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Ulster Bank League: Division 2A Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 2A Review

Nenagh Ormond’s superb 38-32 bonus point victory at City of Armagh was the standout result in Division 2A over the weekend, with the Tipperary side leading the chasing pack behind unbeaten Malone who have now gone five for five.



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Blackrock College 10 Malone 27, Stradbrook
Cashel 20 Greystones 18, Spafield
City of Armagh 32 Nenagh Ormond 38, Palace Grounds
Galwegians 18 Queen’s University 42, Crowley Park
Highfield 17 Corinthians 16, Woodleigh Park

Malone rattled off 24 unanswered points, making full use of a second half wind advantage to take home the spoils in a 27-10 win at Blackrock College. The visitors’ task grew tougher during an opening 40 minutes in which they lost Peter Cooper, David Irvine and David McMaster to injury.

With the lion’s share of possession and territory, a David Scott-Lennon penalty gave Blackrock a deserved lead, and although Mark O’Connor brought Malone level, the Dubliners’ running game continued to stretch the Malone defence on the Stradbrook pitch.

Indeed, it was the ‘Rock backs who capitalised on an enforced error in the 30th minute, spinning the ball wide for number 8 Job Langbroek to claim the game’s opening try, converted by Scott-Lennon. 10-3 is how it stayed up to half-time, but the Cregagh Red Sox exploded into life on the restart.

Right winger O’Connor intercepted to break up a Blackrock attack and race 50 metres to the try-line, adding the levelling conversion himself for 10-all. Despite ‘Rock’s attempts to respond, Malone stung them with two unconverted tries in the space of seven minutes, scored by returning winger Rory Campbell and captain and man-of-the-match Ross Todd.

Try as they might, Blackrock just could not break down Malone’s resolute defence, and it was left to Paddy Armstrong’s men to secure a late bonus point through Campbell, who benefited from some crisp passing and interchanges to score his fifth try in three matches.

Nenagh Ormond’s own flying winger David Gleeson took his season’s haul to six tries already with a vital brace against Armagh. In a match that will live long in the memory of those present at the Palace Grounds, the Tipperary men eked out a 38-32 bonus point success having trail 29-3 at one stage.

Armagh put together one of their best halves for some time, hitting the front after just two minutes thanks to centre Chris Colvin’s converted try. Clayton Stewart replied with a Nenagh penalty, but the home side had the bonus point in the bag by the 39th minute.

League debutant Chris Cousins went close to teeing up a try for Andrew Willis, before Armagh captain Ali Birch profited from a missed tackle to touch down in the 20th minute. Some enterprising play between backs and forwards led to centre John Faloon notching try number three.

A 30-metre penalty from out-half Cormac Fox, who had also landed the three conversions, kept the scoreboard ticking over, and Armagh looked destined for a five-point return when prop Daryl Morton crashed over for the bonus point score, closing in on half-time.

However, Nenagh lifted their spirits with a late try against the run of play, centre Willie Coffey scooping up a loose ball and managing to evade three chasing defenders on a 50-metre run to the line. Stewart’s conversion reduced the arrears to 29-10, but Armagh still looked comfortable.

That changed in the early stages of the second period as Nenagh roared back into contention. The in-form Gleeson got on the scoresheet with a 42nd minute try, converted by Stewart, and their powerful pack turned a five-metre scrum into a penalty try as Armagh’s lead was whittled down to 29-24.

The visitors’ tails were up with their play-maker-in-chief Stewart covering 50 metres on a brilliant run, at the end of which Armagh’s Robbie Faloon was sin-binned for killing the ball. Nenagh edged ahead in the 55th minute thanks to a well-taken Jamie McGarry try.

Armagh looked to Fox to dig them out of trouble and he was successful with the second of three penalty attempts between 60 and 70 minutes – this one from 30 metres out – to move them back in front at 32-31. They should have added a try soon after, but a forward was isolated close to the Nenagh line and the Munstermen won a relieving penalty.

This 70-point thriller had one final twist as, with just a minute left to play, Nenagh snapped up turnover ball and moved it wide for the waiting Gleeson to cross in the corner and floor the hosts. Stewart’s tremendous touchline conversion was the final scoring act of a real game of two halves.

Meanwhile, Cashel gained their third victory in four league matches but had to endure a nail-biting finish against Greystones before prevailing 20-18. Denis Leamy’s men did all of their scoring in the first half at Spafield, with Darragh Lyons nabbing a try and kicking 10 points and Michael Casey also crossing the whitewash.

‘Stones’ second trip of the season to Co. Tipperary looked like being a forgettable one until an Andrew Kealy penalty and a well-timed intercept try from Andy Roberts launched their comeback bid. Kealy split the posts with a 65th minute penalty and although Jack Keating crossed in the corner in the final minute to give the visitors a shot at a draw, Kealy’s conversion attempt shaved the post and went wide.

Queen’s University ran in six converted tries to put Galwegians to the sword at Crowley Park. The hosts led 11-7 at half-time with Rory Dempsey grounding their try and Morgan Codyre kicking two penalties, however the Belfast students served up a sizzling second half performance to emerge as comprehensive 42-18 winners.

Replacement Paddy O’Toole’s injury-time drop goal drove Highfield to a hard-fought 17-16 victory over Corinthians. Full-back Colm de Buitlear’s seventh-minute try had put the visitors on course for a 13-0 half-time lead. They added another three-pointer before Highfield stormed back with tries from Chris Bannon and Colm Gallagher, both converted by O’Toole whose trusty right boot ultimately had the final say.