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Ulster Bank League: Division 2A Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 2A Review

Malone and Nenagh Ormond both bounced back from losing performances in round 7 to rack up over a half-century of points against Greystones and Galwegians respectively, with the crushing home defeat seeing ‘Wegians join ‘Stones in the bottom two.



Greystones 14 Malone 55, Dr. Hickey Park
City of Armagh 30 Queen’s University 27, Palace Grounds
Corinthians 19 Blackrock College 33, Corinthian Park
Highfield 14 Cashel 8, Woodleigh Park
Nenagh Ormond 52 Galwegians 17, New Ormond Park

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The Ulster derby between City of Armagh and Queen’s University, who had risen to third overall, commanded most of the attention in the third tier of the Ulster Bank League last Saturday. In the end, a thrilling contest at the Palace Grounds was decided by a Cormac Fox penalty in Armagh’s favour as Willie Faloon’s men came from 24-6 down to claim a rousing 30-27 win.

A very physical and high-tempo encounter was evenly balanced early on with Queen’s winger Jack Milliken and Fox swapping penalties before the students stole a march on the hosts.

Johnny Milligan opened the visitors’ try account, and tighthead Andrew Clingan added the second while Armagh were down to 14 men. A second Fox penalty was all the home side could muster in response, and Ulster scrum half Jonny Stewart crossed close to the posts – just before half-time – to put a full 18 points between the sides.

Faloon praised Armagh afterwards for the ‘character and spirit’ they showed in mounting a sensational second half comeback. Winger Evin Crummie’s early try was the ideal response, and Queen’s hooker Gary Dillon then saw yellow for a late tackle on Fox.

A Milligan penalty steadied Neil Doak’s youngsters at 27-13, but that proved to be their final score of the game as Armagh went on to dominate the final quarter.

Daryl Morton had a try disallowed before scrum half Harry Doyle’s converted effort closed the gap to seven points. The hosts’ scrum was on top and earned them a levelling penalty try, with Queen’s losing a flanker to the bin for breaking his bind.

The odds were now stacked in Armagh’s favour and a high tackle on Chris Colvin, in the dying minutes, allowed number 10 Fox to fire home the decisive penalty from in front of the posts.

Meanwhile, leaders Malone, who were beaten last time out by Queen’s, got back on track with a 55-14 thumping of bottom side Greystones by the County Wicklow coastline.

Winger Jack Keating and flanker Eoin Marmion crossed for seven-pointers for ‘Stones, who were still very much in the hunt when trailing 15-7 at half-time. However, Malone were a class apart in the second half with eight tries scored by Paddy Armstrong’s charges and winger Rory ‘Soupy’ Campbell kicking the other 15 points.

Captain Ross Todd and young winger David McMaster, who joined from Belfast Harlequins in the summer, were the first half try scorers for Malone. They kicked it up a notch or two as their bonus point search gathered pace on the resumption.

Full-back Andy Bryans joined the line in timely fashion to score try number three, converted by Campbell for 22-7, before Malone had to knuckle down in defence to break up a purple patch for the Wicklow men.

The Cregagh Red Sox had to come through a difficult period which saw them lose flanker Joe Dunleavy to a shoulder injury and have lock Matthew Dalton, an Ulster debutant against Benetton the previous night, sin-binned for his team’s accumulation of penalties.

Indeed, those setbacks brought the best out of Malone as McMaster charged down the wing to complete his brace, and four more tries followed in a stellar 10-minute spell – Callum Smith, who enjoyed an impressive return from injury at out-half, Michael Cartmill, Jack Owens and Michael Shiels were the scorers.

Marmion’s maul effort was of little consolation to Greystones who had been blown away by the visitors’ try blitz. They face Belfast opposition again over the next fortnight with back-to-back clashes with Queen’s.

Malone’s next opponents are Corinthians who suffered their fifth defeat of the campaign when going down 33-19 to Blackrock College, who had big performances from captain Peter McCague, out-half Peter Quirke and centres Brian Colclough and Ben Mahon.

Resurgent ‘Rock will aim for their third win on the trot when they host Nenagh Ormond this Saturday, with the Tipperary men travelling on the back of their 52-17 hammering of Galwegians.

The newly-crowned Limerick Charity Cup champions showed no mercy to ‘Wegians with a barnstorming seven-try display, three of which came before half-time as Nenagh established a 24-3 lead.

With their set piece going very well, the hosts had a penalty try in each half, while Willie Coffey (2), David Gleeson, Jamie McGarry and Kevin Seymour shared out the other tries. New Zealander Clayton Stewart kicked 13 points, including five conversions.

Forwards Marty Cummins and Jason East grounded second half tries for Galwegians, who are now in the bottom two with their city rivals Corinthians two points above them.

The Munster derby spoils went to Highfield against Cashel, with converted efforts from James Daly and Paul Stack turning a 3-0 half-time deficit into a 14-8 win for the Corkmen. Number 8 Michael Casey’s closing try earned Cashel a losing bonus point.