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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Last season’s Division 1A finalists, Cork Constitution and Clontarf, have vaulted back into the top four thanks to bonus point victories on Saturday, while Young Munster stunned St. Mary’s College with a 51-point salvo in their runaway win at Greenfields.



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Scorers: Terenure College: Tries: Robbie Smyth, Kevin O’Neill, Jake Swaine, Adam Clarkin; Cons: Jake Swaine 2; Pen: Jake Swaine
Buccaneers: Tries: Rory O’Connor, Callum Boland; Con: Luke Carty; Pens: Jack Carty 3

HT: Terenure College 5 Buccaneers 15

Terenure College bounced back from last week’s defeat at Clontarf to see off the challenge of 14-man Buccaneers, emerging as 27-21 bonus point winners of Saturday’s Division 1A tie at Lakelands Park.

With Jack Carty’s younger brother Luke leading the charge, bottom side Buccs built a 15-5 half-time lead in pursuit of their first win of the league season. However, a Kevin O’Neill try kicked Terenure back into gear and they were able to claim their fifth victory of the campaign.

The Pirates broke the deadlock after kicking a penalty to touch in the seventh minute. A powerful surge from the pack almost produced a try but when the ball was spread out towards the right corner, out-half Carty was there to score in clinical fashion. He missed the conversion before ‘Nure increased their attacking threat as the first half developed.

Former Leinster Academy star Sam Coghlan Murray was stopped short at the end of a promising 24th minute move by the hosts. Nonetheless, with the ball worked into a more central position, hooker and captain Robbie Smyth was in the right place to drive over and make it five points apiece.

Darin Claasen’s Buccs side had other ideas and a late rally before the interval produced 10 points. A sweeping move across the back-line ended with winger Rory O’Connor sprinting over for a try which was converted by Carty, and the Connacht Eagles number 10 also landed an expertly-struck penalty for a 15-5 advantage.

What has been hugely frustrating for the reigning Division 1B champions this season is their second half performances. They have fallen away in games and had wretched luck at times. Terenure resumed in better fettle, with replacement Conor Weakliam adding considerable spark to the back-three.

After several phases inside the Buccs 22, it was ‘Nure scrum half O’Neill who squeezed over for a much-needed try, converted by Jake Swaine. Into the final quarter, O’Neill’s half-back partner James Thornton was heavily involved in the build-up to another incisive passage of play which saw lively winger Swaine touch down out on the right.

Swaine’s touchline conversion dropped short at 17-15, but when Buccs replacement Eoghan Maher was given a straight red card 13 minutes from the end, Terenure sensed that there was an opportunity for them to push on. Their bonus point try arrived just moments later through Maher’s opposite number, Adam Clarkin (pictured below), and a terrific Swaine kick stretched the lead to nine points.

It was a shootout between Carty and Swaine for the remainder as Buccs fought hard to take home a losing bonus point. Carty initially knocked over a 77th minute penalty, Swaine cancelled that out with his third successful strike of the day for 27-18, but Carty fired over a last-minute penalty into a tricky breeze to make sure his side did not come away empty-handed.

TERENURE COLLEGE: James O’Donoghue; Jake Swaine, Marc Hiney, Ted O’Donoghue, Sam Coghlan Murray; James Thornton, Kevin O’Neill; Cian Madden, Robbie Smyth (capt), Schalk Jooste, Michael Melia, Alex Thompson, Kyle McCoy, Paddy Thornton, Eoin Joyce.

Replacements: Adam Clarkin, Giorgi Turbalaze, Cathal Deans, Conor Weakliam, Mark O’Neill.

BUCCANEERS: Alan Gaughan; Callum Boland, Shane Layden (capt), Alex Hayman, Rory O’Connor; Luke Carty, Frankie Hopkins; Martin Staunton, John Sutton, Conan O’Donnell, Ruairi Byrne, Peter Claffey, Ronan Farrell, Evan Galvin, Simon Meagher.

Replacements: Eoghan Maher, Niall Farrelly, Rossa Dooley, James Mitchell, Darragh Corbett.

Scorers: Young Munster: Tries: Rob Guerin, Gavin Coombes 2, Penalty try, Daniel Hurley, Tom McHale, Tom Ryan; Cons: Shane Airey 2, Alan Tynan 2, Penalty try con; Pens: Shane Airey 2
St. Mary’s College: Try: Jack Dilger; Con: Conor Dean

HT: Young Munster 27 St. Mary’s College 7

Young Munster secured the result of the day in Division 1A with a 51-7 bonus point thrashing of St. Mary’s College at Tom Clifford Park. Munster Academy back rower Gavin Coombes scored two of the Cookies’ seven tries in a landslide result.

The Greenfields venue has recently not been the traditional fortress that it is known as, with UCD and Dublin University both winning there in earlier rounds, but Gearoid Prendergast’s men lay down a marker on Saturday afternoon with a barnstorming performance against their third Dublin visitors of the season.

Scrum half Rob Guerin’s superb first-minute try fired the wind-backed hosts ahead, with the Young Munster forwards continuing to run the ball as they did to telling effect at Cork Constitution last week. Although Jack Dilger replied for Mary’s in the fourth minute following some sustained pressure and good recycling, the Cookies’ lead stood at 27-7 by the interval.

Shane Airey, who impressed again at out-half, kicked them back in front from a scrum penalty before west Cork youngster Coombes crossed for the first of his two tries. The 19-year-old was part of an athletic and dominant back row which included Diarmaid Dee and Dan Walsh, and not even Leinster’s Caelan Doris – who made a positive impact as a replacement – could knock them off their stride. The pre-match injury-enforced loss of David O’Connor was keenly felt up front by Mary’s.

Airey added his second penalty goal and, with their tails up and lock Mike Madden getting through a huge amount of work at the coal face, the Munsters pack forced a penalty try via some strong scrummaging to open up a 20-point gap between the sides for half-time.

It was effectively one-way traffic in the second half as Mary’s appeared to lack their usual intensity and some weak tackling let them down. They struggled at scrum time and in the loose, albeit that captain Ciaran Ruddock and Marcus O’Driscoll, at inside centre, tried to lead by example and inspire them. A change of referee was forced midway through as Mark Patton had to retire injured.

The rout was completed by four more tries from winger Daniel Hurley (45 minutes), Coombes (55), replacement Tom Ryan and winger Tom McHale, the last two being converted by the returning Alan Tynan. His Ireland Under-20 colleague, Calvin Nash, was the pick of the home backs, operating at outside centre and looking lively on both sides of the ball.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Conor Hayes; Tom McHale, Calvin Nash, James O’Connor, Daniel Hurley; Shane Airey, Rob Guerin; Peter Meyer, Mark O’Mara, Colm Skeehan, Fineen Wycherley, Mike Madden, Diarmaid Dee, Dan Walsh, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Ger Slattery, Conor Bartley, Tom Ryan, Alan Tynan, Ben Swindlehurst.

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE: Dave Fanagan; Tim Maupin, Darren Moroney, Marcus O’Driscoll, Craig Kennedy; Conor Dean, Paddy O’Driscoll; Brendan Cullinane, Richard Halpin, Jack Aungier, Ciaran Ruddock (capt), Cathal O’Flaherty, Mark Fallon, Nick McCarthy, Jack Dilger.

Replacements: Stephen O’Brien, Tom O’Reilly, Caelan Doris, Ryan O’Loughlin, Myles Carey.

UCD 24 CLONTARF 31, Belfield Bowl
Scorers: UCD: Tries: Colm Mulcahy, Ronan Foley, Nick Peters; Cons: Harry Byrne 3; Pen: Harry Byrne
Clontarf: Tries: Matt D’Arcy, Sean O’Brien, Jack Power, Cormac Daly, Rob McGrath; Cons: David Joyce 3 

HT: UCD 14 Clontarf 17

Matt D’Arcy crossed for his sixth try in as many league games as Clontarf won a hugely entertaining tussle with UCD, taking home a bonus point in a 31-24 triumph at the Belfield Bowl.

The in-form Ireland Club international put his name to ‘Tarf’s opening score and was heavily involved in another try of the month contender from the north Dubliners, which was finished off by Munster Academy recruit Jack Power to give the visitors a 17-14 half-time lead.

Two more converted tries from Cormac Daly and Rob McGrath proved enough for Andy Wood’s men in the second half, although scrum half Nick Peters’ charge-down try – coupled with some strong defensive scrummaging late on – deservedly earned UCD a losing bonus point.

A well-worked 24th-minute move, launched from inside the students’ own half, ended with winger Colm Mulcahy notching the game’s first try, converted by Harry Byrne (pictured above) (younger brother of Leinster out-half Ross Byrne). The family affair continued with Garry Ringrose’s younger brother, Jack, starting on the left wing for UCD.

D’Arcy replied for ‘Tarf five minutes later, scoring an unconverted effort out wide after the visitors had gone through multiple phases in the 22. It was a one-two blow as soon after, a mix-up in the UCD midfield allowed Sean O’Brien through for his second try in the space of a week, with good hands from Daly, Hugh O’Sullivan and Ivan Soroka in the build-up.

The action swung back and forth to both 22s, UCD managing a swift riposte five minutes before the break. Flanker Ronan Foley stole possession at a ruck and galloped over for a converted try and a 14-12 lead. However, full-back Power had the final say of the free-flowing half, following up on a classy break from deep by D’Arcy and good work by Ireland Under-19 scrum half O’Sullivan to run in a tremendous team try.

Tullamore man David Joyce converted and also added the extras to those scores from young lock Daly and winger McGrath, the former showing impressive timing and strength to strike from close range and give Clontarf the ideal start to the second period at 24-14. D’Arcy had cut open the UCD midfield again before that.

UCD number 10 Byrne then nailed a three-pointer to reward his forwards for a prolonged spell of attacking, but McGrath’s neat footwork saw him dance in under the posts for ‘Tarf’s bonus point effort. UCD fought their way back to make it a seven-point game, Peters (pictured above) blocking a kick from Sam Cronin to cross the whitewash with little over 10 minutes remaining.

However, last season’s beaten finalists used all their experience and top flight nous to see out a result which sends them back up to third in the table, while UCD, who have won two matches and picked up five bonus points so far, have fallen to seventh.

UCD: Tim Carroll; Colm Mulcahy, Jamie Glynn (capt), Gavin Mullin, Jack Ringrose; Harry Byrne, Nick Peters; Jeremy Loughman, Sean McNulty, Liam Hyland, Brian Cawley, Emmet MacMahon, Jonny Guy, Ronan Foley, Stephen McVeigh.

Replacements: Richie Bergin, Michael Moynihan, Keelan McKenna, Matthew Gilsenan, Ciaran Frawley.

CLONTARF: Jack Power; Rob McGrath, Sean O’Brien, Matt D’Arcy, Cian O’Donoghue; David Joyce, Hugh O’Sullivan; Ivan Soroka, Joe Roe, Royce Burke-Flynn, Cormac Daly, Ben Reilly (capt), Tony Ryan, Adrian D’Arcy, Michael Noone.

Replacements: Jonathan Larbey, Tom Byrne, Vakh Abdaladze, Sam Cronin, Conor Jennings.

Scorers: Dublin University: Pen: Christian Byrne
Cork Constitution: Tries: Lar Coughlan, Conor Kindregan, Ross O’Neill, Jack McHenry; Cons: Tomas Quinlan 3, Aidan Moynihan

HT: Dublin University 3 Cork Constitution 21

Cork Constitution’s forward strength was the key to a convincing 28-3 bonus point defeat of hosts Dublin University in cold conditions at College Park on Saturday afternoon.

The defending Division 1A champions were stung late on by Young Munster last week and were doubly determined to get back to winning ways in the capital. They used their well-drilled lineout maul to apply the early pressure and force an opening fifth-minute try, scored by Ross O’Neill and converted by Tomas Quinlan.

Try number two followed on the quarter hour mark, again the Trinity forwards giving way as Constitution shoved them off their own scrum ball and captain and pack powerhouse Conor Kindregan grounded the ball for Quinlan to boot the visitors into a 14-3 lead.

An encouraging response from the students saw them enjoy a short purple patch, with captain Michael Courtney and fellow centre Seb Fromm getting on the ball and making yards. The net result was a penalty which Christian Byrne, an early entrant for injured out-half James Fennelly, turned into three points.

However, Brian Hickey’s charges had another seven-pointer on the board by the 25th minute, making ominous ground once more through a midfield maul and replacement Jack McHenry, a brother of Con’s Ireland Sevens cap Alex McHenry, was able to apply the finishing touches. Quinlan converted for a 21-3 advantage at the turnaround.

Trinity were the aggressors in the second period, with the elements behind them. However, just when they looked to have the visitors on the rack, they spilled possession or gave it away. A frustrating day at the office was summed up when Cork Con scored from their one and only visit to the 22 after the break.

In the very last play, the students missed a kick to touch from a penalty and Constitution ran it back with interest, setting up replacement flanker Lar Coughlan to register a very late bonus point.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Michael Silvester; Hugh Connors, Michael Courtney (capt), Seb Fromm, Billy O’Hora; James Fennelly, Angus Lloyd; James Bollard, Paddy Finlay, Joe Byrne, Jack Burke, Jack Dunne, Sam Pim, Richard Dunne, David St Leger.

Replacements: Dan Sheehan, Darragh Higgins, Niall O’Riordan, Rowan Osborne, Christian Byrne.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Liam O’Connell; JJ O’Neill, Alex McHenry, Ned Hodson, Rob Jermyn; Tomas Quinlan, Jason Higgins; Gavin Duffy, Max Abbott, Ger Sweeney, Brian Hayes, Conor Kindregan (capt), Joe McSwiney, Ross O’Neill, Evan Mintern.

Replacements: Jack McHenry, Brendan Quinlan, Lar Coughlan, Gary Bradley, Aidan Moynihan.

LANSDOWNE 32 GARRYOWEN 22, Aviva Stadium back pitch
Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Harry Brennan, Tyrone Moran, Mark O’Keefe 2; Cons: Scott Deasy 3; Pens: Scott Deasy 2
Garryowen: Tries: Peadar Collins, James McInerney, Tim Ferguson; Cons: Neil Cronin 2; Pen: Neil Cronin

HT: Lansdowne 10 Garryowen 17

Talented young flanker Jack O’Sullivan turned in a man-of-the-match performance as unbeaten Lansdowne got the better of Garryowen in a seven-try Division 1A shootout on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch.

O’Sullivan emptied the tank as an ever-willing carrier and tackler, the home pack’s hard graft laying the platform for a quartet of tries from centres Harry Brennan and Mark O’Keefe (2) and influential hooker Tyrone Moran – three of which came in a strong second half performance.

The bonus point return keeps Mike Ruddock’s men three points clear of Terenure College at the summit, while Garryowen, who were without the attacking spark of Munster’s Sam Arnold and David Johnston behind the scrum, have slipped from third to fifth.

It was a very positive opening half from the Light Blues, though, as they led 17-10 at half-time. Neatly-crafted tries from backs Peadar Collins (26 minutes) and James McInerney (35), allied to an early penalty from captain Neil Cronin, had them in a promising position at the midpoint.

Lansdowne took the lead with a Scott Deasy penalty in the ninth minute, and once again the hosts’ back-line leader was in fine kicking form. Deasy struck five from six on the day, with the one he missed hitting the upright.

Deasy’s early success was matched by a similar effort from Garryowen’s goal-kicking scrum half Cronin, who had a lively match at the base and always threatened when in possession. Lansdowne were soon back in the lead, capitalising on a Garryowen missed touch on the left. The ball was spread wide, and the move ended up with Brennan jinking his way through several tackles for a nicely-taken converted try in the corner on 21 minutes.

If Lansdowne thought they were going to have it all their own way they were mistaken, however, and the visitors used their big forwards, Aaron McCloskey and prop JP Phelan in particular, to good effect. Following a series of rucks in the Lansdowne 22, young centre Collins evaded several defenders to run in a fine individual try. Cronin’s conversion made it 10 points apiece.

Having lost the unfortunate Foster Horan to a shoulder injury on the half hour mark, worse was to follow for the headquarters club as Garryowen winger McInerney availed of further loose defending to cross the whitewash and Cronin again supplied the extras.

However, it took just three minutes of the second half for the resurgent Lansdowne pack to register its mark. Man-of-the-match O’Sullivan won good ball and it was quickly spread wide for O’Keefe to round off great work by Brennan in the right corner. Deasy converted with aplomb for a 17-all scoreline.

After Deasy nudged his side back in front with a well-struck penalty, Lansdowne succeeded in stretching their lead in the 62nd minute. Winger Daniel McEvoy fielded a missed touchfinder by Garryowen and quickly spotted a mismatch, scorching past a back rower on the outside before drawing the last defender beautifully to send Moran rampaging home from 25 metres out.

Deasy had his only failure of the day with his conversion attempt – by the narrowest of margins – but Ruddock’s charges had established a crucial eight-point gap with less than 20 minutes to play. O’Keefe was once again on the end of some fine build-up play to cross in the corner in the 76th minute, with Deasy’s conversion making it 22 points without reply.

Although their fate had been sealed, there was still time for a late consolation try from the visitors’ hard-working number 8 Tim Ferguson, but it was a case of too little, too late for Garryowen. They struggled to hang onto Lansdowne’s coattails in the second half, with replacement scrum half Charlie Rock giving the victors a new impetus.

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Daniel McEvoy, Harry Brennan, Mark O’Keefe, Foster Horan; Scott Deasy, Alan Bennie; Martin Mulhall, Tyrone Moran, Ian Prendiville (capt), Josh O’Rourke, Jack Dwan, Jack O’Sullivan, Charlie Butterworth, Willie Earle.

Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Greg McGrath, Aaron Conneely, Charlie Rock, Adam Leavy.

GARRYOWEN: Liam Coombes; Andrew O’Byrne, Dave McCarthy, Peadar Collins, James McInerney; Bill Johnston, Neil Cronin (capt); Niall Horan, Liam Cronin, JP Phelan, Sean O’Connor, Aaron McCloskey, Mikey Wilson, Jack Daly, Tim Ferguson.

Replacements: Mike Sherry, Nik Hildebrand, Sean Rennison, Darren Ryan, Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham.