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Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Review

Shannon have gone top of the Division 1B table after running five tries past Old Wesley to win 34-17 on the 4G pitch at Donnybrook yesterday.



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This season sees the introduction of the #UBLTry of the Month award with a prize of 250 euro for each monthly winner and entry into the Try of the Year award.

OLD WESLEY 17 SHANNON 34, Donnybrook
Scorers: Old Wesley: Tries: Donnchadh Phelan, David Rowley, James O’Donovan; Con: Josh Miller
Shannon: Tries: Conor Fitzgerald, Fionn McGibney, Eathon Moloney, Duncan Casey, Kelvin Brown; Cons: Conor Fitzgerald 3; Pen: Conor Fitzgerald

HT: Old Wesley 7 Shannon 20

Ireland Under-20 out-half Conor Fitzgerald top-scored with 14 points, including an intercept try just before half-time, with Fionn McGibney, Munster hooker Duncan Casey, Kelvin Brown and Eathon Moloney also crossing for Shannon.

The visitors laid the foundations for their third league victory in the first half, although Old Wesley were first to settle. Five minutes in, and after stealing an early lineout, lock Donnchadh Phelan popped up again four phases later to crash over for a converted try.

However, the Limerick side’s set piece strength was soon obvious. Fitzgerald turned a scrum penalty into three points and following another scrum penalty, Casey threw into a 12th-minute lineout and touched down from the ensuing maul, making it 8-7.

Wesley captain Darren Horan and JJ O’Dea won a couple of turnovers to break up Shannon’s momentum, however Tom Hayes’ charges put impressive width on the ball to take the hosts out to both wings before sweeping back out to the right where full-back McGibney made it over in the corner.

Fitzgerald converted his timely intercept try approaching the interval, giving his side a 20-7 advantage, but Wesley stayed in contention after O’Dea supplied turnover ball again and hooker David Rowley powered over to reduce the arrears to eight points.

Shannon were living a bit dangerously, Casey overthrowing in his 22 and Wesley were just a final pass away from putting together their third try. Fitzgerald missed a penalty after the hosts lost skipper Horan to the sin-bin, before his Shannon counterpart Lee Nicholas saw yellow for a similar high tackle.

The next score was crucial and it went Shannon’s way, Casey charging through on a 40-metre run which saw him stopped just short, and a couple of phases later, young flanker Brown gleefully went in under the posts to register the bonus point.

The forwards were keeping Wesley in the game, quick ball allowing centre James O’Donovan to score in the corner with five minutes remaining. Shannon made sure they had the last word, intercepting as Wesley attempted to break out of their 22 and replacement Moloney was fed for the fifth and final try.

– Photos by Stephen Devine/Wolfgang Visual and Deryck Vincent

OLD WESLEY: Tommy O’Callaghan; Eoghan O’Reilly, David Poff, James O’Donovan, Richie Jermyn; Josh Miller, Adam Kennedy; Ryan Healy, David Rowley, Cronan Gleeson, Donnchadh Phelan, JJ O’Dea, Darren Horan (capt), Josh Pim, Kieran Murphy.

Replacements: Conor Maguire, James Burton, Stephen Boyle, Matthew Bursey, Aaron Atkinson.

SHANNON: Fionn McGibney; Nathan Randles, Jack O’Donnell, Will Leonard, Stephen Fitzgerald; Conor Fitzgerald, Jack Stafford; Conor Glynn, Duncan Casey, Tony Cusack, Ronan Coffey, Luke Moylan, Charlie Carmody, Kelvin Brown, Lee Nicholas (capt).

Replacements: Adam Moloney, Ciaran Parker, Elliot Fitzgerald, Keith Kavanagh, Eathon Moloney.

BANBRIDGE 42 NAAS 35, Rifle Park
Scorers: Banbridge: Tries: Chris Allen, Jonny Little, Andrew Morrison, Tom Caesar, Josh Cromie; Cons: Ian Porter 4; Pens: Ian Porter 3
Naas: Tries: Graham Reynolds, Ross Bailey-Kearney 2, Penalty try, Paulie Tolofua; Cons: Peter Osborne 4, Pen try con

HT: Banbridge 26 Naas 14

Captain Ian Porter’s kicking haul of 17 points proved crucial in Banbridge’s absorbing 42-35 bonus point victory over Division 1B leaders Naas.

Bann knocked the Kildare men off the top of the table with a well-judged success at Rifle Park, the sides sharing ten tries in a terrific advertisement for rugby in the league’s second tier.

The home side held a 26-14 advantage at half-time, tallying up four tries to Naas’ two. Backs Tom Caesar and Jonny Little crossed early on for Bann, the latter taking a great line to crash over past two defenders.

Johne Murphy’s charges hit back twice through a Ross Bailey-Kearney effort and a penalty try to lead 14-12 in the 27th minute, before Bann opened up a sizable gap (26-14) after Porter converted tries from Andrew Morrison and Chris Allen.

Morrison’s solo score was the best of the lot, the 25-year-old centre cutting past Peter Howard initially and backing himself to make the line, which he did despite Ireland Sevens international Fionn Carr covering across.

Naas heaped the pressure back on Bann with well-taken tries from Graham Reynolds (45 minutes) and Bailey-Kearney (55), either side of a Porter penalty. Suddenly, it was a one-point game at 29-28 and all to play for again.

Daniel Soper’s side showed their mettle once more, the ever-alert Josh Cromie snapping up a converted try and Porter punishing Naas indiscipline with back-to-back penalties, giving the hosts a 14-point cushion.

That was halved to set up a frantic final few minutes, Naas’ powerful number 8 Paulie Tolofua breaking through to touch down with fit-again place-kicker Peter Osborne adding his fourth successful conversion.

However, Bann redoubled their efforts to see out the result and extend their unbeaten run in the division to three matches. Naas will be happy enough with their brace of points, though, having trailed by 12 and 14 points respectively in either half.

– Photos by Ariane Boudias Photography

BANBRIDGE: Adam Doherty; Tom Caesar, Andrew Morrison, Jonny Little, Andrew Kirkwood; Michael Lowry, Ian Porter (capt); Eric O’Sullivan, Peter Cromie, Michael Cromie, Chris Allen, Ryan Hughes, Caleb Montgomery, Nick Hayes, Stephen Irvine.

Replacements: Jonny Weir, Stuart Cromie, Tom O’Toole, Matthew Laird, Josh Cromie.

NAAS: Peter Osborne; Fionn Carr, Donal Droney, Ross Bailey-Kearney, Peter Howard; Michael Skelton, Max Whittingham; Stephen Lackey, Graham Reynolds, Jason Harney, Stephen Kinneavy, David Benn (capt), Andrew Kearney, Will O’Brien, Paulie Tolofua.

Replacements: Charlie Kings, Jordan Duggan, Philip Jordan, Johne Murphy, James Cherrington.

DOLPHIN 16 BALLYNAHINCH 33, Irish Independent Park
Scorers: Dolphin: Try: Kevin O’Leary; Con: Barry Keeshan; Pens: Barry Keeshan 3
Ballynahinch: Tries: Richard Reaney 2, Conor Kelly, David Busby; Cons: Johnny McPhillips 2; Pens: Johnny McPhillips 3

HT: Dolphin 9 Ballynahinch 13

It was another good day at the office for Ballynahinch who outscored Dolphin by four tries to one to pick up maximum points at Irish Independent Park yesterday.

21-point winners over Old Wesley last week, ‘Hinch hit the front in Cork with a couple of tries out wide from winger Richard Reaney (3 minutes) and full-back Conor Kelly (12).

The best facet of Dolphin’s game was their scrum, which included Munster prop Brian Scott. It set up some scoring opportunities for out-half Barry Keeshan who split the posts with penalties after 8, 19 and 39 minutes. Brian McLaughlin’s men led 13-9 at the interval, with Johnny McPhillips opening his account with a penalty on the quarter hour mark.

Dolphin could not take advantage of a sin-bin period which started just before half-time, and they themselves were down to 14 men when Reaney completed his brace in the 52nd minute following a quick tap.

A muscular driving maul, with backs also involved, saw Dolphin’s Kevin O’Leary respond with a seven-pointer at the tail-end of the third quarter, closing the gap to 20-16. Barely three minutes later, some nifty interplay and slick passing propelled the pacy Chris Busby through for ‘Hinch’s bonus point score, converted by McPhillips.

Dolphin were still in the hunt, knowing that a try would set up a grandstand finish. Nonetheless, McPhillips’ 75th-minute penalty put two converted scores between the sides and his last-minute goal ended Dolphin’s hopes of nabbing a late losing bonus point.

– Photos by Declan Forrest Rugby Photography

DOLPHIN: Olan Crowley; Alan O’Sullivan, Cian McGovern, Ian O’Donoghue, Will Hanly; Barry Keeshan, Daryl Foley; James Rochford (capt), Liam Walsh, Brian Scott, Rob O’Herlihy, Dave O’Mahony, Alex Denby, James Vaughan, Barry Fitzgerald.

Replacements: Darren Collins, John Leahy, Dave Byrne, Kevin O’Leary, Killian O’Keeffe.

BALLYNAHINCH: Conor Kelly; David Busby, Tom Rock, Callum McLaughlin, Richard Reaney; Johnny McPhillips, Aaron Cairns (capt); Campbell Classon, Claytan Milligan, Jonathan Blair, John Donnan, Conall Boomer, Aaron Hall, Ollie Loughead, Zac Ward.

Replacements: Stuart Orr, Conor Piper, Keith Dickson, Blane McIlroy, Ross Carlisle.

UCC 23 OLD BELVEDERE 24, the Mardyke
Scorers: UCC: Tries: Kevin Slater, Shane McAuliffe, Ryan Murphy; Con: James Taylor; Pens: James Taylor 2
Old Belvedere: Tries: Ed Rossiter, Max Ludwig; Con: Tim Foley; Pens: Tim Foley 4

HT: UCC 16 Old Belvedere 13

Max Ludwig’s 78th-minute try saw Old Belvedere overhaul UCC in a tight tussle to earn their first league win under new head coach Eddie O’Sullivan.

UCC were also searching for their maiden victory and got off to an encouraging start at the Mardyke, winger Kevin Slater touching down in the 12th minute and James Taylor adding a penalty.

It was nip-and-tuck as Belvedere replied with a 25th minute try from captain Ed Rossiter, who rumbled over from a close-in ruck after the visitors’ midfield had made ground via scrum half Ian Vance’s snappy passing.

Tim Foley converted his skipper’s score and landed two first half penalties, but it was the Cork students who led 16-13 at the turnaround. A purple patch between the 32nd and 36th minutes yielded eight more points, including a nicely-crafted try from full-back Shane McAuliffe.

Into the second half, the momentum continued to swing one way and then the other – another precise penalty from Foley was cancelled out by number 8 Ryan Murphy’s 49th-minute try for the Corkmen.

Frustratingly for the home support, UCC were held scoreless for the final half-an-hour. Their indiscipline continued to allow Foley to test his place-kicking radar, his 57th-minute effort setting up a tense finale at 23-19.

Just when it looked like UCC would hang on, ‘Belvo sprung Ludwig over for the match winner, ensuring that it was a happy bus journey home for O’Sullivan’s charges.

UCC: Shane McAuliffe; Kevin Slater, Cian Bohane, Murray Linn, Richard Walsh; James Taylor, John Poland; Shane O’Hanlon, Tadhg McCarthy, Peter McCabe, Cian Barry, Darragh Moloney, Ben Mitchell, Daire Feeney, Ryan Murphy.

Replacements: John Hodnett, James French, Cian Fitzgerald, James Kiernan, Alex Molloy.

OLD BELVEDERE: Daniel Riordan; Shane McDonald, David Butler, Tim Foley, Peter Maher; Pat Hughes, Ian Vance; Adam Howard, Ed Rossiter (capt), Declan Lavery, Connor Owende, Pierce Dargan, Diarmuid Kennedy, Tony McGuinness, Max Ludwig.

Replacements: Andrew McGrath, Omar Dahir, Eoin O’Neill, Ben Brooking, Tom Maloney.

UL BOHEMIANS 36 BALLYMENA 13, University of Limerick 4G pitch
Scorers: UL Bohemians: Tries: Darragh O’Grady, James Hart, Harry Fleming, Joe Bennett, Robbie Bourke; Cons: James Hart 4; Pen: James Hart
Ballymena: Try: Rodger McBurney; Con: Callum Patterson; Pens: Callum Patterson 2

HT: UL Bohemians 19 Ballymena 6

UL Bohemians recorded their first win of the Division 1B campaign with some panache, emerging as 36-13 winners over Ballymena on the University’s 4G pitch.

Munster scrum half James Hart made his Ulster Bank League debut for Bohs and did not disappoint, scoring a try, kicking 11 points and working well with Robbie Bourke at half-back.

Number 8 Darragh O’Grady had the hosts in front with a seventh-minute try, the gap widening to 19-6 by the end of a first half that fizzed along. Beaten at home by Dolphin last week, Ballymena looked a little subdued and could only register two penalties from centre Callum Patterson before the break.

Credit to Bohs, they sandwiched Patterson’s 38th-minute kick with two clinical attacks, Hart showing his pace to score out wide and centre Harry Fleming crossing in the final minute for Hart to convert.

Christy Neilan’s side stayed on the front foot, stringing together Bourke’s bonus point try and five more points from Hart’s reliable left boot in the third quarter. The gap was 30 points after hooker Joe Bennett piled over in the 71st minute.

On paper, this should have been a close contest but Bohs had done their homework and were efficient in both defence and attack, leaving the visitors well beaten. Ballymena did get into double figures late on, a now 14-man UL leaking a try to full-back Rodger McBurney.

UL BOHEMIANS: Joe Murray; Shane Scannell, Colin Ryan, Harry Fleming, Ogie Scannell; Robbie Bourke, James Hart; Padraig Nesbitt, Joe Bennett, Mike Lynch, Daragh Frawley (capt), Noel Kinnane, James Ryan, Darragh O’Grady, Brian Walsh.

Replacements: Mark Bromell, David O’Connor, Ed Kelly, Rob Hennessy, Mike Mullally.

BALLYMENA: Rodger McBurney; Angus Kernohan, Callum Patterson, Alan Smyth, Jonny Rosborough; Glenn Baillie, Michael Stronge; Nacho Cladera Crespo, Andrew Cundell, Chris Cundell, David Whann, Connor Smyth, Willie McKay, Matthew Agnew, Stephen Mulholland.

Replacements: Bryan Young, Ryan Mattison, Ben O’Ryan, Matthew Norris, Johnny McMullan.