OLD BELVEDERE 28 NAAS 10, Anglesea Road
Scorers: Old Belvedere: Tries: Phil O’Dwyer, David Butler, Pat Hughes, Aaron Sheehan; Con: Tim Foley; Pens: Tim Foley 2
Naas: Tries: Shane Thompstone, Shane Reilly
HT: Old Belvedere 17 Naas 0
First half tries from Phil O’Dwyer, David Butler and Pat Hughes laid the foundations for Old Belvedere’s 28-10 bonus point win over Naas at Anglesea Road on Saturday.
Eddie O’Sullivan’s ‘Belvo side climbed back to third in the table and they were given an early numerical advantage when Naas number 8 Paulie Tolofua saw yellow after barely 60 seconds. The usually reliable Tim Foley missed the resulting penalty, but winger O’Dwyer broke the deadlock soon after as the hosts spread play from one wing to the other and Daniel Riordan provided the final pass.
Foley missed the tricky touchline conversion, and in the continued absence of Tolofua, Naas fell further behind. Turnover ball on halfway allowed Belvedere to launch a swift counter attack, O’Dwyer was picked out in space again and following his neat offload, centre Butler managed to squeeze over for a second five-pointer.
Once restored to their full complement, Naas began to threaten with player-coach Johne Murphy directing operations from out-half. They should have scored at the end of first quarter, however some fine defensive work from ‘Belvo full-back Riordan forced Donal Droney into touch.
Indeed, it was O’Sullivan’s charges who increased their lead in the 25th minute. Riordan opted for touch from a penalty and the ‘Belvo pack showed patience before Hughes dived over to score, benefiting from his half-back partner Ian Vance’s shifting of possession back into midfield. Foley opened his account with the routine conversion, making it 17-0 for half-time.
A Foley penalty kept the scoreboard moving for ‘Belvo on the restart, but Naas gave themselves a glimmer of hope in the 49th minute when they switched play to the far side and replacement Shane Thompstone dotted down for an unconverted try.
The hosts hit back with their bonus point try just past the hour mark, reserve scrum half Aaron Sheehan, who came on for the injured O’Dwyer on the wing, sprinted over despite the presence of a couple of defenders.
Naas mustered a second five-pointer when a driving maul was finished off by prop Shane Reilly, but a missed conversion by Peter Osborne kept the deficit at 15 points. The Kildare men could not build on this score, though, and a Foley penalty with four minutes left on the clock helped Belvedere to ease over the finish line.
OLD BELVEDERE: Daniel Riordan; Shane McDonald, David Butler, Tim Foley, Phil O’Dwyer; Pat Hughes, Ian Vance; Adam Howard, Ed Rossiter (capt), Declan Lavery, Connor Owende, Jack Kelly, Diarmaid Kennedy, Pierce Dargan, Dave Sherry.
Replacements: Andrew McGrath, Omar Dahir, Eoin O’Neill, James Kearns, Aaron Sheehan.
NAAS: Peter Osborne; Fionn Higgins, James Cherrington, Michael Skelton, Donal Droney; Johne Murphy, Max Whittingham; Jordan Duggan, Graham Reynolds, Shane Reilly, Stephen Kinneavy, David Benn (capt), Paul Monahan, Will O’Brien, Paulie Tolofua.
Replacements: Cathal Duff, Stephen Lackey, Warren Larkin, Cathal Murtagh, Shane Thompstone.
OLD WESLEY 21 BANBRIDGE 20, Donnybrook
Scorers: Old Wesley: Tries: Cronan Gleeson, James O’Donovan; Con: Jack Maybury; Pens: Jack Maybury 3
Banbridge: Tries: Conor Field, Andrew Morrison, Caleb Montgomery; Con: Ian Porter; Pen: Ian Porter
HT: Old Wesley 13 Banbridge 15
Ian Porter narrowly missed a last-minute conversion as Banbridge were edged out by Old Wesley in a dramatic 21-20 defeat for the visitors at Donnybrook.
The missed kick allowed Wesley to celebrate their third win on the trot, with tries from ex-Nenagh Ormond prop Cronan Gleeson and James O’Donovan seeing them erase a 15-6 half-time lead.
Bann burst out of the blocks with some terrific play straight from the kick-off. Over 20 phases later, winger Conor Field broke free to go over in the corner for his third try in four matches, converted by captain Porter.
A big tackle from Stephen Boyle forced a penalty which Jack Maybury, who switched from full-back to the wing, slotted over for Wesley’s opening points.
The sides swapped penalties as Porter punishing Wesley skipper Darren Horan for not releasing, and a strong scrum shove earned the hosts three more points via Maybury’s reliable right boot.
The Bann pack returned the favour, pushing Wesley off a midfield scrum and a clinical attack developed down the stand side with centre Andrew Morrison crossing for an unconverted score at 15-6.
However, the margin was down to two points by half-time thanks to a late bout of pressure from the Wesley forwards. JJ O’Dea was held up before some good ball retention off a five-metre scrum led to loosehead Gleeson bursting onto a pass to crash over to the left of the posts.
A break by lock O’Dea ensured the Dubliners resumed on the front foot. They were held up on a couple of occasions, but five minutes later, Matthew Bursey’s lineout steal, coupled with ground gained in midfield, led to possession being moved wide at pace for centre O’Donovan to score and make it 18-15 to the home side.
The tide continued to turn in Wesley’s favour as Porter missed a penalty attempt and following another stolen lineout by Bursey, they went through the phases before the influential O’Dea broke from halfway and only just had the ball dislodged from his grasp in the act of scoring.
Bann then lost prop Michael Cromie to the sin-bin for successive scrum infringements. They fell 21-15 behind after a Maybury kick from straight in front of the posts, but Daniel Soper’s charges had enough in reserve for a strong finish.
Wesley replacement Paul Harte had to make a crucial tackle in defence before they lost number 8 Bursey to the bin for coming in at the side of a ruck. Caleb Montgomery touched down from the resulting scrum, but Porter was unable to add the extras as Wesley breathed a big sigh of relief.
OLD WESLEY: Rory Stynes; Jack Maybury, James O’Donovan, David Poff, Tommy O’Callaghan; Tim Clifford, Aaron Atkinson; Cronan Gleeson, Conor Maguire, James Burton, JJ O’Dea, Kieran Murphy, Darren Horan (capt), Stephen Boyle, Matthew Bursey.
Replacements: Craig Telford, Martin Gately, Conor Barry, Paul Harte, Eoghan O’Reilly.
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, Stephen Irvine, Caleb Montgomery, Nick Hayes, Greg Jones.
Replacements: Jonny Weir, Robin Sinton, Tom O’Toole, Ben Carson, John Porter.
DOLPHIN 6 UL BOHEMIANS 13, Irish Independent Park
Scorers: Dolphin: Pens: Barry Keeshan 2
UL Bohemians: Try: Harry Fleming; Con: Robbie Bourke; Pens: Robbie Bourke 2
HT: Dolphin 6 UL Bohemians 10
Harry Fleming’s second try of the season steered UL Bohemians to a vital 13-6 win over Munster rivals Dolphin at Irish Independent Park on Saturday afternoon.
Both sides were gunning for their second wins of the Division 1B campaign
DOLPHIN: Sam Kennedy; Will Hanly, Cian McGovern, Ian O’Donoghue, Colin Sisk; Barry Keeshan (capt), Daryl Foley; Liam Walsh, David Byrne, James Rochford, Barry Fitzgerald, Dave O’Mahony, James Vaughan, Kevin Allen, Kevin O’Leary.
Replacements: Caolan O’Flynn, John Leahy, Darren Collins, Alex Denby, Cathal Walsh, Killian O’Keeffe, Alan O’Sullivan.
UL BOHEMIANS: Matt McDonald; James Ryan, Ogie Scannell, Harry Fleming, Jamie McNamara; Robbie Bourke, Rob Hennessy; Joey Conway, Joe Bennett, Mike Lynch, Ed Kelly, Darragh Frawley, Noel Kinnane, Ian Condell (capt), Darragh O’Grady.
Replacements: David Rowsome, David O’Connor, Brian Walsh, Mike Mullally, Joe Murray, Mark Bromell.
SHANNON 27 BALLYMENA 15, Thomond Park back pitch
Scorers: Shannon: Tries: Kelvin Brown, Keith Kavanagh, Conor Fitzgerald, Jack O’Donnell; Cons: Conor Fitzgerald 2; Pen: Conor Fitzgerald
Ballymena: Tries: Connor Smyth, Joe Thompson; Con: Brett Herron; Pen: Brett Herron
HT: Shannon 8 Ballymena 0
Former Ireland Under-20 international Kelvin Brown was among the try scorers as leaders Shannon got back to winning ways with a well-judged 27-15 bonus point win at home to struggling Ballymena.
Although forwards Connor Smyth and Joe Thompson both crossed for second half tries, the Braidmen conceded 27 points for the second successive round, and those defensive frailties are a big reason why they are now second-from-bottom in the table.
SHANNON: Fionn McGibney; Nathan Randles, Jack O’Donnell, Will Leonard, Darren Gavin; Conor Fitzgerald, Keith Kavanagh; Conor Glynn, Jordan Prenderville, Tony Cusack, Jade Kriel, Lee Nicholas (capt), Charlie Carmody, Kelvin Brown, John Foley.
Replacements: Adam Moloney, TJ Relihan, Elliot Fizgerald, Kieran Dunne, Richie Mullane.
BALLYMENA: Rodger McBurney; Dean Reynolds, Angus Kernohan, Callum Patterson, Glenn Baillie; Brett Herron, David Shanahan; Bryan Young, Adam McBurney, Chris Cundell, Mark Foster, Connor Smyth, Joe Thompson, Dominic Gallagher, Marcus Rea.
Replacements: James Taggart, Josh Bill, Russell Blair, Ryan Mattison, Matthew Norris.
UCC 18 BALLYNAHINCH 22, the Mardyke
Scorers: UCC: Tries: Tadhg McCarthy, Paul Kiernan; Con: James Taylor; Pens: James Taylor 2
Ballynahinch: Tries: Johnny McPhillips, Rory Butler, Penalty try; Cons: Johnny McPhillips, Pen try con; Pen: Johnny McPhillips
HT: UCC 18 Ballynahinch 19
Ulster’s Johnny McPhillips inspired Ballynahinch to a hard-fought 22-18 triumph away to UCC, scoring a try, setting up another and kicking five points at the Mardyke.
The young out-half’s 45th-minute penalty proved to be the only score of the entire second half as ‘Hinch, who remain second in the table, stood firm to claim their third league win on the trot.
With James Simpson ruled out for Ballynahinch in the long term and John Donnan and Jack Regan both unavailable, Brian McLaughlin was glad to have the services of Ulster’s Peter Browne in the second row alongside Keith Dickson, while Brian Howard made his first senior appearance this season at blindside flanker.
UCC had won their last four games and took a 10th minute lead thanks to a surefooted penalty strike from James Taylor. However, ‘Hinch sandwiched UCC’s second penalty with a penalty try and a well-taken five-pointer from McPhillips, who outpaced the defence from 30 metres out, to lead 12-6 by the end of the first quarter.
The penalty try was awarded after UCC winger Richard Walsh prevented a certain score by taking a man out without the ball. Referee Paul Haycock also reached for his yellow card to leave the Cork students down to 14 men.
Despite that double setback, UCC profited from a stolen lineout deep in ‘Hinch territory as hooker Tadhg McCarthy grabbed a converted try which gave them a 13-12 advantage. ‘Hinch patience was rewarded some 12 minutes later when McPhillips’ brilliantly-judged chip kick into the arms of Rory Butler saw the centre dot down by the posts for McPhillips to convert.
There was still time for Paul Kiernan, the former Ireland Under-20 international, to squeeze over in the corner for a timely 39th-minute try just before half-time, as Brian Walsh’s youngsters dug deep to close the gap to a single point – 19-18.
The final 40 minutes turned into a real dogfight after McPhillips had edged his side further in front with a penalty just five minutes after the restart. ‘Hinch struggled to get out of their own half for long periods and defended for their lives as the Ryan Murphy-led hosts attacked in waves.
Crucial turnovers relieved the pressure on ‘Hinch several times just as it seemed certain that UCC would score. Veteran centre Stuart Morrow was immense in midfield, putting in several big hits and Browne was a colossus up front, galvanising his forwards into a superb rearguard action as ‘Hinch’s determined display earned them four more valuable points on the road.
UCC: Peter Sylvester; Richard Walsh, Cian Bohane, Paul Kiernan, Kevin Slater; James Taylor, John Poland; Shane O’Hanlon, Tadhg McCarthy, Rob O’Donovan, Cian Barry, Darragh Moloney, Jack O’Sullivan, Daire Feeney, Ryan Murphy (capt).
Replacements: John Hodnett, Bryan O’Connor, Brian O’Mahony, Murray Linn, Shane McAuliffe.
BALLYNAHINCH: Conor Kelly; David Busby, Stuart Morrow, Rory Butler, Richard Reaney; Johnny McPhillips, Aaron Cairns (capt); Campbell Classon, Zack McCall, Jonny Blair, Peter Browne, Keith Dickson, Brian Howard. Ollie Loughead, Conall Boomer.
Replacements: Claytan Milligan, Stuart Orr, Connor Phillips, Chris Gibson, Tom Rock.