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All-Ireland League Division 2A: Round 2 Review

All-Ireland League Division 2A: Round 2 Review

There was the unusual occurrence of five away wins out of five in All-Ireland League Division 2A over the weekend. Cashel, who have hit the summit, Navan and Blackrock College stand out as the only unbeaten teams left after two rounds.



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Dolphin 3 Navan 23, Irish Independent Park
Galwegians 15 UL Bohemians 27, Crowley Park
Highfield 41 Queen’s University 43, Woodleigh Park
Nenagh Ormond 23 Blackrock College 31, New Ormond Park
Old Crescent 20 Cashel 34, Rosbrien (played on Friday)

Clubs are invited to post the best tries from their All-Ireland League fixtures on the club’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram pages using the hashtag #AILTry and tag @irishrugby. The scorer of #AILTry of the Month will receive a voucher for €;250 and each of the monthly winners will be entered into the #AILTry of the Season competition.

Cashel handed Old Crescent a rare home defeat (34-20) as Alan McMahon, Niall Fitzgerald and Aidan McDonald all touched down during the final 18 minutes of their Friday Night Lights clash. It was a barnstorming finish from Denis Leamy’s men who made it back-to-back bonus point victories.

The visitors signalled their intent with a Frank Kelleher try in the corner – converted by full-back Jonty Rae – after just three minutes. Crescent’s most potent attacker, Val McDermott, used his pace to score five minutes later with Ronan McKenna landing the levelling conversion from an awkward angle.

Rae restored Cashel’s lead with a penalty, and winger Richard Kingston got the better of a couple of defenders to notch their second try in the 19th minute. A cross-field kick played in McDermott for his second try of the night, but Crescent lost number 8 Kevin Doyle to a red card before the interval.

Matt Brown’s charges dug in with out-half McKenna landing two penalties either side of McMahon’s 62nd-minute try at the other end. However, the numerical advantage was hammered home in the closing stages when a power-packed maul propelled Cashel hooker Fitzgerald over for the bonus point score, and Kingston’s turnover-securing tackle set up centre McDonald for try number five.

Meanwhile, after conceding an early penalty to Dolphin captain Daryl Foley, Navan reeled off 23 points without reply to pick up their second league win since gaining promotion. Dave Clarke’s intercept almost led to a try for the visitors in Cork but they had to settle for a levelling three-pointer from Brian Haugh.

There was little to separate the teams, with a sin-binning each, until Riaan van der Vyver’s break ignited the Navan attack and he offloaded for Paddy Fox to blast down the wing and score in the corner from 40 metres out. Despite losing Colm O’Reilly to the bin, a terrific 44-metre penalty from his half-back partner Haugh made it 11-3 for half-time.

South African centre van der Vvyer played a key role in the build-up to Navan’s second try. He turned the defence inside out before releasing winger Sean McEntagart from the edge of the Dolphin 22 to touch down in the 50th minute. Dolphin suffered two more yellow cards, with Navan flanker Conor Hand sandwiching in their final try with over 20 minutes remaining.

The Meath men will have been frustrated to miss out on the bonus point, something which UL Bohemians managed to achieve as they opened their win account away to Galwegians. Bohemians triumphed 27-15 at Crowley Park with two tries in each half from Joey Conway, Niall O’Shea, Joe Murray and Munster Academy player James McCarthy.

Wind-backed ‘Wegians had a brief lead thanks to the boot of out-half Morgan Codyre, before Conway reached over past two defenders in the 11th minute. A switch move led by Codyre playing in winger Ewan Strang for the hosts’ second try close to the half hour mark, although it came at a price with Codyre having to go off injured.

His replacement Brian Murphy was soon sin-binned as the ‘Wegians try-line came under serious threat, and the pressure told when UL replacement O’Shea touched down on stroke of half-time, leaving the scoreboard showing 10 points apiece.

Bohs gained vital ground during the opening 10 minutes of the second half, with Robbie Bourke booting a penalty and full-back Murray crossing the whitewash to open up a 20-10 advantage. Codyre’s absence was keenly felt as centre Dave Clarke missed three penalties for ‘Wegians, including one that bounced back off a post.

UL survived a sin-bin period for centre Harry Fleming, and with turnovers continuing to prove costly for the Galway side, Ireland Under-20 international McCarthy broke downfield to register Bohs’ bonus point try. Strang completed his brace out wide in the 72nd minute but ‘Wegians were unable to grab a late losing bonus point.

Highfield and Queen’s University played out an epic 84-point thriller at Woodleigh Park where the victorious students scored seven tries in a breathless 43-41 success. Flanker and captain David Whitten touched down twice and there were also efforts from Ali Burke, Falemaka El Vave, Conor McAuley and Andrew McGrath, along with a penalty try.

It was an incredible display of attacking rugby and score-taking from both sides. Queen’s sprinted ahead with three early tries but touchdowns from Luke Kingston and Dave O’Sullivan, allied to a Shane O’Riordan penalty from halfway, squared things up at 17-all by half-time.

Derek Suffern’s youngsters repeated their trick from the first half with three successive tries on the resumption to lead 38-17 in the 54th minute. Highfield replied with three of their own – Michael Dillane and Dave O’Connell sandwiched a penalty try – but the visitors’ seventh try just got them over the finish line, despite the Corkmen claiming a sixth late on through replacement Eddie Earle.

Meanwhile, Blackrock College blasted back with three final quarter tries to overcome fast-starting Nenagh Ormond 31-23 at New Ormond Park. Full-back Paddy Cowhey (63 minutes) and flanker Alan Francis (76) dotted down either side of a scrum-inspired penalty try as ‘Rock turned the tables on the Tipperary men.

Mick Carroll’s charges also had an assured place-kicking display from out-half Peter Quirke who had kept them in the hunt with four penalties, and 14 points in all. However, Nenagh will be kicking themselves as they had the result within their grasp, leading 23-3 thanks to Ger McNamara and Patrick Scully tries and Alex Ropeti’s brace of penalties and conversion of John Coffey’s 30th-minute try.

– Photos from Declan Forrest Photography, Luke Sheehan Photography & Harry Ryan (UL Bohemians)