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All-Ireland League Division 2B: Round 4 Review

All-Ireland League Division 2B: Round 4 Review

The top four teams in All-Ireland League Division 2B, headed up by MU Barnhall and Greystones, have opened up a three-point lead on the chasing pack. Meanwhile, bottom side Rainey Old Boys ended their losing run with a morale-boosting win over Corinthians.



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Belfast Harlequins 21 MU Barnhall 38, Deramore Park
Rainey Old Boys 21 Corinthians 17, Hatrick Park
Sligo 20 Wanderers 28, Hamilton Park
Sunday’s Well 20 Dungannon 8, Irish Independent Park
Skerries 19 Greystones 55, Holmpatrick (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.

They may have had a traffic-laden three-hour journey to Holmpatrick via the M50, but Greystones hit top speed in the second half of their Friday Night Lights match against Skerries, posting a 55-19 bonus point win. A seven-try haul was their reward for an adventurous attack and some sharp handling and lines of running.

Skerries were still very much in the contest at half-time, just 17-12 behind thanks to four well-struck penalties from out-half Billy Mulcahy, including wind-backed strike from 50 metres out. Greystones’ first half tally came from Andy Roberts’ second-minute try from an advancing five-metre scrum, a superb solo try from Paudie Geoghegan and a 26th-minute Andrew Kealy penalty.

Turning around with the backing of a strong wind, ‘Stones went on to dominate proceedings and a cracking individual score from number 8 Ross McAuley was Skerries’ only reply. Replacement Michael Douglas, debutant winger Andrew Lynch and James Dempsey maintained the visitors’ high standards with a try apiece, joining Ian Cullinane and Con Callan in crossing the whitewash – the latter ran in an intercept score.

Although Belfast Harlequins provided a stiff test for MU Barnhall, the leaders pulled through to win 38-21 despite losing forwards Bryan de Carvalho and Brendan McSorley to early yellow cards in both halves. ‘Quins led 8-0 at one stage and 11-7 at half-time, with their two tries scored by Christian Bennison and David Devine.

Versatile back Matthew Alborough, who showed his versatility by starting on the right wing, ran in two of Barnhall’s six tries. The last one of the lot saw left winger Conor Lacey take his season’s haul to five tries already, while Darren Hudson, Eoghain Quinn and replacement Adam Chester also made it over the line.

Half-backs Jason Bloomfield and Andrew Magrath combined for 16 points in Rainey Old Boys’ much-needed 21-17 success at home to Corinthians. Winger Oisin Quinn burst clear from halfway to score the opening try and the best of the lot, with scrum half Bloomfield’s switch of direction in the build-up setting up the opportunity.

Number 10 Magrath turned provider to send Bloomfield over in the 19th minute, but Corinthians closed the gap to 10-5 by half-time and some strong set piece work brought them level. Two Magrath penalties steadied Rainey at 16-10, with number 8 Paddy Magowan standing out as a ball carrier, and Bloomfield ran in an opportunist 62nd-minute score, having gobbled up a loose ball on halfway, close to the touchline.

The bonus point still to aim for, Rainey were unable to hold onto the momentum and the visitors came back strongly in the closing stages. Corinthians were denied a try by a terrific cover tackle from Rainey centre Damien McMurray, yet their impressive scrummaging delivered in injury-time when they earned a penalty try for a losing bonus point.

Despite outscoring their visitors by four tries to three, Sligo lost out 28-20 to Wanderers in a lively encounter at Hamilton Park. The Dubliners’ reliable out-half Peter Brougham had a vital contribution of 13 points from the tee, including an opening penalty and one with five minutes remaining.

Centres Rob O’Beirne and Martin O’Neill scored first half tries for the Chaps, who led 17-10 at the turnaround. A nice switch move in midfield released the latter for his converted score which split the sides at half-time. Sligo’s best attacks saw Kuba Wojtkowicz power over from Mark Butler’s neat set-up, and the latter’s long pass gave Calum Goddard the time and space to put Philip Carter over in the corner.

Belgian winger Martin Bosch struck for Wanderers’ third try out wide, adding to an early second half penalty from Brougham. Goddard responded by finishing off a sweeping back-line move in the corner, but Brougham’s 75th-minute penalty had his team out of reach. Sligo did salvage a try-scoring bonus point thanks to centre Ryan Feehily’s late unconverted effort.

Sunday’s Well were straight back to winning ways with a 20-8 victory over 14-man Dungannon at Irish Independent Park. The Tyrone side had experienced prop Glenn Sinnamon sent off following an off-theball altercation with ‘the Well scrum half Peter Arigho which left them down a player for 50-plus minutes.

A strong wind also had a significant impact on proceedings and a lone Lucca Avelli penalty gave ‘Gannon a 3-0 interval lead. The defensive efforts of Sunday’s Well when facing into the wind in the first half – centres Cyprien Jouve and Joshua Barnes made some telling tackles – paid dividends during the closing 40 minutes.

The early stages of the second period saw Jouve impress in attack as his break into the Dungannon 22 paved the way for winger Sean Keohane’s converted try. Then a surging run from Eoin Geary saw the out-half gain ground on the left before offloading brilliantly for winger James Kiernan to outfox the covering defender and make it 12-3 to the Corkmen.

‘Gannon capitalised on a James Mulcahy yellow card for an early tackle, using a series of penalties to tee up a Mark Riddell five-pointer from a well-executed lineout maul. With their lead cut to four points, an excellent long-range penalty from Geary kept the ‘Well on course and the issue was settled by replacement winger Paddy Hegarty’s injury-time try, via a Michael Boland break.

– Photos from MU Barnhall RFC, Charles Henderson (Rainey Old Boys RFC), Jean McConnell (Sligo RFC) & Sunday’s Well RFC