pierce Dargan, Raef Tyrrell, Dermot O’Flynn, Tom Ryan.

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

Scorers: Terenure College: Tries: Eoin Joyce, Sam Coghlan Murray
Cork Constitution: Try: Brian Hayes; Con: Tomas Quinlan; Pens: Tomas Quinlan 3

HT: Terenure College 10 Cork Constitution 3

Cork Constitution erased a seven-point half-time deficit as they triumphed 16-10 at Lakelands Park this afternoon to end Terenure’s three-match winning run.

This keenly-contested game could have gone either way but Cork Con seized the initiative on the hour mark with a 10-point scoring blitz in the space of five minutes.

After Tomas Quinlan’s second successful penalty of the afternoon, it was brilliant lock Brian Hayes who charged down an attempted kick and galloped up the left wing to score in the corner for a 13-10 turnaround.

Terenure blundered when winger Jake Swaine missed a very kickable penalty with 72 minutes on the clock and the Leesiders down to 14 men due to JJ O’Neill’s dangerous tackle. Constitution fought their way back into the ‘Nure half and earned a late 45-metre penalty opportunity which the dead-eyed Quinlan turned into the clinching three points.

This was an important victory for Con on the back on last week’s disappointing defeat at Clontarf. They remain third in the table, hot on the heels of Young Munster whom they face in next weekend’s Munster Senior Cup final.

A fast-paced first half at Lakelands was full of entertaining rugby but lacking scores. Nonetheless, ‘Nure were clinical out wide in the run-up to half-time, number 8 Eoin Joyce and former Leinster winger Sam Coghlan Murray both finishing crisply when invited forward.

Both conversions were missed, though, and Con number 10 Quinlan sandwiched in a penalty to leave Brian Hickey’s men very much within striking distance at 10-3 down.

Although not playing their best, Constitution were the team to take their chances and defend smartly in the second half, albeit that Swaine’s poor penalty miss was a real let-off for them.

Hayes’ seven-pointer continued the run of tries provided by Con’s influential engine room in recent weeks. Fellow second row Conor Kindregan picked up tries against both Dublin University and Clontarf.

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

Replacements: Barry Elliott, Gary Hamilton, James O’Neill, Conor Weakliam, Stephen O’Neill.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Liam O’Connell; Rob Jermyn, Ned Hodson, Niall Kenneally (capt), JJ O’Neill; Tomas Quinlan, John Poland; Gavin Duffy, Max Abbott, Ger Sweeney, Conor Kindregan, Brian Hayes, Graeme Lawler, James Murphy, Luke Cahill.

Replacements: Vincent O’Brien, Rory Burke, Cian Barry, Jason Higgins, Luke Duffy.

Scorers: Young Munster: Tries: Cian Bohane 2; Cons: Alan Tynan 2; Pens: Alan Tynan 2
St. Mary’s College: Tries: Cathal Marsh, Ryan O’Loughlin, Dave Fanagan; Pen: Cathal Marsh

HT: Young Munster 10 St. Mary’s College 3

Munster centre Cian Bohane bagged a brace of tries as Young Munster edged out St. Mary’s 20-18 in a cracking Division 1A contest at Tom Clifford Park.

Bohane was in inspirational form for the Cookies, salvaging the win for the home side with a try under the posts in the very last play and teenage out-half Alan Tynan added the all-important conversion.

It was Bohane’s fourth try in as many games and it saved the play-off hopefuls from their second successive defeat, which would have left them a full 10 points behind leaders Lansdowne and just a point clear of third-placed Cork Constitution.

As things stand, Gearoid Prendergast’s side still have a four-point advantage over Con in the race for a home semi-final berth. Meanwhile, their late dose of heartbreak in Greenfields has seen St. Mary’s slip to sixth overall.

Smarting from last week’s home loss to Terenure, Munsters were determined to avoid such a scenario again but they fell behind to a third-minute penalty from Leinster’s Cathal Marsh.

Tynan replied off the tee in the 28th minute and Mary’s were chugging along nicely until Bohane carved them open on the stroke of half-time. The 25-year-old Corkman broke through for Tynan to convert and make it 10-3 at the interval.

Mary’s forced the issue on the resumption with number 10 Marsh growing in influence and the likes of captain Brian McGovern, Ciaran Ruddock and Kevin Sheahan stepping up in the forward exchanges.

Just when it looked like Munsters had clawed back hard-won territory, they coughed up lineout ball and a couple of phases later, Mary’s full-back Dave Fanagan made it over out wide for a 10-8 scoreline.

The Mary’s bench, which included former England Under-20 flanker Gus Jones, had the required impact as they kept probing for openings and centre Ryan O’Loughlin’s unconverted try – matching Fanagan’s four-try haul for the season – edged the visitors back in front.

It was time for Munsters to knuckle down, and back rowers Dan Walsh and Darren Ryan, along with Bohane, made the hard yards to set up Tynan’s levelling penalty at 13-all.

His opposite number Marsh looked like he had won it for the Dubliners with a 77th minute try but he was unable to add the extras. The battle-hardened Cookies went for broke, turning down a couple of penalty shots before Bohane found a gap and drove the hosts to a last-gasp success.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Shane Airey; James O’Connor, Jack Harrington, Cian Bohane, Tom McHale; Alan Tynan, Rob Guerin; David Begley, Mark O’Meara, Colm Skehan, Aaron McCloskey, Sean Duggan (capt), Alan Kennedy, Dan Walsh, Darren Ryan.

Replacements: Gavin Ryan, Conor Bartley, Tom Goggin, Gary Fitzgerald, Paul Downes.

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE: Dave Fanagan; Conor Hogan, Darren Moroney, Ryan O’Loughlin, Ian O’Neill; Cathal Marsh, Paddy O’Driscoll; Tom O’Reilly, Richard Halpin, Brian McGovern (capt), Ciaran Ruddock, Cathal O’Flaherty, David O’Connor, Hugh Kelleher, Jack Dilger.

Replacements: Hugo Kean, Emmett Ferron, Gus Jones, Nick McCarthy, Conor Gilsenan.