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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Division 1A leaders Lansdowne and bottom side Buccaneers, who have bounced back with two wins on the trot, were the only teams to win away from home in the latest round of top flight action in the Ulster Bank League.



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This season sees the introduction of the #UBLTry of the Month award with a prize of 250 euro for each monthly winner and entry into the Try of the Year award.

UCD 23 LANSDOWNE 30, Belfield Bowl
Scorers: UCD: Tries: Jack Ringrose, Tommy O’Brien; Cons: Harry Byrne, Ciaran Frawley; Pens: Harry Byrne 3
Lansdowne: Tries: Harry Brennan, Ronan Kelleher, Penalty try; Cons: Scott Deasy 2, Pen try con; Pens: Scott Deasy 3

HT: UCD 9 Lansdowne 6

Lansdowne completed an immaculate first half of the Ulster Bank League season with their ninth straight win, as a second half scoring burst saw them overcome a feisty UCD side 30-23 at the Belfield Bowl on Saturday.

The Division 1A leaders also lifted the Sutherland Cup – presented in memory of Peter Sutherland’s father, the great Billy Sutherland – courtesy of this three-try victory which saw talismanic out-half Scott Deasy kick 13 points. However, it was the students who made the early inroads with a couple of kicks towards the corner.

Harry Byrne, younger brother of Ross Byrne who was in action at the same time with Leinster in Treviso, fired over a 35-metre penalty to get UCD off the mark. He missed a second place-kick just four minutes later, with his effort dropping short and gathered under the posts by Deasy.

Byrne was back on target with his next attempt at the posts, making it 6-0 at the end of the first quarter. Deasy responded with a routine strike on 23 minutes but a similar kick at the other end from Byrne restored the six-point lead. The kicking duel continued but Deasy was surprisingly off target from close range.

The sin-binning of flanker Aaron Conneely was a further setback for Lansdowne, who had Connacht’s Denis Coulson making his senior debut for the club in the front row. However, in Conneely’s absence, they closed the deficit to 9-6 for half-time thanks to a Deasy penalty from the right.

The game began to open up more immediately after the restart, the visitors needing just three minutes for Deasy and full-back Eamonn Mills to combine and send centre Harry Brennan over for an emphatic finish to a well-crafted multi-phase attack. Deasy converted for a 13-9 lead.

Before UCD could regain their composure, Lansdowne claimed their second try in the space of four minutes. Mike Ruddock’s men developed a strong lineout maul after Deasy had kicked to touch, and hooker Ronan Kelleher, younger brother of Connacht winger Cian Kelleher, drove over for a converted 47th-minute score.

The family affair continued as Garry Ringrose’s younger brother, UCD winger Jack, raced through for a much-needed try in the left corner via Jamie Glynn’s quick tap penalty, with Byrne superbly splitting the posts from the touchline.

However, Lansdowne continued to do damage, especially up front, as Deasy knocked over his third successful penalty and a powerful attacking scrum saw referee Stuart Gaffikin award them a 67th-minute penalty try, with UCD having just lost influential number 8 Peadar Timmins to the sin-bin.

UCD now had a mountain to climb at 30-16 down, but to their credit, Andy Skehan’s charges were resilient right to the last. They continued to probe for scores and were rewarded in the closing stages, with prop Jeremy Loughman carrying strongly into the Lansdowne half before Tommy O’Brien’s excellent try, which saw him burst past several defenders and was converted by his Ireland Under-20 colleague Ciaran Frawley, earned them a deserved losing bonus point.

UCD: Ciaran Frawley; Rob Keenan, Gavin Mullin, Tommy O’Brien, Jack Ringrose; Harry Byrne, Jamie Glynn (capt); Rory Mulvihill, Sean McNulty, Jeremy Loughman, Emmet MacMahon, Gavin Thornbury, Stephen McVeigh, Ronan Foley, Peadar Timmins.

Replacements: Gordon Frayne, Liam Hyland, Brian Cawley, Nick Peters, Colm Mulcahy.

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Mark O’Keefe, Harry Brennan, Fergal Cleary, Adam Leavy; Scott Deasy, Charlie Rock; Denis Coulson. Ronan Kelleher, Ian Prendiville (capt), Josh O’Rourke, Jack Dwan, Jack O’Sullivan, Aaron Conneely, Willie Earle.

Replacements: Tyrone Moran, Adam Boland, Jacob Coghlan, Darragh Henry, Willie Walsh.

Scorers: Clontarf: Tries: Cormac Daly, Rob McGrath, Penalty try, Matt D’Arcy; Cons: David Joyce 2, Pen try con; Pen: David Joyce
Dublin University: Tries: Jack Kelly, Michael Courtney, Michael Silvester; Cons: James Fennelly 3; Pen: James Fennelly

HT: Clontarf 22 Dublin University 10

Clontarf outscored Dublin University by four tries to three but were left clinging on for a 29-24 win at the end of an absorbing top flight contest at Castle Avenue.

‘Tarf had the match points within their grasp at half-time, leading 22-10 heading into the second half. However, they were left sweating at the finish as poor discipline saw them have two players sin-binned and captain Ben Reilly also saw red after clashing with Trinity replacement Darragh Higgins.

Trinity were held to ‘nil’ in two comprehensive defeats to the north Dubliners last season, and David Joyce and James Fennelly swapped penalties in a pacy opening to this rematch which saw both teams keep the ball for long periods.

The hosts registered their first try on the quarter hour mark as they worked an overlap to put Rob McGrath over on the right wing. However, fit-again former Ireland Under-20 captain Jack Kelly was quick to respond, showing great strength to touch down after an initial grubber by Fennelly and a couple of fly hacks downfield.

Fennelly converted for a 10-8 lead, only for Clontarf’s dominant scrum – minus Leinster debutant Vakh Abdaladze – to provide the platform for two converted tries before the break. A missed tackle allowed second row Cormac Daly through for a try, and a tug-back by Trinity scrum half Rowan Osborne saw ‘Tarf awarded a penalty try.

Tony Smeeth’s students did well to absorb further pressure while down to 14 men, before a high-quality attacking move off a five-metre lineout finished with captain Michael Courtney grounding the ball to put just five points between the sides (22-17). However, Trinity could not exit from the restart and ‘Tarf, who profited from a charge-down, squeezed them for the bonus point score, as centre Matt D’Arcy took his tally for the campaign to seven tries.

It was the students’ turn to go through a purple patch, as the likes of Kyle Dixon and Michael Silvester slipped through defensive gaps. The hosts lost Tony Ryan, who took out Joe Byrne without the ball, and Jack Power to the bin in quick succession.

Trinity’s in-form full-back Silvester collected a pinpoint kick from Fennelly to bag his sixth try of the season. Nonetheless, ‘Tarf were able to hold onto their five-point lead despite having skipper Reilly, who struck out at Higgins, sent off for his second yellow card.

CLONTARF: Jack Power; Rob McGrath, Conor O’Brien, Matt D’Arcy, Sean O’Brien; David Joyce, Sam Cronin; Ivan Soroka, Bryan Byrne, Royce Burke-Flynn, Cormac Daly, Ben Reilly (capt), Tony Ryan, Tom Byrne, Michael Noone.

Replacements: Dylan Donnellan, Vincent Gavin, Kenneth Knaggs, Hugh O’Sullivan, Conor Kelly.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Michael Silvester; Jack Kelly, Michael Courtney (capt), Kyle Dixon, Billy O’Hora; James Fennelly, Rowan Osborne; James Bollard, Paddy Finlay, Joe Byrne, Jack Burke, Alex McDonald, Sam Pim, Richard Dunne, David St Leger.

Replacements: Dan Sheehan, Darragh Higgins, Niall O’Riordan, Dan Joyce, Tommy Whittle.

Scorers: Garryowen: Tries: Neil Cronin, David Johnston 2; Cons: Neil Cronin 3; Pen: Neil Cronin
Cork Constitution: Try: JJ O’Neill; Pens: Tomas Quinlan 4

HT: Garryowen 10 Cork Constitution 6

Goal-kicking captain Neil Cronin and elusive full-back David Johnston were the scoring stars for Garryowen in their impressive 24-17 Munster derby success against Cork Constitution at Dooradoyle on Saturday afternoon.

The first of two heavyweight back-to-back clashes, it was the Light Blues who made home advantage count with man-of-the-match Cronin accumulating 14 points and Johnston – the best attacker on show – notching a brace of second half tries.

Cronin was too quick for the Cork Con defence as he used a ruck, five metres out, to dummy and touch down in the 26th minute, adding to his earlier penalty goal. Tomas Quinlan’s second penalty of the match closed out the first half’s scoring, leaving the visitors just 10-6 behind at the break.

However, Conan Doyle’s charges opened up an 11-point cushion after a terrific try from halfway was finished by Johnston. Out-half Quinlan, who was Constitution’s last-minute penalty hero against St. Mary’s College last week, landed two more penalties in response.

With Munster’s Mike Sherry and number 8 Sean Rennison playing key roles up front, the Limerick men got into scoring range for the ever-influential Johnston to complete his try double and give his side at double-scores lead at 24-12.

Credit to Constitution, they forced a succession of penalties in the closing stages with Cronin playing the price with a yellow card. With the extra man, they created space out wide for a last-minute try for winger JJ O’Neill, which sealed their third losing bonus point in four defeats.

Ahead of next Saturday’s rematch at Temple Hill, Garryowen have actually fallen one place to third due to Terenure College’s bonus point win over Young Munster. Con are three points behind the Light Blues in fifth position.

GARRYOWEN: David Johnston; James McInerney, Andrew O’Byrne, Dave McCarthy, Liam Coombes; Jamie Gavin, Neil Cronin (capt); Niall Horan, Mike Sherry, Andy Keating, Tim Ferguson, Dean Moore, Mark Rowley, Mikey Wilson, Sean Rennison.

Replacements: Liam Cronin, JP Cooney, Barra O’Byrne, Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham, Bill Johnston, Darren Ryan.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Shane Daly; JJ O’Neill, Ned Hodson, Niall Kenneally, Liam O’Connell; Tomas Quinlan, Gerry Hurley; Gavin Duffy, Max Abbott, Dylan Murphy, Conor Kindregan (capt), Brian Hayes, Graeme Lawler, Ross O’Neill, Luke Cahill.

Replacements: Jack McHenry, Brendan Quinlan,  Joe McSwiney, Jason Higgins, Aidan Moynihan.

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE 10 BUCCANEERS 11, Templeville Road
Scorers: St. Mary’s College: Tries: Adam Coyle, Conor Dean
Buccaneers: Try: John Sutton; Pens: Luke Carty 2

HT: St. Mary’s College 10 Buccaneers 0

Buccaneers came from 10 points down to record their second win on the bounce as they edged out St. Mary’s College 11-10 in this basement battle at Templeville Road.

Luke Carty sandwiched hooker John Sutton’s try from a maul with two crucial penalties as Buccaneers pulled off a gritty second half comeback. The result has moved Darin Claasen’s midlanders to within one point of Mary’s at the bottom of the Division 1A table.

Buccs were quickest out of the blocks and were unlucky not to score two tries inside the opening six minutes. Their raid up the right wing inside the opening minute saw them cross the whitewash but the try was ruled out for offside, while flanker Simon Meagher had a sixth-minute effort chalked off for being ahead of the kicker.
Shortly afterwards, a weaving break by Marcus O’Driscoll put St. Mary’s into the opposition 22 for the first time where, after a series of snipes, Conor Dean scrambled over for a ninth minute try which the young out-half was unable to convert.

As the game entered the second quarter, the hosts enjoyed their best spell with a series of pick-and-goes pinning back the Pirates until former Ireland Under-20 prop Adam Coyle breached their defensive line for a 23rd minute try, also on the right from where Dean was again unable to convert.

But Buccs had the better of the exchanges from there until half-time and twice Rory O’Connor came close to adding to his try tally. Although the midlanders finished the half camped close to the home line, they remained scoreless to trail 10-0 at the break.
The Dubliners made three changes during an extended interval and in a frenetic opening sequence earned a 44th minute penalty but Dean’s effort fell short. A superb Alan Gaughan break reminded the hosts of the threat posed by Buccs before Carty opened their account with an excellent 51st-minute penalty via a scrum. He missed a second shot at the posts, five minutes later.

Nonetheless, Mary’s lead came under more pressure after Carty’s opposite number Dean was yellow carded for a wild 68th-minute tackle in midfield. Buccaneers had upped the tempo and were now forcing the pace.

Carty drilled the penalty to touch on the right and Cian Romaine won good lineout possession. From there there was no stopping Buccs and, after making further ground with a maul, Sutton peeled away on the blindside to barrel over for a 70th minute try in the right corner. Although Carty was unable to add the touchline conversion, the Pirates now had the momentum and were just 10-8 behind.
Their energy and industry was stretching St. Mary’s to the limit and Robbie Glynn could not resist a deliberate knock-on with just two minutes remaining as he tried to slow Buccs’ impetus. It meant the replacement sat out the remainder of the game in the sin-bin where he could only watch Carty thump a sublime penalty kick straight and true, from over 40 metres, to edge Buccaneers 11-10 ahead.

In a protracted six minutes of added time, Peter Burke’s side did their utmost to retrieve the situation but, with the final kick of an absorbing battle, Dean’s drop goal attempt sailed wide of the target and Buccs could celebrate their first away win of the season. 

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE: Craig Kennedy; Tim Maupin, Darren Moroney, Marcus O’Driscoll, Myles Carey; Conor Dean, Paddy O’Driscoll; Tom O’Reilly, Richard Halpin, Adam Coyle, Ciaran Ruddock (capt), Cathal O’Flaherty, Nick McCarthy, Hugh Kelleher, Caelan Doris.

Replacements: Hugo Kean, Jack Aungier, Jack Dilger, Robbie Glynn, Daragh McDonnell.

BUCCANEERS: Callum Boland; Rory O’Connor, Alan Gaughan, Shane Layden (capt), Darragh Corbett; Luke Carty, Conor McKeon; Martin Staunton, John Sutton, Conan O’Donnell, Daniel Law, Cian Romaine, Simon Meagher, Evan Galvin, Paul Boyle.

Replacements: Rory Grenham, Conor Kenny, Ruairi Byrne, Graham Lynch, Sean Dempsey.

Scorers: Terenure College: Tries: Schalk Jooste, Sam Coghlan Murray, Stephen O’Neill, Jake Swaine, James O’Donoghue; Cons: Mark O’Neill, James Thornton; Pen: Mark O’Neill
Young Munster: Try: Penalty try; Con: Pen try con; Pens: Shane Airey 2

HT: Terenure College 10 Young Munster 3

This was a much more one-sided contest than many predicted as Terenure College ran in three second half tries to emerge as 32-13 bonus point winners over a fading Young Munster side.

After losing their last two games, Terenure have climbed back into second place in the standings. They flew out of the traps at a rain-hit Lakelands Park with early tries from flying winger Sam Coghlan Murray and powerful South African tighthead Schalk Jooste.

Munsters played to their strengths to get back on level terms early in the second half, using their strong set piece to win a penalty and force a levelling penalty try at 10-all.

‘Nure replacement Niall Lalor saw yellow too in a double setback, and Shane Airey’s 53rd-minute penalty – his second successful kick of the game – put Gearoid Prendergast’s men ahead for the first and only time in the game.

The pendulum swung back in Terenure’s favour by the 61st minute, though, as Mark O’Neill’s boot brought them level before they capitalised on a Munsters sin-binning to release winger Jake Swaine who converted his own try.

Munsters’ patched-up back-line were struggling and just two minutes later, outside centre Stephen O’Neill cut through for the bonus point score to give James Blaney’s charges a 12-point advantage. The margin was 19 points by the final whistle as full-back James O’Donoghue became the third member of ‘Nure’s back-three to cross the whitewash.

TERENURE COLLEGE: James O’Donoghue; Jake Swaine, Stephen O’Neill, Marc Hiney, Sam Coghlan Murray; Mark O’Neill, Tim Schmidt; Cian Madden, Adam Clarkin, Schalk Jooste, Michael Melia, Alex Thompson, James O’Neill, Paddy Thornton, Harrison Brewer.

Replacements: Robbie Smyth, Giorgi Turabelidze, Niall Lalor, James Thornton, Conor Spillane.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Tom McHale; James O’Connor, Evan O’Gorman, Ben Swindlehurst, Daniel Hurley; Shane Airey, Mark Edwards; Peter Meyer, Ger Slattery, Colm Skehan, Tom Goggin, Alan Kennedy, Ben Kilkenny (capt), Dan Walsh, Diarmaid Dee.

Replacements: Mark O’Mara, Conor Bartley, Gavin Ryan, Luke Costello Tom Ryan.

Match Photos:

Garryowen v Cork Constitution – Larry Lyons
Terenure College v Young Munster – Philip Duke