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All-Ireland League Division 2B: Round 3 Review

All-Ireland League Division 2B: Round 3 Review

Dungannon have climbed into the top four on the back of their Ulster derby victory over Belfast Harlequins, while Corinthians opened their win account against in-form Sunday’s Well, and MU Barnhall continue to set the pace with their third bonus point success.

ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE DIVISION 2B: Saturday, October 13

ROUND 3 RESULTS –

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Corinthians 23 Sunday’s Well 19, Corinthian Park
Dungannon 16 Belfast Harlequins 9, Stevenson Park
Greystones 42 Rainey Old Boys 28, Dr. Hickey Park
MU Barnhall 25 Sligo 17, Parsonstown
Wanderers 16 Skerries 16, Merrion Road

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.

Corinthians posted their first league win under new head coach JP Cooney, leaving it late to overcome a strong Sunday’s Well side 23-19 at Corinthian Park. Flanker Nick Harrison powered over for the vital try in the final play, with impressive out-half Mark McDermott starring with an 18-point salvo.

McDermott started and finished the scoring in an evenly-balanced opening 40 minutes. Both teams should be credited for their standard of play in difficult conditions, with Sunday’s Well full-back Michael Boland standing out for his breaking ability and attacking nous. It was one of his runs from deep which teed up out-half Eoin Geary for the game’s opening try, converted by the scorer.

Trailing 7-3, Corinthians hammered away through their forwards with a couple of penalties kicked to the corner. The ‘Well stood firm, led by tough-tackling lock Joshua Barnes, but the Galway club took the right option at the right time to move the ball to the backs and McDermott slipped through to score and convert.

Boland replied for the visitors with a terrific individual try, running a kick back from the ‘Well 10-metre line and showing his canny knack of evading defenders before kicking through. The covering Corinthians player could not gather the ball cleanly and Boland darted through to ground it over the line.

Geary’s conversion from the touchline narrowly missed the target, before McDermott swept over a 39th minute penalty to nudge Cooney’s men back in front for half-time – 13-12. The Corinthians number 10 tagged on his third successful penalty, but the ‘Well added to their try tally when captain Cyprien Jouve took a great line to slice through and Geary nailed an excellent conversion for 19-16.

The Corkmen defended stoutly as Corinthians threw everything at them during the final quarter, even winning a scrum penalty while down to seven players in the pack following a yellow card. However, the hosts’ persistence paid off as Harrison supplied the finishing touches to a move which began back inside the Corinthians.

Meanwhile, Greystones’ third straight victory saw them register their first try-scoring bonus point as they accounted for Rainey Old Boys on a 42-28 scoreline. A devastating six-minute spell, early in the second half, saw ‘Stones run in three tries in front of their appreciative Dr. Hickey Park faithful.

Former Old Belvedere winger/full-back Josh Glynn touched down twice to set the hosts on their way, although a sin-binning and Rainey’s improved play squared things up at 16-all by half-time. The Magherafelt men fell flat on the resumption, though, as Con Callan broke through to set up winger Ferdia Kenny for the first of those quick-fire tries.

A tremendous length-of-the-field attack was finished by Killian Marmion for ‘Stones’ bonus point, and Kenny outpaced the defence for his second after gobbling up captain Andrew Kealy’s cross-field kick. A Michael Douglas try made it 28 unanswered points, although Rainey gained some consolation as versatile forward Michael McCusker, scoring for the second week running, joined Michael O’Neill and George Fritz in crossing the whitewash.

Argentinian centre Lucca Avelli’s place-kicking accuracy proved the difference as he kicked Dungannon to a 16-9 derby victory over Ulster rivals Belfast Harlequins. There was little between the sides at Stevenson Park, ‘Quins leading 6-0 after a try-less first half and then 9-7, thanks to penalties from Mark Gribben (2) and Paul Kerr.

Two closing strikes from Avelli got the job done for Andy Hughes’ charges who have jumped four places into third, sitting six points behind front runners MU Barnhall. The in-form Blue Bulls made it a hat-trick of bonus point wins as they saw off a stern challenge from Sligo – 25-17 – at Parsonstown.

A sustained period of pick-and-goes resulted in Barnhall flanker Andrew Purcell opening the scoring with an unconverted try, although he picked up an injury in the process. Sligo had started well in the heavy drizzle, with their lineout providing a solid platform, and deservedly got off the mark with a Niall Gray penalty on the half hour mark.

Another forwards-inspired try, finished by scrum half Rob Holt, gave the home side a 12-3 buffer at the break, but Paddy Pearson’s half-time words worked a treat and Sligo moved ahead within 15 minutes of the restart. Firstly, lock Rob Holian charged through from a loose ball on the Barnhall 10-metre line, bringing play up to five metres out before number 8 Ross Hickey drove over for Gray to convert.

An upset was on the cards when the Barnhall defence was unlocked by Calum Goddard’s pacy break into the 22 via a Mark Butler cross-field kick, and centre Ryan Feehily, running a good support line, followed up to score in the corner. A superb conversion from Gray made it 17-12.

Barnhall failed to panic and gradually wrestled back control, showing exactly why they are being talked about as promotion contenders. They reeled off tries on the 60th and 70th minutes, the latter one from Purcell’s replacement Dan Murphy, with Stephen O’Dwyer coming off the bench to kick a late penalty which took the losing bonus point away from Sligo.

Dublin rivals Wanderers and Skerries could not be separated at Merrion Road, the Chaps erasing a 10-3 half-time deficit to share the spoils in a 16-all draw. Patrick Collins’ side remain in the top half of the table, on eight points, with the eighth-placed Goats avoiding defeat for the first time this season.