Division 1A’s leading trio of Cork Constitution, who have moved into pole position, Clontarf and Lansdowne have opened up a gap on the rest of the chasing pack, with the defending champions, in third, now seven points clear of fourth-placed Dublin University.
ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, December 1
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CLONTARF 13 CORK CONSTITUTION 16, Castle Avenue
Scorers: Clontarf: Tries: Cian O’Donoghue, Matt D’Arcy; Pen: David Joyce
Cork Constitution: Try: Joe McSwiney; Con: Aidan Moynihan; Pens: Aidan Moynihan 3
HT: Clontarf 5 Cork Constitution 3
Cork Constitution are the new leaders of All-Ireland League Division 1A after ending Clontarf’s six-match winning streak with a stirring 16-13 comeback victory at Castle Avenue on Saturday afternoon.
Armed with a 13-3 advantage inside the final quarter, ‘Tarf looked set to preserve their 100% record this season, but the boot of Aidan Moynihan kept Cork Con in contention and replacement Joe McSwiney’s converted try drew them level before Moynihan landed an injury-time penalty to dramatically take the spoils.
Constitution, who are now two points ahead of the north Dubliners at the summit, suffered an early setback when captain Niall Kenneally was sin-binned. However, winger Alex McHenry proved more than an able deputy in midfield. Out-half Moynihan duly dispatched a 16th minute penalty through the posts to open the scoring.
Moynihan increased his influence with an electrifying break on the all-weather pitch which almost produced a try. He was stopped just short of the line and it was Clontarf who were celebrating the game’s first try in the 25th minute. Angus Lloyd fixed the defence before offloading to explosive winger Cian O’Donoghue who charged over for a cracking unconverted score.
Flanker Tony Ryan led ‘Tarf’s charge for a second try but Con’s industrious defence kept them out, leaving it 5-3 for the break. The home side pressed again early on the resumption as Leinster ‘A’ talent David Hawkshaw sought out Jack Power with an audacious cross-field kick and the full-back was agonisingly close to doubling ‘Tarf’s tally.
Moynihan was wide with a 48th-minute penalty attempt before Clontarf looked to have a firm grip on proceedings. Centre Matt D’Arcy powered over for a 54th minute try from an intricate move off an attacking scrum. Hawkshaw was short with the conversion effort but, a few minutes later, replacement David Joyce fired over a magnificent penalty from inside his own half to make it 13-3.
Nonetheless, Con replacements McSwiney and Brendan Quinlan soon began to make their presence felt. Moynihan was successful with a straightforward 67th-minute penalty, and he added the extras to McSwiney’s powerful finish to the left of the posts which saw ‘Tarf pay the price for a late sin-binning.
Brian Hickey’s men were not content with a share of the spoils and there was time for a final twist in the tale. ‘Tarf appeared to be safe when they were awarded a scrum on their own 22, but Con brilliantly secured a turnover penalty. Moynihan stepped up to the place-kick and his composed strike ensured a very happy bus journey home for last season’s beaten finalists.
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, Tony Ryan, Vincent Gavin, Michael Noone (capt).
Replacements: Declan Adamson, Cian Walsh, Martin Kelly, Andrew Feeney, David Joyce.
CORK CONSTITUTION: Liam O’Connell; Alex McHenry, Shane Daly, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Aidan Moynihan, Jason Higgins; Gavin Duffy, Vincent O’Brien, Brian Scott, Conor Kindregan, Brian Hayes, Kevin Sheahan, Ross O’Neill, Luke Cahill.
Replacements: Dylan Murphy, Brendan Quinlan, Joe McSwiney, Richard Cassidy, Billy Crowley.
SHANNON 15 LANSDOWNE 32, Thomond Park back pitch
Scorers: Shannon: Tries: Robbie Deegan, Nathan Randles; Con: Conor Fitzgerald; Pen: Conor Fitzgerald
Lansdowne: Tries: Aaron Conneely 2, Willie Fay, Penalty try; Cons: Harry Byrne 2, Pen try con; Pens: Harry Byrne 2
HT: Shannon 8 Lansdowne 10
Workhorse flanker Aaron Conneely helped himself to a brace of tries as Lansdowne made it five All-Ireland League wins on the trot with a 32-15 bonus point success against Shannon on Thomond Park’s back pitch.
Promising young out-halves Harry Byrne and Conor Fitzgerald exchanged penalties during a tightly-contested opening 32 minutes, with both defences standing up well in the gloomy conditions and experienced Lansdowne forward Willie Earle impressing in the air and in contact.
Lansdowne broke the try deadlock three minutes later, peeling off a lineout maul as openside Conneely made it over for Byrne to convert. His kick across the wind from five metres in from touch clattered off the upright but fell the right way for the visitors.
However, the best move of the first half saw Shannon reduce the arrears to 10-8 just before the interval. Second row and captain Jade Kriel made the initial incision and the supporting Fitzgerald did well to hold up the ball and connect with Fitzgerald who brilliantly fed onrushing centre Robbie Deegan for a five-pointer that delighted the vocal home support.
Lansdowne hit back with Conneely’s second barely a minute into the second period, once again the maul providing the platform and the hosts were unable to keep them out under a darkening winter sky. Byrne converted and pushed the lead out to 20-8 with a 53rd minute penalty, clinically building scoreboard pressure after Pa Ryan’s break at the other end had been foiled by a knock-on.
The defending champions hit the hour mark 19 points to the good, their power-packed maul forcing a penalty try and leaving Shannon down to 14 men. Tom Hayes’ young side continued to leak penalties, allowing Byrne to boot the forwards into try-scoring situations.
Third-placed Lansdowne, who have closed to within four points of the summit, had another maul held up over the line before young replacement Willie Fay broke from the back of the five-metre scrum to secure the bonus point score, 12 minutes from the end. It was his first senior try for the club.
Conneely’s opposite number Charlie Carmody led Shannon’s late charge for a consolation try and they did get over in the dying minutes. A Fitzgerald cross-field kick was gathered on the full by winger Nathan Randles for a well-finished converted try in the corner.
Connacht Academy recruit Fitzgerald also nailed the difficult conversion in the gloom, but it is back-to-back defeats for Shannon who have fallen back down to sixth place ahead of next Friday’s derby trip to Dooradoyle to face great rivals Garryowen.
SHANNON: Jake Flannery; Nathan Randles, Pa Ryan, Robbie Deegan, Jamie McGarry; Conor Fitzgerald, Aran Hehir; Conor Glynn, Eoghan Clarke, Tony Cusack, Luke Clohessy, Jade Kriel (capt), Luke Moylan, Charlie Carmody, Kelvin Brown.
Replacements: Jordan Prenderville, Sam Karlsen, Colin Deane, Jack Stafford, Eathon Moloney.
LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills (capt); Daniel McEvoy, Harry Brennan, Tom Roche, Peter Sullivan; Harry Byrne, Tim Murphy; Denis Coulson, Ronan Kelleher, Ian Prendiville, David O’Connor, Willie Earle, Jack O’Sullivan, Aaron Conneely, Joe O’Brien.
Replacements: James Rael, Ntinga Mpiko, Willie Fay, Alan Bennie, Mark O’Keeffe.
TERENURE COLLEGE 16 GARRYOWEN 17, Lakelands Park
Scorers: Terenure College: Tries: Stephen O’Neill, Matthew Byrne; Pens: James Thornton 2
Garryowen: Try: Darren Ryan; Pens: Ben Healy 4
HT: Terenure College 5 Garryowen 6
Teenage out-half Ben Healy was in match-winning form again for Garryowen as his haul of four penalties steered them past bottom side Terenure College on a 17-16 scoreline at Lakelands Park.
Healy’s first start at this level saw him kick 22 points in last week’s derby victory over Young Munster, and the Munster Academy recruit’s right boot proved very valuable for the Light Blues in the capital. They had to endure a nervy finish, though, as Healy’s opposite number James Thornton was narrowly wide with a last-minute touchline conversion.
It was anyone’s game at half-time with a brace of Healy penalties giving Garryowen a slight 6-5 advantage. Conan Doyle’s side mixed the good with the bad during the opening half an hour, Healy kicking them ahead before a sin-binning amid incessant Terenure pressure saw them fall behind.
Thornton provided an excellent assist with a pinpoint kick straight into the arms of ‘Nure centre Stephen O’Neill who crossed in the corner with 32 minutes on the clock. In the muddy and dull conditions, the south Dubliners coughed up a kickable penalty three minutes later which Healy turned into three points.
Garryowen absorbed some late pressure from the hosts before extending their lead in the third quarter, Healy knocking over penalties after 51 and 56 minutes. Thornton replied from the tee before a scrum penalty launched the Limerick men into try-scoring range and a close-in lineout drive propelled number 8 Darren Ryan over the whitewash.
A second yellow card for the visitors, who held a 17-8 lead, invited ‘Nure forward with Thornton missing an initial penalty before slotting over a 77th-minute shot to make it a six-point game. In a helter-skelter finish, replacement Erik Wijten managed to break two tackles and set full-back Matthew Byrne free to score his fifth try of the campaign in the corner. But their comeback bid fell just short.
TERENURE COLLEGE: Matthew Byrne; Conor Kelly, Stephen O’Neill, Jamie Glynn, Adam Lagrue; James Thornton, Tim Schmidt; Tiarnan Creagh, Robbie Smyth, Jack Aungier, Michael Melia, Matthew Caffrey, Adam Clarkin, Rory Murray, Kyle McCoy (capt).
Replacements: Liam McMahon, Karl O’Brien, Aaron Ryan, Robbie Carroll, Erik Wijten.
GARRYOWEN: Andrew O’Byrne; Bryan Fitzgerald, Matt More, Peadar Collins, Cian O’Shea; Ben Healy, Rob Guerin; Mike O’Donnell, Liam Cronin, Ben Rowley, Kevin Seymour, Dean Moore (capt), Tim Ferguson, Conor Oliver, Darren Ryan.
Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Niall Horan, Alan Fitzgerald, Sean O’Connor, Dave McCarthy, Jack Mullany, Jamie Gavin.
YOUNG MUNSTER 34 UCD 34, Tom Clifford Park
Scorers: Young Munster: Tries: Tom Goggin, Darragh O’Neill, Calvin Nash, Ed O’Keeffe, Shane Fenton, Alan Kennedy; Cons: Shane Airey 2
UCD: Tries: Andy Marks 2, Ronan Foley, Matthew Gilsenan, Brian Cawley; Cons: Matthew Gilsenan 3; Pen: Matthew Gilsenan
HT: Young Munster 24 UCD 19
Both clubs had to be happy with three hard-earned league points after an epic 11-try contest between Young Munster and UCD ended at 34 points apiece in Greenfields on Saturday afternoon.
It was missed place-kicks which ultimately led to a share of the spoils between Division 1A’s eighth and sixth-placed teams. UCD were last to score, getting back on level terms with two late tries but a missed conversion from a central position saw the win slip out of the students’ grasp.
The visitors hit the front inside two minutes with a try from returning number 8 Ronan Foley – his fourth of the campaign – but Munster’s Calvin Nash opened the Cookies’ account with a well-taken converted score. Out-half Matthew Gilsenan replied with a try on the quarter hour mark, finishing off some smart phase-building to restore the five-point buffer – 12-7.
However, it was Young Munster who were five points in front – 24-19 – by the time referee Robert O’Sullivan blew for half-time. Darragh O’Neill took his try tally for the season to five with a well-taken chip and chase effort, and fellow winger Ed O’Keeffe was at the end of some swift and impressively accurate passing between backs and forwards.
Gilsenan converted centre Andy Marks’ try to square things up at 19-all before Munsters bagged their bonus point approaching the interval, lock Tom Goggin crossing from a lineout maul. UCD were in danger of falling out of contention on the resumption, with blindside Alex Penny seeing yellow just three minutes in.
Munsters profited with back-to-back tries from captain Alan Kennedy and hooker Shane Fenton, leaving the students trailing 34-19 with time not on their side. Raising their hopes, Marks’ second try of the afternoon was converted by Gilsenan with 15 minutes remaining and Munsters’ discipline, a big issue last week against Garryowen, deserted them when they needed it most.
A Gilsenan penalty and two sin-binnings in quick succession had Munsters down to 13 men and defending a 34-29 lead. It was erased by UCD piling over the line with replacement forward Brian Cawley credited with the levelling try beside the posts. But there were mixed emotions after the usually reliable Gilsenan failed to convert.
YOUNG MUNSTER: Alan Tynan; Ed O’Keeffe, Calvin Nash, Derek Corcoran, Darragh O’Neill; Shane Airey, Stephen Kerins; Conor Bartley, Shane Fenton, Keynan Knox, Tom Goggin, Alan Kennedy (capt), Conor Mitchell, Dan Walsh, John Foley.
Replacements: Ger Slattery, Mikey Doran, Fintan Coleman, Jack Lyons, Conor Phillips.
UCD: Tim Carroll; Rob Keenan, Andy Marks, Stephen Murphy, Oisin O’Meara; Matthew Gilsenan, Nick Peters; Sam Griffin, Bobby Sheehan, Liam Hyland, Tom Treacy, Charlie Ryan, Alex Penny (capt), Ben Murray, Ronan Foley.
Replacements: Sean Molony, JP Phelan, Brian Cawley, Shane Murphy, Ian O’Kelly, Stephen McVeigh, David Heavey.
UCC 28 DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 14, the Mardyke
Scorers: UCC: Tries: Rob Hedderman, Ryan Murphy, James Taylor, Matt Bowen; Cons: James Taylor 4
Dublin University: Tries: Donal Liddy, Penalty try; Cons: James Fennelly, Pen try con
HT: UCC 7 Dublin University 7
UCC recorded their first win in the All-Ireland League’s top flight at the seventh time of asking, getting the better of intervarsity rivals Dublin University who fell to a 28-14 defeat in front of a large Mardyke crowd.
Closing tries from James Taylor (71 minutes) and Matt Bowen (78) sealed the deal for UCC in what was their Colours match. It was just reward for a determined 80-minute display from Brian Walsh’s youngsters who were well marshalled by captain Daire Feeney, Cian Bohane and John Poland.
Dublin University came to Cork seeking their fourth straight victory, but they were missing key men in skipper Colm Hogan, Michael Silvester and recent Leinster debutant Jack Kelly, amongst others. Tempers flared early on and it was UCC who went in front after nine minutes, building pressure five metres out before flinging the ball wide for full-back Rob Hedderman to touch down.
Taylor converted and James Fennelly, the division’s top scorer, did likewise after some impressive phase play and ball retention created a seven-pointer for new Trinity winger Donal Liddy midway through the opening half. UCC had the better of the second quarter but seven-all is how it stayed up to half-time.
Trinity began the second period with 14 men following flanker Max Kearney’s 37th-minute sin-binning for a no-arms tackle. They scrambled well in his absence, only for Johnny McKeown to see yellow just as Kearney returned. A prolonged spell of pressure eventually told with UCC number 8 Murphy muscling over in the 53rd minute and Taylor converting.
Tony Smeeth’s charges dug deep to take the hosts through the phases and force a 65th-minute penalty try, the double whammy seeing UCC play with 14 men for the next ten minutes. Roared on by the home support, UCC quickly moved back in front with some fine link-up play between the back-three and a well-finished Taylor try for 21-14.
With Bohane and Peter Sylvester pulling the strings in midfield, the UCC backs showed their clinical edge again to release right winger Bowen for the clinching try. Although the Cork students remain second from bottom in the table, this much-needed result have moved them four points clear of Terenure and offers a huge fillip ahead of next Saturday’s trip to defending champions Lansdowne.
UCC: Rob Hedderman; Matt Bowen, Cian Bohane, Peter Sylvester, Murray Linn; James Taylor, John Poland; Shane O’Hanlon, Travis Coomey, Bryan O’Connor, Darragh Moloney, Cian Barry, John Hodnett, Daire Feeney (capt), Ryan Murphy.
Replacements: Paidi McCarthy, Rob O’Donovan, Brian O’Mahony, Lee McSherry, Colin Sisk, Michael Clune, Adam O’Connor.
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Conor Dunne; Donal Liddy, James Hickey, Philip Murphy, Liam Turner; James Fennelly, Rowan Osborne; Giuseppe Coyne, Dan Sheehan, Thomas Clarkson, Jack Dunne, Arthur Greene, Johnny McKeown, Max Kearney, Niall O’Riordan.
Replacements: Joe Horan, Dylan Doyle, Reuben Pim, Conor Lowndes, Roghan McMahon.