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All-Ireland League Division 2B: Round 7 Review

All-Ireland League Division 2B: Round 7 Review

Greystones continue to pile on the points, so much so that they have edged ahead of long-time leaders MU Barnhall at the top of the table. Elsewhere, Rainey Old Boys won their Ulster derby clash with Belfast Harlequins to make it into the top four for the first time this season.



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Corinthians 7 MU Barnhall 18, Corinthian Park
Greystones 53 Sunday’s Well 17, Dr. Hickey Park
Rainey Old Boys 10 Belfast Harlequins 7, Hatrick Park
Skerries 19 Sligo 27, Holmpatrick
Wanderers 28 Dungannon 3, Merrion Road

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.

Wanderers made it two wins on the bounce by comfortably seeing off Dungannon’s challenge 28-3 at Merrion Road. The Chaps were in control right from prop Diarmuid Higgins’ second-minute try onwards, with two penalties straight in front seeing out-half Peter Brougham make it 13-0 inside the opening quarter.

Dungannon were frustratingly dispossessed from a promising lineout position near the Wanderers whitewash, although their scrum half John Russell rifled over a long-range penalty near half-time to get them off the mark at 13-3. A good run by Matthew Montgomery, coupled with a Daniel Maxwell dummy, offered them further hope on the resumption.

However, the visitors’ indiscipline continued to hurt them with Brougham firing over a 50th minute penalty goal. Wanderers punished another ‘Gannon error, this time a knock-on in front of their own posts. The resulting scrum saw the home side move the ball in crisp fashion for winger Eoin O’Shaughnessy to touch down in the corner.

With ‘Gannon then losing number 8 Jonah Mau’u to the sin bin in the 64th minute, Wanderers wrapped up the result six minute later when flanker Eoghan Nihill was driven over for a try which the reliable Brougham converted, taking his tally to 13 points for the day.

A last-minute try was of little consolation to Corinthians as they lost 18-7 at home to unbeaten MU Barnhall. The Galway side trailed 8-0 at half-time, having had a try disallowed for crossing, and second half touchdowns from Geoff Brooks and Eoghain Quinn gained the Blue Bulls their seventh straight victory.

That was full-back Quinn’s fifth try of the season, keeping him within two of winger Conor Lacey who dotted down in the first half at Corinthian Park to take his tally to seven. Despite extending their winning streak out west, Barnhall have slipped to second place due to Greystones’ bonus point exploits.

For the fourth time this season ‘Stones scored 40-plus points in a league match, running out 53-17 bonus point winners over Sunday’s Well at Dr. Hickey Park. With Ferdia Kenny and Killian Marmion both bagging braces and Ian Cullinane, Chris Simmonds, Mick Doyle and Ryan O’Loughlin also touching down, the Wicklow men are now top of the table on scoring difference.

Full-back and captain Andrew Kealy landed five conversions and a penalty to take his season’s haul to 102 points already. Greystones are on the road to second-from-bottom Dungannon before a mouth-watering showdown with Barnhall on Saturday week when both clubs’ unbeaten records could be on the line.

Rainey Old Boys claimed their fourth victory in a row by defeating Belfast Harlequins 10-7 under the Hatrick Park floodlights. The wet ball and slippery underfoot conditions made handling and phase-building particularly difficult, with a low-scoring derby encounter playing out. Harlequins had the early possession but missed a very kickable fourth-minute penalty.

After an initial lineout from a penalty failed to produce a score, Rainey picked up their first points from a subsequent lineout infringement by ‘Quins and out-half Andrew Magrath split the posts from 30 metres out. Rainey came hunting for the opening try, captain Paul Pritchard’s short pass releasing hooker George Fritz from halfway before winger Scott McLean was tackled into touch just short of the line.

Four minute before half-time, the Magherafelt side struck a crucial blow with a raking kick from Magrath causing problems for the ‘Quins defence, and a bout of scrum pressure saw the Rainey pack advance up to the line, resulting in referee Dermot Blake awarding them a penalty try.

There were yellow cards for both sides in an almost scoreless second half, during which Rainey had to play with 13 players after replacements Andrew Browne and Michael Nevin were both sin-binned. Rainey left points behind them with Magrath putting a drop goal wide and McLean narrowly missing a monster penalty attempt.

South African Fritz broke from the tail of a five-metre lineout only to see possession ripped away just when a try looked likely, and the late score actually came at the other end. Full-back Mark Glover’s score ensured that Harlequins bagged a bonus point to stay eighth ahead of next Saturday’s home game against Skerries.

The Goats fell to a 27-19 defeat to Sligo in the seventh round, the Yeats men winning for the first time in five rounds. It was all Sligo early on at Holmpatrick where winger Calum Goddard and flanker Matt Davey scored tries which were converted full-back Jack Keegan, who also tagged on a penalty for a 17-0 lead.

Skerries also had to cope with the injury-enforced loss of out-half Bill Mulcahy, albeit that replacement Robbie Jenkinson acquitted himself well. He converted a try from centre Sean Dempsey following a well-executed lineout maul, with only a marginal knock-on preventing the home side from adding a second try on the stroke of half-time.

Skerries resumed in fine fettle, turnover ball leading to Jenkinson slicing through for a seven-pointer. Despite losing hooker Conn Marrey to the sin bin following a melee, the Goats conjured up a third try when Paul Devitt brilliantly offloaded, under pressure from two defenders, to full-back Lorcan Jones whose acceleration took him over to make it 19-17.

However, some old failings like handling errors, turnovers and indiscipline caught up with the home side and Sligo countered with a quick one-two, as unconverted tries from Goddard and scrum half Ryan Feehily proved decisive. To add to Skerries’ frustration, they were held up over the try-line and missed out on the bonus point.

– Photos from Charles Henderson Photography and Skerries RFC

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