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Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Review

Banbridge extended their unbeaten run in Division 1B and moved up to second in the table thanks to a deserved 20-10 derby win over Ballynahinch at Rifle Park on Saturday.



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Scorers: Banbridge: Tries: Andrew Morrison, Conor Field; Cons: Ian Porter 2; Pens: Ian Porter 2
Ballynahinch: Try: Johnny McPhillips; Con: Johnny McPhillips; Pen: Johnny McPhillips

HT: Banbridge 10 Ballynahinch 0

Banbridge claimed the County Down bragging rights with tries in each half from backs Andrew Morrison and Conor Field and 10 points from ace place-kicker Ian Porter, who captained the hosts in their first All-Ireland League meeting with Ballynahinch since 2007.

The majority of the large and vocal crowd were happy with the 10-0 half-time scoreline in Bann’s favour. Ballynahinch felt referee Kieran Barry was harsh to sin bin prop Jonny Simpson, and Morrison’s try followed soon after, the influential centre breaking a tackle from Rory Butler to charge over following a blindside break initiated by Porter.

Strong carries from young forward Conall Boomer and Campbell Classon gave ‘Hinch some encouragement, although busy winger David Busby was quickly closed down off limited ball. A well-struck penalty from Bann skipper Porter moved them into double figures in the 25th minute, with ‘Hinch losing scrum half Blane McIlroy to the sin-bin just before the break.

The long-striding Morrison showed his class again with a defence-splitting run five minutes after the restart, and winger Field was up in support take the scoring pass and cross the whitewash from the right wing. Porter converted but Ulster Academy star Johnny McPhillips pulled it back to a 10-point deficit with a cracking converted try under the posts.

Defences were on top for the remainder with a McPhillips penalty getting Brian McLaughlin’s charges into losing bonus point range, but Porter cancelled out that kick with just a minute to go as Bann, who have swapped places with their local rivals in the standings, emerged as double-score winners.

– Photos by Robin McGloughlin Photography

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

Replacements: Jonny Weir, Stuart Cromie, Tom O’Toole, Ryan Hughes, Ben Carson.

BALLYNAHINCH: Conor Kelly; Rory Butler, Callum McLaughlin, Stuart Morrow, David Busby; Johnny McPhillips, Blane McIlroy; Campbell Classon, Zack McCall, Jonny Simpson, Jack Regan, John Donnan (capt), Keith Dickson, Ollie Loughead, Conall Boomer.

Replacements: Claytan Milligan, Jonathan Blair, Gareth Gill, Rhys O’Donnell, Tom Rock.

DOLPHIN 10 OLD BELVEDERE 38, Irish Independent Park
Scorers: Dolphin: Try: Caolan O’Flynn; Con: Barry Keeshan; Pen: Barry Keeshan
Old Belvedere: Tries: Shane McDonald 3, Chris Carey; Cons: Tim Foley 2, Pat Hughes; Pens: Tim Foley 4

HT: Dolphin 3 Old Belvedere 16

Winger Shane McDonald weighed in with a hat-trick of tries in Old Belvedere’s eye-catching 38-10 success at Dolphin. Having scored only three tries in the opening four rounds, ‘Belvo turned in their best attacking display yet under Eddie O’Sullivan.

Replacement Chris Carey’s injury-time try, which registered the bonus point, was the ideal finish as O’Sullivan’s men climbed into the top four. They are now unbeaten in three league games and beginning to find form heading into the winter.

They laid down solid foundations in the first half at Irish Independent Park, their goal-kicking centre Tim Foley kicking three penalties and converting McDonald’s opening try to give ‘Belvo a 16-3 interval lead. Assistant coach Barry Keeshan, who returned at out-half, landed a lone penalty for the Corkmen.

Belvedere’s athletic lock Connor Owende threw himself about, impressing in both defence and attack with captain Ed Rossiter also having a fine game in the set piece and the loose. Foley punished further Dolphin indiscipline with his fourth successful penalty and he ended the day with 16 points.

Accurate passing across the back-line and McDonald’s elusive running earned the right winger two more tries, leaving Dolphin 31-3 in arrears. A well-worked lineout maul saw hooker Caolan O’Flynn plunge over for a consolation try, but the Dubliners took home the full five points thanks to a neatly-finished first league try from Carey, the former St. Michael’s College utility back.

It was a memorable day for Old Belvedere’s current President James McCarthy, the son of former Dolphin, Ireland and Lions flanker Jim McCarthy – one of the 1948 Grand Slam heroes who passed away over two years ago. James presented the McCarthy O’Reilly Cup, which is contested between the two clubs, to victorious ‘Belvo skipper Ed Rossiter afterwards.

– Photos by Declan Forrest Photography

DOLPHIN: Olan Crowley; Colin Sisk, Cian McGovern, Peter Hyde, Will Hanly; Barry Keeshan (capt), Daryl Foley; Liam Walsh, Caolan O’Flynn, Darren Collins, Rob O’Herlihy, Dave O’Mahony, Barry Fitzgerald, Kevin Allen, James Vaughan.

Replacements: Anthony Mason, John Leahy, Dave Byrne, Kevin O’Leary, Alex Denby, Sam Kennedy, Alan O’Sullivan.

OLD BELVEDERE: Daniel Riordan; Shane McDonald, David Butler, Tim Foley, Tom Moloney; Pat Hughes, Aaron Sheehan; Adam Howard, Ed Rossiter (capt), Declan Lavery, Connor Owende, Jack Kelly, Diarmuid Kennedy, Pierce Dargan, Dave Sherry.

Replacements: Andrew McGrath, Omar Dahir, Eoin O’Neill, Kyle McCarthy, Chris Carey.

NAAS 13 BALLYMENA 19, Forenaughts
Scorers: Naas: Try: Paulie Tolofua; Con: Peter Osborne; Pens: Peter Osborne 2
Ballymena: Try: Rodger McBurney; Con: Brett Herron; Pens: Brett Herron 4

HT: Naas 10 Ballymena 13

Ballymena ended their three-match losing streak in Division 1B with a Brett Herron-inspired 19-13 triumph at Naas. The Ulster out-half landed two second half penalties to steer the Braidmen home in a tight contest.

Man-of-the-match Herron finished with a vital 14-point haul, which included four penalty goals and the conversion of a second quarter try from Ireland Club international Rodger McBurney, whose strong runs from full-back caused plenty of problems for the Kildare side.

There was little to chose between the teams during the first half, two Herron strikes giving the visitors a 6-3 lead with full-back Peter Osborne opening Naas’ account. Three points was still the margin at the turnaround as McBurney and the hosts’ powerful number 8 Paulie Tolofua swapped converted tries.

As Naas’ penalty count rose, Herron converted another couple of opportunities from the tee to extend the lead to nine points. Johne Murphy’s charges were staring at their third defeat on the trot, and they just could not break down a reinforced Ballymena defence in which brothers Marcus and Matthew Rea played leading roles.

Naas did at least take something from the match with Osborne splitting the posts for a final time to earn them a losing bonus point. They have fallen two places to sixth in the table – one place above Ballymena who will be targeting further gains with back-to-back home fixtures with UCC and Ballynahinch in the next fortnight.

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

Replacements: Graham Reynolds, Stephen Lackey, Paul Monahan, Henry Bryce, Michael Skelton.

BALLYMENA: Rodger McBurney; Dean Reynolds, Angus Kernohan, Glenn Baillie, Jonny Rosborough; Brett Herron, David O’Hara; Nacho Cladera Crespo, James Taggart, Chris Cundell, David Whann, Matthew Rea, Marcus Rea, Clive Ross, Stephen Mulholland.

Replacements: Andrew Ferguson, Bryan Young, Connor Smyth, Matthew Agnew, Matthew Norris.

UCC 31 OLD WESLEY 27, the Mardyke
Scorers: UCC: Tries: Murray Linn, Richard Walsh, Kevin Slater; Cons: James Taylor 2; Pens: James Taylor 4
Old Wesley: Tries: Jack Maybury, Tommy O’Callaghan; Con: Jack Maybury; Pens: Jack Maybury 5

HT: UCC 15 Old Wesley 15

Backs Murray Linn, Richard Walsh and Kevin Slater all crossed for tries in UCC’s high-scoring and entertaining clash with Old Wesley, the Cork students prevailing 31-27 at the Mardyke to make it two league wins in-a-row.

Brian Walsh’s youngsters bounced back from a heavy Munster Senior Cup defeat to Cork Constitution with their top-scoring out-half James Taylor chipping in with another 16 points from place-kicks. His season’s haul now stands at 54 points after five rounds.

A kick out on the full from Old Wesley led to UCC building through several phases, putting good width on the ball before a gap opened up for centre Linn to cross for a fifth-minute opener, converted by Taylor. Full-back Jack Maybury then got the visitors off the mark by turning a scrum penalty into three points.

The 21-year-old Maybury, who is in his second season in the Wesley senior squad, looks an assured kicker and he was excellent throughout for Morgan Lennon’s men, finishing with a 22-point tally. His second penalty success came after Tommy O’Callaghan’s probing kick had led to Walsh being pinged for not releasing.

However, UCC continue to look the more potent side with ball in hand. Former Munster centre Cian Bohane made an incision off a lineout ball and he fed Walsh to run in a 21st-minute unconverted try. Despite that, Wesley had the better of the exchanges leading up to half-time, with UCC losing their number 8 and captain Ryan Murphy to the sin-bin.

Maybury knocked over three penalties in the space of seven profitable minutes, with Taylor nailing one kick at the other end. That left the sides tied at the turnaround – 15-15 – before Taylor was successful with two of his three penalty efforts in the third quarter, giving UCC a six-point buffer.

It was end-to-end stuff with Wesley penalised for sealing off again and Taylor registering another three-pointer. The visitors’ hard-working hooker Conor Maguire was just held up on a muscular drive towards the line, but from the resulting 75th-minute scrum, they attacked the blindside and Eoghan O’Reilly’s timely pass sent Maybury over to cut the gap to 24-20.

But Bohane’s value to UCC this season was summed up when he broke the line once more and released the supporting Slater to score in the corner, with Taylor’s well-struck 79th-minute conversion pushing the margin out to 11 points. Wesley snapped back to earn a losing bonus point thanks to a JJ O’Dea turnover and a rapid run-in by winger O’Callaghan from halfway.

UCC: Richard Walsh; Kevin Slater, Cian Bohane, Murray Linn, James Kiernan; James Taylor, John Poland; Shane O’Hanlon, Tadhg McCarthy, Rob O’Donovan, Cian Barry, Darragh Moloney, Ben Mitchell, Daire Feeney, Ryan Murphy (capt).

Replacements: John Hodnett, Charlie Slowey, Jack O’Sullivan, Alex Molloy, Daniel Horgan.

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

Replacements: Craig Telford, Ryan Healy, Mark Robinson, Rory Stynes, Richie Jermyn.

UL BOHEMIANS 22 SHANNON 27, Thomond Park (played on Friday)
Scorers: UL Bohemians: Tries: Joe Bennett, Mike Mullally, James Ryan; Cons: Robbie Bourke 2; Pen: Robbie Bourke
Shannon: Tries: Nathan Randles, Conor Fitzgerald; Con: Conor Fitzgerald; Pens: Conor Fitzgerald 5

HT: UL Bohemians 10 Shannon 27
Munster Academy talent Conor Fitzgerald scored a try and kicked 17 points as unbeaten Division 1B leaders Shannon won Friday night’s fiercely-contested Limerick derby against UL Bohemians.
Tom Hayes’ table toppers did all of their scoring in a dynamic first half display, winger Nathan Randles touching down in the sixth minute and out-half Fitzgerald, who combined with his brother Stephen for his try, knocking over five penalties for a 27-10 half-time lead.
UL staged a fiery second half fight-back with full-back Mike Mullally (53 minutes) and in-form flanker James Ryan (58) both crossing the whitewash, with the latter claiming his third try of the campaign. However, Shannon hung on to take the spoils and stay clear of Banbridge and Ballynahinch at the summit.
Although UL hit the front thanks to Robbie Bourke’s third-minute penalty, it was Shannon who were first over the whitewash, playing a penalty advantage for a collapsed maul and shifting the ball with accuracy and pace across for Randles to score in the corner. Five minutes later, Conor Fitzgerald left-footed a penalty through the uprights following a high tackle on his brother, full-back Stephen.
Bohs eked out a couple of penalties and forced a knock-on as they pressed in the Shannon 22. The pressure paid off following good ball retention in the 16th minute as hooker Joe Bennett barged his way over for a converted try, moving the hosts back in front at 10-8.
For the remainder of the first half, Fitzgerald’s increasingly accurate boot took over with the league leaders scoring 19 points without reply. A neat back-line move from inside the Shannon half sprung Fitzgerald forward and he combined with his older sibling before finishing off a terrific seven-pointer.
UL’s penalty count stood at a frustrating ten by half-time as Shannon continued to exert pressure and set up place-kicks for Fitzgerald, who delivered 12 more points with well-struck efforts after 24, 28, 37 and 40 minutes. He also regularly threatened in open play along with his brother and winger Eathon Moloney.
Despite losing captain Ian Condell to the sin-bin in another setback, Christy Neilan’s half-time words worked a treat as Bohs bounced back with improved defence and discipline and then a galvanising try from Mullally who showed good strength to scramble over from close range with Bourke’s conversion shaving the deficit to 10 points.
When an overlap saw Ryan dot down against his former club, the momentum was really behind UL who were now back to within a converted score. It did set up a fascinating final quarter but Shannon succeeded in holding onto their lead, with Bourke and Fitzgerald both missing late penalty attempts.
UL BOHEMIANS: Mike Mullally; Jamie McNamara, Adrian Enright, Harry Fleming, Shane Scannell; Robbie Bourke, Rob Hennessy; Joey Conway, Joe Bennett, Mike Lynch, Daragh Frawley, Darragh O’Grady, James Ryan, Ian Condell (capt), Brian Walsh.
Replacements: David Rowsome, Padraig Nesbitt, Ed Kelly, Noel Kinnane, Matt McDonald.
SHANNON: Stephen Fitzgerald; Nathan Randles, Jack O’Donnell, Will Leonard, Eathon Moloney; Conor Fitzgerald, Jack Stafford; Conor Glynn, Duncan Casey, Tony Cusack, Ronan Coffey, Luke Moylan, Charlie Carmody, Kelvin Brown, Lee Nicholas (capt).
Replacements: Ty Chan, Ciaran Parker, Jade Kriel, Keith Kavanagh, Fionn McGibney.