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All-Ireland League Division 1A: Round 8 Review

All-Ireland League Division 1A: Round 8 Review

There were bonus point home wins for Division 1A leaders Cork Constitution, Lansdowne, UCD and Garryowen, but the result of the round came at Castle Avenue where Dublin University did all of their scoring in a wind-assisted first half against Clontarf.

ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, December 8

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CLONTARF 12 DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 16, Castle Avenue
Scorers: Clontarf: Tries: Matt D’Arcy, Angus Lloyd; Con: David Hawkshaw
Dublin University: Try: James Hickey; Con: James Fennelly; Pens: James Fennelly 3

HT: Clontarf 0 Dublin University 16

Dublin University consigned former Division 1A leaders Clontarf to their second successive defeat as they triumphed 16-12 in a real game of two halves at Castle Avenue yesterday afternoon.

Trinity’s fourth win in five rounds keeps them right in the play-off hunt, lying fourth in the table, as they claimed a significant scalp on the back of centre James Hickey’s first half try and 11 points from the boot of out-half James Fennelly, the top flight’s leading scorer with 77 points.

Fennelly landed a penalty and converted Hickey’s score after 14 minutes, the visitors building pressure on the Clontarf line before a hole appeared for the former St. Michael’s College pupil to ghost through and touch down underneath the posts. ‘Tarf were playing into a big wind and despite trying to keep play tight and compact rugby, they remained scoreless.

Recent Leinster debutant Jack Kelly combined with Liam Turner to win a relieving penalty in the Trinity 22, and two well-struck penalty goals from the excellent Fennelly, the second as the rain began to come down, pushed the margin out to 16 points at half-time. Underfoot conditions were particularly slippery when play resumed, with the wind also dying down.

The north Dubliners burst out of the blocks with an early second half try from centre Matt D’Arcy – his third of the league season – with David Hawkshaw supplying the conversion. Despite losing young lock Cormac Daly to the sin-bin, Andy Wood’s men built for a second try, profiting from a loose clearance by the students.

Former Trinity favourite Angus Lloyd was the man to double ‘Tarf’s try tally on the hour mark as he scrambled over in the left corner. The conversion proved too difficult at 16-12, and Trinity regrouped in impressive fashion. Play was now fractured with a number of scrums and the visitors’ pack stood strong, with hooker Dan Sheehan the pick of the forwards.

Trinity even won one against the head with the likes of Bart Vermeulen and Dylan Doyle making their presence felt off the bench. In the end, it was the students’ aggressive and disciplined defence which prevented ‘Tarf from picking off a late try. The result further boosts their confidence ahead of next Saturday’s mouth-watering clash with defending champions Lansdowne at College Park.

CLONTARF: Jack Power; Rob McGrath, Michael Courtney, Matt D’Arcy, Cian O’Donoghue; David Hawkshaw, Angus Lloyd; Ivan Soroka, Paddy Finlay, Vakh Abdaladze, Cormac Daly, Ben Reilly, Cian Walsh, Tony Ryan, Michael Noone (capt).

Replacements: Declan Adamson, Vincent Gavin, Royce Burke-Flynn, Mark O’Sullivan, David Joyce.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Jack Kelly; Liam Turner, James Hickey, Philip Murphy, Colm Hogan (capt); James Fennelly, Rowan Osborne; Giuseppe Coyne, Dan Sheehan, Thomas Clarkson, Jack Dunne, Arthur Greene, Johnny McKeown, Max Kearney, Niall O’Riordan.

Replacements: Joe Horan, Bart Vermeulen, Dylan Doyle, Reuben Pim, Conor Lowndes, Paddy Nulty, Darragh Porter, Roghan McMahon.  

CORK CONSTITUTION 26 YOUNG MUNSTER 3, Temple Hill
Scorers: Cork Constitution: Tries: Patrick Casey, Penalty try, Joe McSwiney, Shane Daly; Cons: Aidan Moynihan 2, Pen try con
Young Munster: Pen: Clayton Stewart

HT: Cork Constitution 14 Young Munster 0

Replacement Patrick Casey’s 32nd-minute maul try set Cork Constitution on their way to convincing 26-3 bonus point victory over Young Munster at Temple Hill yesterday, a result which extends their lead at the top of Division 1A to four points.

Cork Con’s determination was obvious given that they have lost their last four league meetings with Young Munster. As well as racking up four tries by the 62nd minute, they put on another defensive masterclass. It was the third time in the last four rounds that they have kept their opponents to just three points. They also did it against Garryowen and UCD last month.

Munsters, who won the corresponding fixture 20-19 last season, enjoyed a bright start by winning successive penalties but their returning out-half Clayton Stewart had his 42-metre strike held up by the wind. The very windy conditions made for a stop-start contest with tactical kicks blown off course.

Entering the second quarter, the Cookies’ backs went close to conjuring up winger Darragh O’Neill’s sixth try of the campaign. Instead a forward pass handed possession back to Cork Con who watched their out-half Aidan Moynihan miss a penalty before the attritional nature of the game saw tightheads Dylan Murphy and Keynan Knox both replaced.

The Con pack used a couple of penalties – Young Munster’s discipline had let them down against both Garryowen and UCD – to kick for the corner and the pressure paid off as front rower Casey was driven over from the lineout for his second try in the space of a week. They almost created a carbon copy of that try but the lineout was overthrown.

However, the home forwards were clinical again on the stroke of half-time, Liam O’Connell’s kick downfield from a turnover leading to Munsters winger Ed O’Keeffe conceding a five-metre scrum. With the Cookies’ set piece splintering, referee Joy Neville awarded a penalty try to Brian Hickey’s charges who led 14-0 at the interval.

A Moynihan penalty miss just before the break was followed by the Limerick club’s only points, an early second half penalty from New Zealander Stewart. He had a new half-back partner for the final 40 minutes with backs coach Derek Corcoran stepping in at scrum half, while Conor Phillips and Knox also featured.

Barely three minutes later, Con were celebrating their third try with flanker Joe McSwiney getting the touchdown following some patient build-up play from the forwards again. They wrapped up the win and the bonus point when Shane Daly darted up from full-back to dive in under the posts, notching his second try in three games.

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

Replacements: Patrick Casey, Brendan Quinlan, Sean Duffy, Richard Cassidy, Billy Crowley.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Alan Tynan; Ed O’Keeffe, Calvin Nash, Derek Corcoran, Darragh O’Neill; Clayton Stewart, Mark Edwards; Conor Bartley, Shane Fenton, Keynan Knox, Tom Goggin, Alan Kennedy (capt), Gavin Coombes, Conor Mitchell, John Foley.

Replacements: Ger Slattery, Josh Wycherley, Fintan Coleman, Dan Walsh, Conor Phillips, Evan O’Gorman.  

LANSDOWNE 31 UCC 15, Aviva Stadium back pitch
Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Ronan Kelleher 3, Aaron Conneely, Tom Daly; Cons: Scott Deasy 3
UCC: Tries: Ryan Murphy, Darragh Moloney; Con: James Taylor; Pen: James Taylor

HT: Lansdowne 12 UCC 3

Leinster Academy hooker Ronan Kelleher racked up a hat-trick of tries as Lansdowne continued on the winning trail with a 31-15 bonus point success at home to UCC, the conquerors of Dublin University last week.

Flanker Aaron Conneely also added to his brace against Shannon in the last round, with Lansdowne’s forwards outplaying the Cork pack at key stages of the game, using their set piece to tire out the defence and build scoreboard pressure.

The result, which sees Lansdowne move up to second in the table, was in some doubt at half-time with UCC only 12-3 in arrears. The headquarters club’s well-oiled lineout and driving play provided the platform for Kelleher’s opening scores, the first coming after just seven minutes.

Scott Deasy was unable to add the extras in the swirling conditions, but Lansdowne appeared well set to take advantage of their superiority up front with tighthead Ian Prendiville in man-of-the-match form. However, UCC responded with a 20th minute penalty from their impressive out-half James Taylor.

Lansdowne claimed their second and final try of the first half, approaching the half hour mark. Once again it was hugely-impressive hooker Kelleher who plunged over following a series of pick-and-goes close to the line.

Deasy added the extras for a nine-point advantage but the visitors’ tenacious defence and some lapses in concentration by the headquarters club ensured that the scoreline remained unchanged at the break. Lansdowne resumed with real intent, boosted by powerful shifts from Jack O’Sullivan, Kelleher, Oisin Dowling and loosehead Denis Coulson.

An early UCC clearance kick was blocked down and Lansdowne established an attacking platform in the 22. The students could not cope with the ensuing maul and Conneely emerged with the ball to register his third try in two matches.

UCC were certainly not finished and were bolstered by the arrival of replacements Ryan Murphy, Darragh Moloney and John Poland. They took a quick tap penalty which Lansdowne failed to clear and it was back rower Murphy who crossed for a try which Taylor converted, making it 17-10.

Lansdowne replacement backs Tom Roche and Alan Bennie came on and moments later it was the latter who fed Leinster centre Tom Daly, whose brilliant surge took him over close to the posts. Deasy converted the bonus point score at 24-10.

The hosts continued to play in fits and starts, and the Corkmen were quick to take advantage. Lively flanker Fergus Hennessy was involved in setting up the chance and Moloney was on hand to narrow the gap to nine points.

A yellow card to the visitors for a late tackle on Dowling stifled UCC’s momentum, however, and a series of attacks failed to breach the home defence. There was still time for Lansdowne to use their most effective weapon – their lineout maul – and the beefy Kelleher dotted down to complete an impressive hat-trick, topped off by Deasy’s final conversion.

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills (capt); Daniel McEvoy, Harry Brennan, Tom Daly, Mark O’Keeffe; Scott Deasy, Tim Murphy; Denis Coulson, Ronan Kelleher, Ian Prendiville, David O’Connor, Oisin Dowling, Jack O’Sullivan, Aaron Conneely, Willie Earle.

Replacements: Tyrone Moran, Ntinga Mpiko, Willie Fay, Alan Bennie, Tom Roche.

UCC: Rob Hedderman; Adam O’Connor, Michael Clune, Peter Sylvester, Matt Bowen; James Taylor, Colin Sisk; Shane O’Hanlon, Paidi McCarthy, Bryan O’Connor, Cian Barry, Brian O’Mahony, Lee McSherry, Fergus Hennessy, Daire Feeney (capt).

Replacements: Travis Coomey, Daragh Fitzgerald, Ryan Murphy, Darragh Moloney, John Poland. 

UCD 31 TERENURE COLLEGE 3, Belfield Bowl
Scorers: UCD: Tries: Alex Penny, Brian Cawley, Stephen McVeigh, Tom Treacy, Gavin Mullin; Cons: Paddy Patterson, Jimmy O’Brien 2
Terenure College: Pen: James Thornton

HT: UCD 17 Terenure College 3

UCD cantered to a 31-3 bonus point win over bottom side Terenure College as Leinster backs Hugo Keenan, Jimmy O’Brien and Paddy Patterson returned to club action at the Belfield Bowl.

First half tries from captain Alex Penny, Brian Cawley and Stephen McVeigh laid the foundations for the students’ first victory in four rounds, which moves them up one place to sixth in the All-Ireland League’s top tier, while Terenure, who have lost four in a row, remain four points behind UCC.

Former UCD duo James Thornton and Jamie Glynn lined out together at half-back for Terenure, who also had ex-College winger Sam Coghlan Murray in lively form out wide. However, they had limited possession to make a difference and the home side shut them out to lead 17-3 at the turnaround.

The addition of the Leinster players saw Andy Skehan’s side improve in a number of areas, particularly in attack, and Academy scrum half Patterson had a big influence behind a Penny-driven pack. The wet conditions led to plenty of forwards-dominated phases and the Terenure defence could not hold out, leaking that trio of scores.

A lone penalty from out-half Thornton just about kept Terenure in the hunt, but two more tries – both converted by Ireland Sevens international O’Brien – had UCD home and hosed in their penultimate league outing before Christmas.

Lock Tom Treacy become the fourth forward to cross the whitewash before replacement back Gavin Mullin, who is in his second year with the Leinster Academy, took advantage of some tired tackles to make it five tries without reply.

UCD: Hugo Keenan; Tim Carroll, Jimmy O’Brien, Stephen Murphy, Andy Marks; Matthew Gilsenan, Paddy Patterson; Sam Griffin, Sean McNulty, Liam Hyland, Tom Treacy, Charlie Ryan, Ben Murray, Alex Penny (capt), Ronan Foley.

Replacements: Bobby Sheehan, JP Phelan, Brian Cawley, Nick Peters, Gavin Mullin.

TERENURE COLLEGE: Matthew Byrne; Erik Witjen, Adam Lagrue, Stephen O’Neill, Sam Coghlan Murray; James Thornton, Jamie Glynn; Tiarnan Creagh, Robbie Smyth, Jack Aungier, Michael Melia (capt), Matthew Caffrey, Adam Clarkin, Rory Murray, Eoin Joyce.

Replacements: Liam McMahon, Conor McCormack, Kyle McCoy, Mark O’Neill, Conor Kelly.

GARRYOWEN 30 SHANNON 29, Dooradoyle (played on Friday)
Scorers: Garryowen: Tries: Mike O’Donnell, Cian O’Shea, Diarmuid Barron, Kevin Seymour, Penalty try; Con: Pen try con; Pen: Ben Healy
Shannon: Tries: Jake Flannery, Eathon Moloney, Craig Casey, Pa Ryan; Pens: Jake Flannery 3

HT: Garryowen 15 Shannon 13

Garryowen came from 11 points down with 13 minutes remaining to stun local rivals Shannon with an action-packed 30-29 defeat under the Dooradoyle floodlights on Friday night.

The large attendance got more than their money’s worth in terms of tries scored (four each plus the penalty try), the lead changing hands on a number of occasions and just sheer entertainment. The Limerick derby also gave some valuable game-time to the likes of Munster’s Conor Oliver, Sean O’Connor, Jack Stafford, Ben Healy, Matt More, Diarmuid Barron and Eoghan Clarke.

While a gusting wind made ball-handling and kicking particularly difficult, the teams quickly got into their stride with two unconverted tries inside the opening eight minutes. Shannon’s teenage out-half Jake Flannery broke to five metres out before the ball was recycled and found its way back to him to touch down and make it 5-0.

Loosehead Mike O’Donnell put his name to Garryowen’s first try after a Shannon clearance kick was blocked down and both the forwards and backs had handled well, switching the point of attack at a crucial stage. Possession swung back and forth and Shannon winger Eathon Moloney was next over the line, breaking onto Flannery’s chip kick in the 16th minute.

Some impressive phase-building saw Moloney’s opposite number Cian O’Shea answer back on the half hour mark, a well-worked attack sending him over in the left corner. The fourth missed conversion left it delicately poised at 10-all, but the Light Blues bagged a timely third try to nip into a 15-13 lead for half-time.

Responding to a Flannery penalty goal, Conan Doyle’s men worked their way into position late on and moved the ball wide to the left where hooker Barron did well to break out of a tackle, regain his feet and plunge over the line. Defences were on top in the third quarter with Flannery and fellow youngster Healy landing a penalty each.

Tom Hayes’ charges, superbly marshalled by second row Jade Kriel, appeared to be getting a grip on the game when they strung together 13 points in six minutes just past the hour mark. Flannery punished a Garryowen offside for a 19-18 scoreline, before replacement scrum half Craig Casey profited from a stolen lineout five metres out to snipe over for Shannon’s third try.

Their bonus point score arrived on the 66-minute mark, centre Pa Ryan running hard to make it over the line after another lineout steal and then a Garryowen fumble from a kick. The Light Blues showed the necessary composure, chipping away at the Shannon defence in response, and their pick-and-goes were rewarded with a close-range 70th-minute score from lock Kevin Seymour.

This rip-roaring clash was there for the taking again at 29-23, the home supporters roaring on their side in pursuit of a famous comeback victory. Garryowen managed to pull it off in the end, their tireless pack taking up the baton and gaining a couple of penalties to pressurise the visitors’ defence. Another infringement close to their own line saw referee Kieran Barry lose his patience and signal for that all-important penalty try.

GARRYOWEN: Dave McCarthy; Andrew O’Byrne, Matt More, Peadar Collins, Cian O’Shea; Ben Healy, Rob Guerin; Mike O’Donnell, Diarmuid Barron, Ben Rowley, Kevin Seymour, Dean Moore (capt), Sean O’Connor, Conor Oliver, Darren Ryan.

Replacements: Liam Cronin, Niall Horan, Alan Fitzgerald, Tim Ferguson, Bill Johnston.

SHANNON: Jamie McGarry; Nathan Randles, Pa Ryan, Robbie Deegan, Eathon Moloney; Jake Flannery, Jack Stafford; Conor Glynn, Eoghan Clarke, Tony Cusack, Sean Walsh, Jade Kriel (capt), Luke Moylan, Charlie Carmody, Kelvin Brown.

Replacements: Ty Chan, Sam Karlsen, Colin Deane, Craig Casey, Jack O’Donnell.

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