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Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Review

Banbridge and UCC both won away from home in an action-packed fourth round, while Old Wesley ended their three-match losing streak by drawing with Old Belvedere in Friday’s Dublin 4 derby.



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Scorers: Ballynahinch: Tries: Aaron Cairns, Conor Kelly, Conor Piper, Blane McIlroy; Cons: Johnny McPhillips 4; Pens: Johnny McPhillips 2
UL Bohemians: Tries: Joe Murray, James Ryan; Cons: James Hart 2; Pen: James Hart

HT: Ballynahinch 17 UL Bohemians 10

Ballynahinch outscored UL Bohemians by four tries to two on the way to a 34-17 bonus point win at their Ballymacarn Park base.

Out-half Johnny McPhillips kicked 14 points to supplement tries from captain Aaron Cairns, full-back Conor Kelly and replacements Conor Piper and Blane McIlroy.

Munster scrum half James Hart started and finished the first half’s scoring for UL, landing an initial penalty and converting full-back Joe Murray’s late try from a cross-field kick.

In between, ‘Hinch’s Ulster Academy talent got to work, scrum half Cairns touching down in the 20th minute, McPhillips tagging on a penalty for 10-3 and then David Busby’s snappy break and offload played in Kelly for try number two.

It was a double-scores lead – 20-10 – when McPhillips threaded a penalty through the posts in the 43rd minute, however the scoring dried up until a frenetic closing spell at the County Down venue.

Piper was the man in possession when a 73rd-minute lineout maul made it over the UL line, and McIlroy chalked up the bonus point two minutes later with a smashing score as ‘Hinch saved their best for last.

Those defensive lapses at crucial junctures really cost the visitors, who gained some late consolation in the form of a second try of the season from James Ryan, who put in another big shift at blindside flanker.

BALLYNAHINCH: Conor Kelly; Richard Reaney, Callum McLaughlin, Stuart Morrow, David Busby; Johnny McPhillips, Aaron Cairns (capt); Campbell Classon, Claytan Milligan, Jonny Simpson, John Donnan, Jack Regan, Aaron Hall, Ollie Loughead, Conall Boomer.

Replacements: Conor Piper, Jonathan Blair, Zac Ward, Blane McIlroy, Tom Rock.

UL BOHEMIANS: Joe Murray; Shane Scannell, Colin Ryan, Harry Fleming, Ogie Scannell; Robbie Bourke, James Hart; Padraig Nesbitt, Joe Bennett, Mike Lynch, Ed Kelly, Noel Kinnane, James Ryan, Ian Condell (capt), Brian Walsh.

Replacements: David O’Connor, Mark Bromell, Darragh O’Grady, Rob Hennessy, Mike Mullally.

NAAS 5 UCC 13, Forenaughts
Scorers: Naas: Try: Stephen Kinneavy
UCC: Try: John Hodnett; Con: James Taylor; Pens: James Taylor 2

HT: Naas 5 UCC 7

James Taylor was the toast of UCC after his brace of second half penalties steered the students past Naas on a 13-5 scoreline at Forenaughts.

Brian Walsh’s young charges put a three-match winless run behind them to break their duck in Division 1B for this season, rising to sixth place in the process. They were the better team over the course of the 80 minutes.

UCC were made to sweat early on as Johne Murphy’s Naas, disappointed to lose a high-scoring clash with Banbridge last Saturday afternoon, got off to a business-like start on home soil.

Lock Stephen Kinneavy’s 10th-minute try, with out-half Murphy beating two defenders in the build-up, was the game’s only score until UCC nipped ahead just three minutes before half-time. Pressure from the pack, who were held up at a maul, yielded a try for flanker John Hodnett, who took the scoring pass after Ryan Murphy had attacked off the base of a five-metre scrum. Taylor added the extras for a 7-5 scoreline.

The Cork side’s loose forward trio of Hodnett, Daire Feeney and number 8 Murphy worked their collective socks off, particularly in defence where they were able to shut down Naas and they used the solid foundations of their scrum and lineout as attacking platforms.

Murphy’s men were outplayed and either missing the final pass or taking the wrong option, with UCC’s confidence growing as the second half wore on. The visitors could have been further in front by the finish, winger Shane McAuliffe nearly scoring in the corner before Taylor was wide with a drop goal attempt.

In the end, Taylor emerged as the match winner thanks to two surefooted kicks after 49 and 79 minutes, which moved them more than a converted score ahead and Naas, who have fallen two places to fourth, were unable to respond.

– Photos by Yazz Coyle Photography

NAAS: Peter Osborne; Fionn Higgins, Fionn Carr, Ross Bailey-Kearney, Peter Howard; Johne Murphy, Max Whittingham; Jordan Duggan, Graham Reynolds, Jason Harney, David Benn (capt), Stephen Kinneavy, Andrew Kearney, Will O’Brien, Paulie Tolofua.

Replacements: Cathal Duff, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Shane Reilly, Michael Skelton, Philip Jordan.

UCC: Alex Molloy; Kevin Slater, Cian Bohane, Murray Linn, Shane McAuliffe; James Taylor, John Poland; Shane O’Hanlon, Tadhg McCarthy, Rob O’Donovan, Cian Barry, Ben Mitchell, John Hodnett, Daire Feeney, Ryan Murphy.

Replacements: James French, Brian O’Mahony, Cian Fitzgerald, James Kiernan, Richard Walsh.

SHANNON 52 DOLPHIN 0, Thomond Park back pitch
Scorers: Shannon: Tries: Jack Stafford, Conor Fitzgerald, Eathon Moloney 2, Jack O’Donnell, Ciaran Parker, Keith Kavanagh, Darren Gavin; Cons: Conor Fitzgerald 4, Jack Stafford 2
Dolphin: –

HT: Shannon 21 Dolphin 0

Recent Munster signing Ciaran Parker was among the try scorers as Division 1B leaders Shannon hammered Dolphin 52-0 on Thomond Park’s back pitch.

Tom Hayes’ frontrunners amassed 52 points during the closing hour of this game, the early scoreless spell ended by winger Eathon Moloney’s 21st-minute try when he profited from quick hands.

With Dolphin missing the presence of Barry Keeshan and coughing up scrum penalties, Shannon were able to add two more converted to lead 21-0 at the interval.

Using turnover ball in the 33rd minute, Kerry native Sean McCarthy, who played for Munster last week, delighted the Shannon faithful by putting boot to ball and setting up a score for Conor Fitzgerald.

The latter’s half-back partner Jack Stafford then nipped through a gap to dot down on the 40-minute mark, with replacement prop Parker making good ground in the build-up.

A Jack O’Donnell intercept try bagged the bonus point for the hosts, three minutes after the restart, and luck was not on Dolphin’s side when the ball went dead from Will Hanly’s kick through.

Dolphin were getting through a good amount of possession but had nothing to show for it. They fell further behind in the 56th minute when Parker crossed on the end of a lineout maul.

Turnovers were killing the Corkmen, allowing Shannon’s Duncan Casey to connect with McCarthy at the front of a lineout and set the wheels in motion for Darren Gavin’s 62nd-minute try.

A forward pass denied Gavin his second try before fellow replacement Keith Kavanagh touched down in the 75th minute, following another turnover and penalty that went Shannon’s way.

The home side managed to go through the half-century mark before the final whistle. Keeping the pressure up with a Kavanagh charge-down, they forced a five-metre scrum and accurate passing across the back-line saw Moloney complete his brace.

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

Replacements: Ty Chan, Ciaran Parker, Luke Moylan, Keith Kavanagh, Darren Gavin.

DOLPHIN: Olan Crowley; Colin Sisk, Jimmy Ahern, Ian O’Donoghue, Will Hanly; Peter Hyde, Daryl Foley; James Rochford (capt), Liam Walsh, Brian Scott, Alex Denby, Dave O’Mahony, James Vaughan, Kevin Allen, Barry Fitzgerald.

Replacements: Darren Collins, Anthony Mason, Dave Byrne, Kevin O’Leary, Rob O’Herlihy, Killian O’Keeffe, Akim Farag.

BALLYMENA 17 BANBRIDGE 23, Eaton Park (played on Friday)
Scorers: Ballymena: Tries: Brett Herron, Penalty try; Cons: Brett Herron, Penalty try con; Pen: Brett Herron
Banbridge: Tries: Chris Allen, Ian Porter; Cons: Ian Porter 2; Pens: Ian Porter 3

HT: Ballymena 10 Banbridge 7

Ian Porter showed his class once again as he masterminded Banbridge’s 23-17 derby victory over Ulster rivals Ballymena on Friday night.

Unbeaten Bann came away from Eaton Park with four hard-earned points after scrum half and captain Porter swung the game back in their favour during the closing stages.

It was a current Ulster squad member who drove Ballymena into a 10-0 lead closing in on half-time. Adding to an earlier penalty, out-half Brett Herron chipped over the defence to score a well-taken 38th-minute try which he converted himself.

However, the Braidmen, who were chasing their first win in three league games, coughed up possession from the restart and Bann bit back, Porter’s reverse pass putting lock Chris Allen over for his second try in the space of a week.

Porter came into round 4 as the division’s top scorer (38 points) and he showed his ability off with the tee with two well-struck penalties after 44 and 51 minutes. A 10-7 half-time deficit has turned into a 13-10 lead.

This fiercely-contested floodlit encounter ebbed and flowed again, a bout of forward pressure resulting in a penalty try on the hour mark. A Porter penalty clawed back three points before the 29-year-old combined with hooker Peter Cromie to score what proved to be the decisive try, seven minutes from time.

As ‘Star of the County Down’ rung out in their dressing room afterwards, Daniel Soper’s squad congratulated each other on their third Division 1B and a job well done. The promoted side have acclimatised quickly to the second tier of All-Ireland League rugby, but know that tougher tests await.

– Photos by Darrell O’Kane Photography

BALLYMENA: Rodger McBurney; Angus Kernohan, Callum Patterson, Glenn Baillie, Matthew Norris; Brett Herron, David Shanahan; Nacho Cladera Crespo, Adam McBurney, Chris Cundell, David Whann, Connor Smyth, Clive Ross, Matthew Agnew, Stephen Mulholland.

Replacements: Ross Kane, James Taggart, Joe Thompson, Michael Stronge, Alan Smyth.

BANBRIDGE: Adam Doherty; Conor Field, Andrew Morrison, Jonny Little, Robert Lyttle; Michael lowry, Ian Porter (capt); Eric O’Sullivan, Peter Cromie, Michael Cromie, Chris Allen, Ryan Hughes, Robin Sinton, Nick Hayes, Stephen Irvine.

Replacements: Tim Savage, Stuart Cromie, Richard Graham, Josh Cromie, Ben Carson.

OLD BELVEDERE 15 OLD WESLEY 15, Anglesea Road (played on Friday)
Scorers: Old Belvedere: Pens: Tim Foley 5
Old Wesley: Tries: Darren Horan, Tommy O’Callaghan; Con: Jack Maybury; Pen: Jack Maybury

HT: Old Belvedere 6 Old Wesley 10

Winger Tommy O’Callaghan’s 79th-minute try earned Old Wesley a 15-all draw with neighbours Old Belvedere at Anglesea Road on Friday night.

O’Callaghan scored out wide in response to Tim Foley’s fifth penalty of the night for Eddie O’Sullivan’s ‘Belvo, who were within touching distance of their second successive win.

Wesley full-back Jack Maybury failed with the difficult conversion, but their two-try display under the floodlights was enough to end their three-match losing streak.

An eighth-minute penalty from Foley, who split the posts from just outside the 22, edged the hosts ahead, with a similar effort doubling their lead ten minutes later.

Maybury’s superbly-struck penalty from 40-plus metres got Wesley up and running, and a sustained period of pressure ended with captain Darren Horan finding a gap to squeeze over to the right of the posts for the game’s opening try.

After a retaken conversion, Maybury added the extras for a 10-6 interval lead for Morgan Lennon’s men. Again, though, it was Belvedere who got off to the stronger start on the resumption.

Foley punished a scrum infringement with three more points, and with Daniel Riordan increasing his influence, a collapsed maul allowed Foley to kick ‘Belvo back in front at 12-10.

The game appeared to be slipping away from Wesley when an attempted intercept did not come off and their out-half Tim Clifford was sin-binned. The ever-accurate Foley mopped up with the three points, but it was the 14-man visitors who had the final say.

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

Replacements: Andrew McGrath, Adam Howard, Eoin O’Neill, Ben Brooking, Tom Moloney.

OLD WESLEY: Jack Maybury; Eoghan O’Reilly, James O’Donovan, Cillian Monahan, Tommy O’Callaghan; Tim Clifford, Aaron Atkinson; Cronan Gleeson, David Rowley, James Burton, Donnchadh Phelan, JJ O’Dea, Darren Horan (capt), Stephen Boyle, Kieran Murphy.

Replacements: Conor Maguire, David Henshaw, Josh Pim, Conor Barry, Adam Kennedy.