All ten teams in Division 1A now have points on the board following Terenure’s hard-fought win away to UCC. At the business end, new leaders Clontarf and defending champions Lansdowne won the big clashes on the back pitches at Thomond Park and the Aviva Stadium.
ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, October 27
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SHANNON 17 CLONTARF 22, Thomond Park back pitch
Scorers: Shannon: Try: Jake Flannery; Pens: Jake Flannery 4
Clontarf: Tries: Tony Ryan, Sean O’Brien, Mick McGrath; Cons: David Joyce, Conor Kelly; Pen: David Joyce
HT: Shannon 9 Clontarf 15
Former Leinster winger Mick McGrath crossed for a 78th-minute try to rescue a win from the jaws of defeat as Clontarf edged out a young Shannon side 22-17 in All-Ireland League Division 1A this afternoon.
Jake Flannery scored all of Shannon’s points on Thomond Park’s back pitch, including an opportunist try early in the second half and a brilliant lead penalty from the halfway line with six minutes remaining. However, the 19-year-old man-of-the-match’s exploits were not enough in the end as McGrath swooped to claim four valuable points on the road.
This was Clontarf’s first league visit to Shannon since January 2013 when a McGrath brace helped them emerge with a 20-14 win from Coonagh. They opened the scoring in this rematch with a well-struck second-minute penalty from out-half David Joyce, but his opposite number Flannery was successful with two place-kicks inside 12 minutes, the second one following a strong carry by hooker Ty Chan.
Despite losing McGrath to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on, Clontarf won a relieving penalty and Jack Power’s break and well-timed offload sent supporting flanker Tony Ryan over in the corner for a well-taken opening try. Joyce converted and the visitors added a second try in the 31st minute, cleverly changing the point of attack to work winger Sean O’Brien over out wide.
Shannon closed the gap to 15-9 for half-time, the breezy conditions contributing to a Flannery penalty miss before he landed a late effort from in front of the posts following good work by replacement Pa Ryan and centres Robbie Deegan and Will Leonard. It got even better for Tom Hayes’ charges on the resumption as they cut the gap to the minimum.
‘Tarf’s handling let them down with a forward pass and then a dropped ball which Flannery seized upon to score Shannon’s only try. Following the missed conversion, Eathon Moloney went close to holding onto an intercept as the home side, buoyed by their back-to-back wins over Young Munster and Terenure College, sought another top flight scalp.
The action swung back and forth between both halves before Kelvin Brown did well to recover an overthrown lineout and a subsequent penalty – superbly struck from 50 metres out – saw Flannery clear the crossbar for a 17-15 lead late on. Nonetheless, ‘Tarf held their composure in impressive fashion to work their way downfield, gaining metres in their pods, and McGrath proved unstoppable from close range.
Replacement Conor Kelly’s conversion, coupled with ‘Tarf’s defensive pressure which forced a late lost lineout for Shannon in a very promising position, sealed a fourth victory on the trot for the north Dubliners who have taken over from Cork Constitution at the top of the table.
SHANNON: Jamie McGarry; Nathan Randles, Robbie Deegan, Will Leonard, Eathon Moloney; Jake Flannery, Aran Hehir; Conor Glynn, Ty Chan, Tony Cusack, Ronan Coffey, Jade Kriel, Colm Heffernan, Kelvin Brown, Lee Nicholas (capt).
Replacements: Jordan Prenderville, Cronan Gleeson, Luke Moylan, Jack Stafford, Patrick Ryan.
CLONTARF: Jack Power; Sean O’Brien, Michael Courtney, Matt D’Arcy, Mick McGrath; David Joyce, Angus Lloyd; Ivan Soroka, Declan Adamson, Royce Burke-Flynn, Cormac Daly, Ben Reilly, Tony Ryan, Adrian D’Arcy, Michael Noone (capt).
Replacements: Connor Johnston, Tom Ryan, Niall Carson, Andrew Feeney, Conor Kelly.
LANSDOWNE 35 CORK CONSTITUTION 27, Aviva Stadium back pitch
Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Harry Byrne 2, Daniel McEvoy, Joe O’Brien, Adam Leavy; Cons: Harry Byrne 2; Pens: Harry Byrne 2
Cork Constitution: Tries: Brian Hayes, Luke Cahill, Niall Kenneally, Jack Costigan; Cons: Aidan Moynihan 2; Pen: Aidan Moynihan
HT: Lansdowne 25 Cork Constitution 8
Harry Byrne enjoyed a dream Lansdowne debut on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch as his 20-point haul helped the defending Division 1A champions claim a 35-27 bonus point victory over Cork Constitution, who sat at the top of the table after three rounds.
Ross Byrne’s younger brother stepped in at out-half for the absent Scott Deasy, bagging two first half tries and kicking two conversions and two penalties in this repeat of last May’s final. Cork Con had opened the new season with three straight wins but that run was ended today despite a spirited second half rally.
Byrne seized an early lead with a seventh-minute penalty for Lansdowne, who had opened their win account at UCD last weekend. The Ireland Under-20 international then sped through a gap for a terrific unconverted try, but Cork Con churned out a powerful lineout maul from which lock Brian Hayes touched down in the 16th minute.
As the pace and intensity increased, Lansdowne pushed into a 15-5 lead after Tim Murphy picked out his half-back partner with an incisive pass and Byrne jinked over the whitewash and converted himself. Byrne and his opposite number Aidan Moynihan swapped penalties before Byrne was able to release winger Daniel McEvoy for a try to the left of the posts and a 25-8 half-time lead.
A late attacking spell from Con before the break went unrewarded and they leaked a fourth try just four minutes into the second period. A costly turnover led to Lansdowne winger Adam Leavy racing clear from deep to brilliantly secure the hosts’ bonus point, with the conversion missed.
Mike Ruddock’s men were cruising at this point, but a pulsating final quarter saw Cork Con draw themselves back into contention. Number 8 Luke Cahill finished off their second try from a prolonged attack, with Moynihan supplying the conversion, and following a series of drives, Jason Higgins put winger Jack Costigan over in the corner.
The margin was down to 10 points – 30-20 – at that stage, but Lansdowne reestablished territory inside the Con half, building through the phases before the pressure told and flanker Joe O’Brien scored the clinching try. There was still enough time for Con captain Niall Kenneally to crash over for a final try in injury-time, ensuring the Leesiders took home a try-scoring bonus point.
LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills (capt); Daniel McEvoy, Harry Brennan, Mark O’Keeffe, Adam Leavy; Harry Byrne, Tim Murphy; Denis Coulson, Tyrone Moran, Ian Prendiville, Oisin Dowling, Jack Dwan, David O’Connor, Aaron Conneely, Willie Earle.
Replacements: James Rael, Greg McGrath, Joe O’Brien, Gareth Molloy, Tom Roche.
CORK CONSTITUTION: Liam O’Connell; Jack Costigan, Alex McHenry, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Aidan Moynihan, Jason Higgins; Gavin Duffy, Vincent O’Brien, Brian Scott, Brian Hayes, Conor Kindregan, Joe McSwiney, Ross O’Neill, Luke Cahill.
Replacements: Patrick Casey, Dylan Murphy, Cathal O’Flaherty, Richard Cassidy, Billy Crowley.
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 37 YOUNG MUNSTER 26, College Park
Scorers: Dublin University: Tries: Michael Silvester 3, Liam Turner; Cons: James Fennelly 4; Pens: James Fennelly 3
Young Munster: Tries: Mark O’Mara, Darragh O’Neill 2; Con: Clayton Stewart; Pens: Clayton Stewart 3
HT: Dublin University 17 Young Munster 9
Dublin University delivered the goods in the form of their first league win of the season as Michael Silvester’s hat-trick of tries guided them past Young Munster on a 37-26 scoreline at College Park.
Silvester, who returned at full-back following Celtic Cup success with Leinster ‘A’, was at the end of some electric moves from the home back-line who also had a key contribution from out-half James Fennelly who nailed seven place-kicks for a 17-point haul.
Clayton Stewart and Fennelly swapped early penalties with Young Munster’s big pack beginning on the front foot. They had a grip on the breakdown battle and Stewart’s second successful penalty made it 6-3. A break from Trinity number 8 Niall O’Riordan deserved a try and so did Munsters scrum half Stephen Kerins’ effort from a tap-and-go from halfway.
Stewart’s boot put six points between the sides, but the students swung the momentum in their favour leading up to half-time. An absolute gem of a try ignited the home attack as the Cookies allowed a ball to go loose into the hands of Silvester who took off on a long cross-pitch run, linking with captain Colm Hogan who expertly beat three defenders before sending the supporting Silvester over.
Silvester doubled his tally when he followed up on a midfield break by James Hickey. Fennelly’s conversion made it 17-9 at the turnaround and he tagged on a penalty on the restart. The Cookies responded with winger Darragh O’Neill’s first try of the afternoon to cut the gap to six points.
Again the Trinity backs had the ideal response, Silvester this time turning provider as his grubber kick was gathered on the bounce by his Leinster ‘A’ colleague Liam Turner who touched down on his debut for the students. Silvester completed his hat-trick in the 56th minute, fending off a tackler and showing a smart turn of pace to pocket his side’s bonus point at 34-14.
The loss of Trinity replacement Cian O’Dwyer to the sin-bin allowed the Cookies to reduce the arrears considerably. O’Neill showed very good strength to make it over in the right corner and hooker Mark O’Mara followed him over the whitewash, making it an eight-point game. However, the hosts wrestled back control late on and a final Fennelly penalty settled the issue.
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Michael Silvester; Liam Turner, James Hickey, Philip Murphy, Colm Hogan (capt); James Fennelly, Rowan Osborne; Bart Vermeulen, Dan Sheehan, Dylan Doyle, Alex MacDonald, Arthur Greene, Paddy Nulty, Max Kearney, Niall O’Riordan.
Replacements: Joe Horan, Thomas Clarkson, Cian O’Dwyer, Ryan Baird, Robert Russell, Conor Lowndes, Conor Dunne.
YOUNG MUNSTER: Jason Kiely; Conor Hayes, Luke Fitzgerald, Evan O’Gorman, Darragh O’Neill; Clayton Stewart, Stephen Kerins; Gavin Ryan, Mark O’Mara, Conor Bartley, John Foley, Alan Kennedy (capt), Conor Mitchell, Dan Walsh, Diarmaid Dee.
Replacements: Billy Scannell, Mike Doran, Tom Goggin, Jack Lyons, Shane Airey.
UCC 17 TERENURE COLLEGE 18, the Mardyke
Scorers: UCC: Tries: Peter Sylvester, Murray Linn, Cian Bohane; Con: John Poland
Terenure College: Tries: Matthew Byrne, Stephen O’Neill 2; Pen: James Thornton
HT: UCC 5 Terenure College 10
James Thornton’s 75th-minute penalty earned a much-needed first win of the league campaign for Terenure College who pipped hosts UCC 18-17 in a thrilling finish at the Mardyke this afternoon.
Tries inside the opening 16 minutes from Matthew Byrne and Stephen O’Neill, who went on to bag a brace, also proved crucial for James Blaney’s men, who had to fight off a determined College side who also tallied up three tries through backs Peter Sylvester (19 minutes), Cian Bohane (52) and Murray Linn (56).
A backlash was expected from ‘Nure following their 41-14 home defeat to Shannon, and they were quickest out of the traps today with former Ireland Under-10 international Byrne flying up from full-back to notch his third try of the season so far. Centre O’Neill also went over out wide despite the best efforts of the covering Sylvester and Rob Hedderman in defence.
Thornton missed both conversions in the sunny conditions, and the deficit was halved to 10-5 when the in-form John Poland got the UCC backs firing and centre Sylvester was freed up for his second try in as many games. Despite O’Neill ghosting through a gap to restore ‘Nure’s 10-point lead in the 50th minute, the tide appeared to be turning.
UCC hit the front for the time with a two-try blast inside five minutes, as the hour mark approached. Former Munster centre Bohane showed his strength and speed to touch down for Brian Walsh’s youngsters, with Poland converting, and winger Linn continued his excellent start to the season with his third top flight try.
However, UCC, who remain second-from-bottom, just above Terenure on scoring difference, endured a frustrating finish for the third week running. Former UCD out-half Thornton stepped up to split the posts with five minutes remaining and provide a kick-start to ‘Nure’s season. They host Dublin University at Lakelands Park next Friday night.
UCC: Rob Hedderman; Adam O’Connor, Cian Bohane, Peter Sylvester, Murray Linn; James Taylor, John Poland; Bryan O’Connor, Paidi McCarthy, Darragh Fitzgerald, Andrew Davies, Mark Bissessar, Cian Barry, Lee McSherry, John Hodnett.
Replacements: Daniel O’Connor, Cathal Dennehy, Brian O’Mahony, Darragh Moloney, Michael Clune.
TERENURE COLLEGE: Matthew Byrne; Sam Dardis, Stephen O’Neill, Robbie Carroll, Harry Moore; James Thornton, Jamie Glynn; Tiarnan Creagh, Adam Clarkin, Jack Aungier, Michael Melia (capt), Kyle McCoy, Stephen Caffrey, Patrick Thornton, Eoin Joyce.
Replacements: Robbie Smyth, Karl O’Brien, Risteard Byrne, Conor Kelly, Kevin O’Neill.
GARRYOWEN 19 UCD 31, Dooradoyle
Scorers: Garryowen: Tries: Liam Cronin, Liam Coombes, Diarmuid Barron; Con: Peadar Collins
UCD: Tries: Ronan Foley, David Heavey 2, Nick Peters, Tim Carroll; Con: Matthew Gilsenan 3
HT: Garryowen 7 UCD 19
UCD climbed three places up to third in the Division 1A table after running out impressive 31-19 bonus point winners over Garryowen at Dooradoyle.
It is a measure of College’s current progress under head coach Andy Skehan that this was their first win at the Limerick venue since November 2015. Their settled pack, which includes former Leinster Academy hooker Sean McNulty, proved more than a match for the Light Blues, allied to the smart finishing of their backs.
Garryowen were staring at their second successive defeat when trailing 19-7 at half-time. Their well-oiled lineout maul produced a try for hooker Liam Cronin – his replacement Diarmuid Barron drove over in the second half and his Munster Academy colleague Liam Coombes also got on the scoresheet – but fast-starting UCD made sure they could not be reeled in on this occasion.
David Heavey, who impressed for Blackrock College during the 2017 Leinster Schools Senior Cup, announced himself at All-Ireland League level with two snappy tries from the right wing. Leinster ‘A’ number 8 Ronan Foley crossed for his third try of the campaign, while scrum half Nick Peters and Tim Carroll, a late inclusion at full-back, completed a memorable five-try display.
GARRYOWEN: Andrew O’Byrne; Jamie Heuston, Peadar Collins, David McCarthy, Cian O’Shea; Jamie Gavin, Rob Guerin; Ben Rowley, Liam Cronin, Andy Keating, Kevin Seymour, Dean Moore, Tim Ferguson, Darren Ryan, Sean Rennison.
Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Niall Horan, Scott Leahy, Ben Healy, Liam Coombes.
UCD: Tim Carroll; David Heavey, Paul Kiernan, Stephen Murphy, Andy Marks; Matthew Gilsenan, Nick Peters; Sam Griffin, Sean McNulty, Liam Hyland, Charlie Ryan, Tom Treacy, Jonny Guy, Alex Penny (capt), Ronan Foley.
Replacements: Bobby Sheehan, JP Phelan, Stephen McVeigh, Tom Foley, Rob Keenan.
– Photos from Inpho Photography and M Lee Media