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All-Ireland League Division 1A: Round 6 Review

All-Ireland League Division 1A: Round 6 Review

The latest round of All-Ireland Division 1A action had an average of seven tries per match as leaders Clontarf, Cork Constitution, Lansdowne and Dublin University all enjoyed bonus point wins, while Ben Healy’s right boot did the damage for Garryowen in their Limerick derby.

ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, November 24

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DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 31 SHANNON 19, College Park
Scorers: Dublin University: Tries: Giuseppe Coyne, Thomas Clarkson, Dan Sheehan, Liam Turner; Cons: James Fennelly 4; Pen: James Fennelly
Shannon: Tries: Jake Flannery, Craig Casey, Ikem Ugwueru; Cons: Conor Fitzgerald 2

HT: Dublin University 10 Shannon 7

A two-try blitz from replacement Thomas Clarkson and Liam Turner, just past the hour mark, steered Dublin University to an impressive 31-19 bonus point victory over Shannon at College Park on Saturday afternoon.

Full-back Turner’s 65th-minute bonus point score, which saw him link brilliantly with centre James Hickey, was a fitting way for Trinity to seal their third win in a row which has lifted them into the top four. Shannon have dropped two places to fifth in the table.

Tom Hayes’ side were stung in to action by the concession of a third minute try. The hosts tapped a penalty and then played an advantage during which prop Giuseppe Coyne took a nice line onto a pass to score with the conversion added by in-form out-half James Fennelly, the division’s top scorer with 53 points before kick-off.

Shannon gradually got their attack going, a Charlie Carmody steal and a break from number 10 Conor Fitzgerald preceding a Pa Ryan try which was disallowed. However, successive penalties at a five-metre scrum saw Trinity tighthead Dylan Doyle sin-binned in the 25th minute and subsequent pressure from another scrum led to full-back Jake Flannery touching down from close range.

Turnover ball set up Fennelly to kick Trinity back in front in the 38th minute, and 10-7 is how it stayed up to half-time. Following a very physical first half, it was Tony Smeeth’s youngsters who kept up the momentum on the restart. Six minutes in, hooker Dan Sheehan delighted the home crowd with a terrific surge for the line, exposing some poor tackling from the visitors.

Fennelly converted to open up a 17-7 lead, and both sides probed with the boot before teenage scrum half Craig Casey had an excellent impact off the Shannon bench. With 55 minutes on the clock, the former Ireland Under-18 Schools captain wriggled through for a try on his senior debut for the club, which Fitzgerald converted.

Once more Trinity lifted the pace with a quickly-taken penalty, their forwards carrying up close before Clarkson managed to muscle over just to the left of the posts. The students only need a sniff of a chance and that is what happened when Hickey and Turner combined to put 17 points between the sides with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Ennis youngster Ikem Ugwueru opened his All-Ireland League account late on with an unconverted try out wide, set up by Fitzgerald’s penalty to the corner and a bout of forward pressure. However, Shannon’s bonus point push faltered with a subsequent knock-on in attack as Trinity were left to celebrate their five-point haul.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Liam Turner; Donal Liddy, James Hickey, Philip Murphy, Ronan Quinn; James Fennelly, Rowan Osborne; Giuseppe Coyne, Dan Sheehan, Dylan Doyle, Arthur Greene, Jack Dunne, Johnny McKeown, Max Kearney, Niall O’Riordan.

Replacements: Joe Horan, Thomas Clarkson, Ryan Baird, Conor Lowndes, Roghan McMahon.

SHANNON: Jake Flannery; Ikem Ugwueru, Pa Ryan, Will Leonard, Eathon Moloney; Conor Fitzgerald, Jack Stafford; Conor Glynn, Eoghan Clarke, Tony Cusack, Luke Clohessy, Jade Kriel (capt), Odhran Ring, Charlie Carmody, Kelvin Brown.

Replacements: Ty Chan, Sam Karlsen, Luke Moylan, Craig Casey, Jack O’Donnell.

UCC 22 CLONTARF 37, the Mardyke
Scorers: UCC: Tries: Ryan Murphy, Rob Hedderman, Cian Bohane; Cons: James Taylor 2; Pen: James Taylor
Clontarf: Tries: Cormac Daly, David Hawkshaw, Penalty try, Sean O’Brien, Cian O’Donoghue; Cons: David Hawkshaw 2, Pen try con; Pens: David Hawkshaw, David Joyce

HT: UCC 15 Clontarf 22

All-Ireland League Division 1A leaders Clontarf claimed their first try-scoring bonus point of the season as they overcame UCC 37-22 in an entertaining eight-try contest at the Mardyke.

It was ‘Tarf’s sixth straight win, keeping them a point clear of Cork Constitution at the summit, and owed much to a 22-point scoring blitz either side of half-time. A penalty try and two touchdowns from wingers Sean O’Brien and Cian O’Donoghue took them clear of the Cork students.

UCC’s fit-again number 8 Ryan Murphy announced his return with a well-taken seventh-minute try, set up by a terrific pass from former Munster centre Cian Bohane. Clontarf bounced back to lead 12-7 by the end of the first quarter, lock Cormac Daly plunging over from close range and Leinster ‘A’ out-half David Hawkshaw sniping through a gap for the visitors’ second try.

Brian Walsh’s youngsters moved back in front thanks to a James Taylor penalty and full-back Rob Hedderman’s 26th-minute try, but ‘Tarf collected 10 crucial points to head into half-time with a spring in their step. Their forwards wore down the UCC defence for a penalty try and a late Hawkshaw penalty made it 22-15.

Four minutes after the restart they had their bonus point, O’Brien showing his pace and strength to cut through the defence for a Hawkshaw-converted score. O’Brien then supplied the assist for try number five in the 57th minute, doing well to gather Angus Lloyd’s pass and quickly feed the waiting O’Donoghue to finish in the left corner.

Bohane lifted UCC with a classy solo try six minutes later, breaking through to score under the posts. Taylor’s conversion cut the gap to 34-22, putting the students within reach of at least one or two bonus points. However, Clontarf showed exactly why they are top of the table with a clinching 68th-minute penalty from replacement David Joyce and solid defence late on.

UCC: Rob Hedderman; Murray Linn, Cian Bohane, Peter Sylvester, Adam O’Connor; James Taylor, John Poland; Shane O’Hanlon, Paidi McCarthy, Bryan O’Connor, Cian Barry, Andrew Davies, Brian O’Mahony, John Hodnett, Ryan Murphy (capt).

Replacements: Travis Coomey, Darragh Fitzgerald, Lee McSherry, Mark Bissessar, Colin Sisk.

CLONTARF: Jack Power; Sean O’Brien, Michael Courtney, Matt D’Arcy, Cian O’Donoghue; David Hawkshaw, Angus Lloyd; Ivan Soroka, Paddy Finlay, Royce Burke-Flynn, Cormac Daly, Ben Reilly, Tom Ryan, Tony Ryan, Michael Noone (capt).

Replacements: Declan Adamson, Brian Deeney, Martin Kelly, Mark O’Sullivan, David Joyce. 

UCD 3 CORK CONSTITUTION 31, Belfield Bowl
Scorers: UCD: Pen: Matthew Gilsenan
Cork Constitution: Tries: Vincent O’Brien, Rob Jermyn, Jason Higgins, Shane Daly, Billy Crowley; Cons: Aidan Moynihan 3

HT: UCD 3 Cork Constitution 19

Cork Constitution maintained the heat on Clontarf at the top of Divison 1A with a convincing 31-3 bonus point triumph over UCD at the Belfield Bowl on Saturday.

Adding to first half tries from Vincent O’Brien, Rob Jermyn and Jason Higgins, Ireland Sevens international Shane Daly and Billy Crowley both crossed late on for a rampant Constitution side, who remain just a point behind ‘Tarf and five clear of Lansdowne in third.

Con also kept Garryowen to just three points last time out, and their defence again denied their opponents a try as the students, who have had a mixed campaign to date, were held out. They did take the lead thanks to out-half Matthew Gilsenan splitting the posts with a fourth minute penalty.

UCD had the Con defence on its toes early on, but a powerful carry from Ireland Sevens international Alex McHenry, coupled with an offload to Conor Kindregan, got the visitors on the front foot. Aidan Moynihan missed a penalty attempt soon after, but he sent a second penalty to touch as the Con pack took control.

A well-worked lineout maul saw hooker O’Brien touch down, and although it went unconverted, a second try soon followed for the Leesiders. Possession from a scrum sent winger Jermyn breaking through a gap to touch down at the posts and Moynihan converted for 12-3. He also added the extras to their third try of the half, which came on the back of UCD centre Stephen Murphy’s sin-binning.

Constitution had a series of scrums close to the posts before their relentless pressure paid off with scrum half Higgins finishing off from close range for a 19-3 interval lead. UCD sought out a try on the resumption, aided by Murphy’s return and Con lock Brian Hayes’ yellow card for a high tackle on Sam Griffin.

Andy Skehan’s charges worked their way into try-scoring range but a superb defensive turnover saw Con snaffle possession and they largely controlled possession for the remainder of the third quarter. Although UCD also tightened up in defence, flanker Joe McSwiney made a considerable impact off the Con bench as did Munster Academy ace Daly who slotted into the back-three.

Indeed, it was Daly who finally secured the bonus point score by powering over off a Moynihan pass, nine minutes from the end. The out-half converted, and UCD could not halt winger Crowley’s progress as he snapped up a last-minute try as Brian Hickey’s men ran out worthy 28-point winners.

UCD: Tim Carroll; Rob Keenan, Andy Marks, Stephen Murphy, Oisin O’Meara; Matthew Gilsenan, Nick Peters; Sam Griffin, Bobby Sheehan, Liam Hyland, Charlie Ryan, Tom Treacy, Ben Murray, Alex Penny (capt), Stephen McVeigh.

Replacements: Sean Molony, JP Phelan, Emmet MacMahon, Shane Murphy, Ian O’Kelly.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Liam O’Connell; Billy Crowley, Alex McHenry, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Aidan Moynihan, Jason Higgins; Gavin Duffy, Vincent O’Brien, Dylan Murphy, Brian Hayes, Conor Kindregan, Kevin Sheahan, Ross O’Neill, Luke Cahill.

Replacements: Patrick Casey, Brendan Quinlan, Joe McSwiney, Richard Cassidy, Shane Daly.

LANSDOWNE 41 TERENURE COLLEGE 12, Aviva Stadium back pitch
Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Eamonn Mills 2, Harry Brennan, Peter Sullivan, Joe O’Brien, Tyrone Moran, Daniel McEvoy; Cons: Scott Deasy 3
Terenure College: Tries: Matthew Byrne, Penalty try; Con: Pen try con

HT: Lansdowne 31 Terenure College 0

Defending champions Lansdowne kept pace with Division 1A’s pace-setting sides after thumping bottom-placed Terenure College 41-12 on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch on Friday night.

Full-back and captain Eamonn Mills was to the fore once again with a try in each half, while fellow backs Harry Brennan, Peter Sullivan and Daniel McEvoy, and forwards Joe O’Brien and Tyrone Moran, also touched down in a resounding seven-try success.

Mills continued where he left off against Young Munster in the last round, running in the opening try to take his season’s haul to four. Terenure’s brittle defence, which hampered them in their four defeats over the opening five rounds, continued to struggle to plug the holes created by the hosts’ powerful pack and pacy outside backs.

Centre Brennan, who was recently part of an Ireland Sevens trip to Elche, combined with returning out-half Scott Deasy for try number two, and the latter ended a dominant first half display with three successful conversions as further tries followed from Sullivan, O’Brien and hooker Moran who was driven over from a lineout maul.

Trailing 31-0 at the turnaround, Terenure boss James Blaney rallied his troops and they forced a penalty try to take the bare look off their side of the scoreboard. Despite full-back Matthew Byrne going on to score his fourth try of the campaign, ‘Nure, who had Joe Schmidt’s son Tim at scrum half, were unable to contain Lansdowne’s dynamic attack.

Although the bonus point was in the bag, Mike Ruddock’s men took the opportunity to enhance their scoring difference with Mills completing his brace and replacement McEvoy getting himself on the scoresheet, both players striking for well-taken scores out wide as Lansdowne made it four victories on the bounce.

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills (capt); Mark O’Keeffe, Harry Brennan, Tom Roche, Peter Sullivan; Scott Deasy, Tim Murphy; Denis Coulson, Tyrone Moran, Greg McGrath, Willie Earle, David O’Connor, Joe O’Brien, Aaron Conneely, Jack O’Sullivan.

Replacements: James Rael, Ian Prendiville, Tom Murphy, Gareth Molloy, Daniel McEvoy.

TERENURE COLLEGE: Matthew Byrne; Sam Coghlan Murray, Jamie Glynn, Robbie Carroll, Harry Moore; James Thornton, Tim Schmidt; Karl O’Brien, Robbie Smyth, Tiarnan Creagh, Aaron Ryan, Matthew Caffrey, Michael Melia, Adam Clarkin, Kyle McCoy (capt).

Replacements: Liam McMahon, Isaac Vaughan, Conor O’Sullivan, Conor Kelly, Erik Wijten. 

GARRYOWEN 32 YOUNG MUNSTER 26, Dooradoyle (played on Friday)
Scorers: Garryowen: Tries: Cian O’Shea 2; Cons: Ben Healy 2; Pens: Ben Healy 6
Young Munster: Tries: Evan O’Gorman, Alan Tynan, Conor Mitchell, Conor Phillips; Cons: Shane Airey 3

HT: Garryowen 16 Young Munster 14

Munster Academy starlet Ben Healy was Garryowen’s goal-kicking hero at Dooradoyle on Friday night as his 22-point haul guided them past local rivals Young Munster on a 32-26 scoreline.

It was a much-needed win for the Light Blues who had lost their last three league games to slide to eighth overall. Munsters had lost three of their most recent Division 1A fixtures and although they scored four tries in this hotly-contested Limerick derby, their indiscipline costly them dearly as Healy’s right boot had the biggest say.

Pacy winger Cian O’Shea opened the scoring for the hosts with a well-taken intercept try in the third minute, converted by teenager Healy. Another player with international experience, Young Munster full-back Alan Tynan, made the break which led to Evan O’Gorman’s levelling score barely two minutes later.

Healy’s first penalty goal of the night was cancelled out by a Tynan try, which was set up by scrum half Stephen Kerins’ quick tap and well-timed pass. Shane Airey converted both of Munsters’ tries but his opposite number took advantage of a rising penalty count to land two more three-pointers and give Garryowen a 16-14 half-time lead.

Healy increased his influence with a well-struck 44th-minute penalty before Conan Doyle’s charges worked the ball wide for O’Shea to complete his brace in the corner, extending the gap to 12 points. However, the home side suffered a big blow when their Munster Academy winger Liam Coombes was red carded for tackling a player in the air.

Down to 14 men entering the final quarter, Garryowen leaked an immediate try as the Cookies’ industrious blindside Conor Mitchell crashed over from a well-executed lineout maul. Airey missed the conversion at 26-19 before Healy, who played five times for Munster ‘A’ during the recent Celtic Cup competition, hit back with his penultimate penalty goal.

Ireland Under-19-capped replacement Conor Phillips threw the game right back into the melting pot with a brilliant try from halfway, showing his pace to go all the way down the left wing and cut in for Munsters’ bonus point try. Airey’s conversion from straight in front cut the gap to just three points.

The numerical advantage should have helped the Cookies push on in the crucial closing stages, yet it was resilient Garryowen who prevailed. They won a vital scrum penalty five metres from their own whitewash, and another costly penalty from Munsters allowed man-of-the-match Healy to seal the result from the tee.

GARRYOWEN: Andrew O’Byrne; Cian O’Shea, Dave McCarthy, Peadar Collins, Liam Coombes; Ben Healy, Rob Guerin; Mike O’Donnell, Liam Cronin, Ben Rowley, Kevin Seymour, Dean Moore (capt), Tim Ferguson, Darren Ryan, Alan Fitzgerald.

Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Niall Horan, Andrew Keating, Sean Rennison, Matt More, Jamie Gavin, Bryan Fitzgerald.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Alan Tynan; Ed O’Keeffe, Derek Corcoran, Evan O’Gorman, Darragh O’Neill; Shane Airey, Stephen Kerins; Conor Bartley, Shane Fenton, Rory Hannan, Tom Goggin, Alan Kennedy (capt), Conor Mitchell, Dan Walsh, John Foley.

Replacements: Billy Scannell, Mikey Doran, Fintan Coleman, Conor Phillips, Jack Lyons.