Two results really stood out in All-Ireland League Division 2C last Saturday. Midleton’s lead at the top of the table was cut to a single point after their winning run was ended by Malahide, while bottom side Tullamore stunned Bangor 27-0 with Barry Bracken and Karl Dunne starring for John Burns’ men.
ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE DIVISION 2C: Saturday, November 3
ROUND 5 RESULTS –
Ballina 35 Thomond 20, Heffernan Park
Bruff 20 Seapoint 5, Kilballyowen Park
City of Derry 10 Omagh 19, Craig Thompson Stadium, Judge’s Road
Midleton 6 Malahide 14, Towns Park
Tullamore 27 Bangor 0, 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.
The familiar strains of ‘The Boys from the County Mayo’ were heard at Heffernan Park once again after Ballina put five tries and 35 points past Thomond to move back to second place in the table. They had to come from behind, Evan Cusack knocking over two penalties to give the Soda Cakes a 6-0 lead that their possession and play deserved.
Having lost to Bruff in the previous round, the Moy men needed a lift and they got it when the in-form Kieran Lindsay, who switched to inside centre, was put through by scrum half Mickey Murphy for his fourth try of the season, three minutes before half-time. The hosts turned around at the break leading 14-6 thanks to a multi-phase attack and flanker Conor Mason popping up on John Keaveney’s shoulder to score.
However, despite their bigger pack being moved around, Thomond were back within a point after Mason saw yellow for a lineout infringment and the visitors’ young out-half Cusack dodged a couple of tackles to register a much-needed seven-pointer. However, Thomond soon lost big lock Aaron McCloskey to the sin-bin just as Ballina full-back Chris O’Neill was on the cusp of scoring.
The home side’s third try arrived just a couple of minutes later when left winger Alex Corduff cut through in an incisive move, with Lindsay’s extras making it 21-13. It was Corduff’s own searing break which led to O’Neill to bagging the bonus point score, and Connacht Under-19 pair Billy McVann and Bradley Nealon, who were both sprung the bench, combined for the latter to claim try number five.
Lindsay added his third successful conversion of the second half, pushing his season’s haul out to 42 points, before Thomond hit back with a late try from centre Richie Ryan. It was not enough for a losing bonus point and, worryingly, they have fallen to ninth spot on the back of four successive defeats.
Bruff were the only Munster winners in round five thanks to their 20-5 dismissal of Seapoint at Kilballyowen Park. Captain John Clery’s early maul try was followed by two touchdowns from Kiwi flanker Taylor Jones, the result of some excellent handling and patient build-up play which ground the Dubliners’ defence into submission.
The Limerick men had enough time to build for a bonus point try, but credit to Seapoint’s defence, they restricted their opportunities and Bruff were also guilty of being a little too over eager at times. Now up to third, Bruff’s next assignment is a long trip north to play Bangor, who dropped to fourth following a surprise loss to struggling Tullamore.
The Tulliers snapped their four-match losing run by scoring 27 unanswered points at home to high-flying Bangor. The dull, wet and windy conditions at Spollanstown led to a low-scoring first half, a seventh-minute penalty try giving the Offaly men a 7-0 lead. It was a double blow for Bangor as they lost player-coach Michael Ferguson to the sin-bin for dragging down the hosts’ well-executed lineout drive.
Tullamore’s set piece was the foundation of their win, with man-of-the-match Barry Bracken getting through a huge amount of work up front. The visitors defended manfully and avoided any more concessions from mauls before half-time, but the excellent Karl Dunne soon drove over two penalties – both top-drawer strikes – to put 13 points between the sides, while Nathan Graham missed a lone effort for Bangor.
Centre Dunne increased his influence with a slick 67th-minute try in the right corner after the Bangor back-line had been stretched. He added a terrific conversion for a 20-0 scoreline, and it was Dunne’s cross-field kick from a quickly-taken penalty that played in winger Tom Gilligan for Tullamore’s third and final try, six minutes from the end.
City of Derry suffered their first home defeat of the season, going down 19-10 to Omagh in a very physical north-west derby. Injuries picked up by Simon Logue, Richard Baird and Callum O’Hagan hampered Derry’s hopes, but they still held the Accies scoreless during a bruising first half at Craig Thompson Stadium.
However, player-backs coach and out-half Richard McCarter’s sin-binning just before the break proved costly for Derry. Five minutes into the second period, Omagh opened the scoring when they countered brilliantly and centre Luke Hanson sped clear from just inside his own half, stepping inside the final defender to go in under the posts.
A dominant scrum from Derry saw their influential number 8 and captain Stephen Corr pick up and dive over to close the gap to 7-5, but two tries in quick succession ensured the visitors took control. Flanker Adam Longwell crossed in the 64th minute, benefiting from Stewart McCain’s quick tap, Scott Elliott’s break and centre Matthew Eccles’ final pass.
Three minutes later, full-back Neil Brown jinked over for Omagh’s third try. League debutant David Jackson got over in the corner for Derry in the 74th minute, but the conversion was missed and both sides missed out in their bonus point search. Derry went closest but openside Craig Huey was unable to hold onto a pass that would have seen him score.
Intercept tries in each half from centre Rory Kavanagh and winger Marcus McAllister guided Malahide to a hard-fought 14-6 victory away to table toppers Midleton. Out-half Stuart Lee kicked two penalties to hit 50 points for the campaign already, but there was no stopping Malahide as they became the first away team to win a league game at Towns Park since Bruff last December.
– Photos from Sandra Armstrong Photography, Ballina RFC & Bangor RFC