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All-Ireland League Division 2C: Round 2 Review

All-Ireland League Division 2C: Round 2 Review

The five victorious clubs in All-Ireland League Division 2C on Saturday all claimed bonus points as the high rate of scoring from the opening round continued in the dry conditions.



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Bangor 39 Thomond 10, Upritchard Park
Bruff 45 City of Derry 15, Kilballyowen Park
Omagh 32 Malahide 17, Thomas Mellon Playing Fields
Seapoint 10 Midleton 26, Kilbogget Park
Tullamore 17 Ballina 36, Spollanstown

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.

Bangor’s impressive start to the new season continued with a 39-10 bonus point win at home to Thomond. New Zealander Liam Preston, on his first league start at scrum half, opened the scoring with a second minute try which showcased his speed and strength on the back of a brilliant run in the build-up by player-coach Michael Ferguson.

Declan Maguire added the extras and although Thomond lost a player to the sin-bin for a stray boot on Preston, out-half Evan Cusack got them off the mark with a subsequent penalty. However, Bangor turned a Thomond knock-on into a acrobatic try for strong-running centre Mark Widdowson. Maguire converted and added a penalty to suddenly open up a 17-3 lead.

The Soda Cakes succeeded in closing the gap again, Cusack converting his own try following a short but well-executed attacking spell. It was an extremely open first quarter and Thomond would have been pleased with just a seven-point deficit as they had a wind advantage to come in the second period. But Bangor had other ideas.

After a couple of missed scoring opportunities against the resolute Thomond defence, the Seasiders nabbed try number three when some patient approach work involving James Henly and Lewis Stevenson ended with centre Adam Alexander diving over the whitewash. Number 10 Maguire’s conversion attempt came back off a post.

It took just six minutes of the second half for Bangor to move 27-10 ahead with the bonus point pocketed. Full-back Phil Broderick countered from a kick gathered in his 22, gaining good yardage before Maguire took it on, cleverly chipping over the defensive line and the ball sat up just enough for the onrushing Widdowson to collect and dot down.

Thomond enjoyed a couple of prolonged periods within try-scoring range but they had a try ruled out for a double movement. There was a yellow card each as the intensity increased again for the closing stages. Supported by fit-again replacement Jamie Clegg, Bangor tighthead James Leary drove over the line for a Maguire-converted try.

Ferguson’s charges, who are now top of the table, made sure they finished the game on a high with their sixth try of the afternoon. Clegg was involved again, following up on good work by loosehead Evan Wellard-McMillan, before an inside pass released number 8 Mike Weir and his determination took him over in the corner.

Midleton host Bangor in a much-anticipated clash next Saturday, and the Corkmen warmed up for that match with a 26-10 bonus point success at Seapoint. Flanker Rob Carey touched down twice at Kilbogget Park and centre Benji Cottle and replacement Louis Farnham scored a try apiece, with Stuart Lee supplying the remaining six points from the tee.

Bruff finished with a convincing flourish against an improving City of Derry side, running out 45-15 bonus point winners thanks to second half tries from Cillian Rea, Tom O’Dwyer, Cian Tiernan and Eamon Costelloe along with a 40-metre intercept score from replacement Paddy Clery.

It was a tight contest during the opening 40 minutes at Kilballyowen Park, with Bruff determined to bounce back from a poor performance in Midleton. Derry centre David Graham crossed in the 20th minute after Bruff talisman Tony Cahill had been sin-binned for illegally preventing a certain try, but Kieran McManus’ score from an overlap, adding to Liam Barrett’s early effort, had the hosts leading 12-10 at half-time.

The Ulstermen lost winger Paddy Blennerhasset to a bad knee injury, and missed tackles cost them dearly in the second period as Bruff cantered clear on the scoreboard despite lock O’Dwyer spending time in the bin. Tiarnan Thornton picked up a knock and was unable to continue before his back row colleague, Derry captain Stephen Corr, scored a late consolation try.

Meanwhile, Omagh were staring at their second league defeat when Malahide winger Marcus McAllister notched an early brace at the Thomas Mellon Playing Fields. It was a different story come full-time as the Accies accumulated four tries to take a 32-17 verdict and chalk up their first ‘W’ of the campaign.

It was a disastrous start for the hosts with those two McAllister tries inside 12 minutes, coupled with a yellow card, but Phil Marshall’s side gradually grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck with their strong set piece game coming to the fore. Stuart Ballantine knocked over two penalties either side of tries from front rowers Richard Hemphill and Kyle Alexander.

The try of the match was an excellent effort off a 48th-minute Omagh scrum, captain Stewart McCain’s inviting pass seeing Ryan Mitchell hit the line at pace and the nippy winger ghosted through a gap, evading two defenders and slipping out of McAllister’s attempted tackle before diving in under the posts.

Omagh’s persistence was rewarded with their bonus point try in the 73rd minute, Malahide conceding a five-metre lineout from a kick and replacement Mervyn Edgar plunged over from the resulting set piece. Malahide’s new player-coach Brendan Guilfoyle rallied his troops with a try – also from a lineout – but it was too little, too late for the north Dubliners.

All-Ireland Provincial League champions Ballina are nicely positioned in third place after backing up their first round result with a 36-17 bonus point victory away to Tullamore. Despite a talismanic performance from try-scoring flanker Kevin Browne and other tries from Jose Mendez and Sean Rigney, the Tulliers were second best on the day.

New Zealander Chris O’Neill doubled up with two tries for Ballina, adding to his match-winning effort against Malahide last week, while winger Darragh Whyte also helped himself to a brace. Consistently impressive out-half Kieran Lindsay weighed in with the other 16 points, including his second try of the league run.

– Photos from Corinne Beattie (Ballina) & Ian Adamson (Bangor)