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All-Ireland League Division 2B: Round 8 Review

All-Ireland League Division 2B: Round 8 Review

Dungannon ran Greystones extremely close in the match of the day in Division 2B last Saturday, but Kevin Lewis’ charges stood firm to claim their eighth straight victory. Rainey Old Boys, who are now third overall, turned in a terrific performance in Cork where they ran six second half tries past Sunday’s Well.

ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE DIVISION 2B: Saturday, December 8

ROUND 8 RESULTS –

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Belfast Harlequins 10 Skerries 10, Deramore Park
Dungannon 17 Greystones 20, Stevenson Park
Corinthians 17 Sligo 19, Corinthian Park
Sunday’s Well 6 Rainey Old Boys 41, Irish Independent Park
MU Barnhall v Wanderers, Parsonstown (match postponed due to death of Wanderers FC President John Roche Kelly)

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.

Greystones showed their mettle and title credentials once more with a stunning 20-17 comeback win at Dungannon. Captain Andrew Kealy landed a last-minute penalty to keep up ‘Stones’ enviable record which is sure to be thoroughly tested again by MU Barnhall in this Saturday’s top of the table clash.

‘Gannon have reserved their two best performances of the season for the top two, picking up losing bonus points against both Barnhall and Greystones in recent rounds. Having first backing of the wind at Stevenson Park, they tore into a 17-0 lead as the Wicklow men struggled to contain them.

Their Argentinian centre Lucca Avelli kicked a third-minute penalty and converted tries from number 8 Jonah Mau’u, who finished off some excellent play from the forwards, and winger Caolan Mulgrew who capitalised on a defensive mix-up from a John Russell kick and showed his acceleration to make it over in the left corner.

Russell and his half-back partner John Buckley showed some impressive game management up to this point, but Greystones snapped back with a timely try with 38 minutes on the clock. Flanker Ian Cullinane lifted them with a well-finished score which Kealy, who started at centre instead of full-back, converted to cut the gap to 17-7.

They continued to turn the screw on the resumption with Kealy sending over a 42nd minute penalty, but Dungannon showed their resilience, especially after losing the influential Avelli to a hand injury. Prop Glen Sinnamon was also central to winning a scrum penalty to relieve the pressure on the home defence.

However, Greystones came into their own in the ‘championship minutes’. An onslaught on the Dungannon line yielded a try for tighthead Conor Pearse with five minutes remaining. Kealy coolly converted with a terrific kick from a difficult angle, bringing the league leaders level, before he stepped up in the final seconds to snatch the victory.

Meanwhile, improved defence and discipline paid off for Sligo as they squeezed past a physical Corinthians outfit 19-17. Back-to-back away wins have moved Paddy Pearson’s charges up to sixth in the table, their early defensive shutout in Galway typified by bone-crunching tackles from prop Tom Gormley and powerhouse centre Mata Fifita.

Corinthians appeared to have a decent platform, notching two tries before half-time to lead 10-0, only for Sligo to bounce back strongly. Ten minutes into the second half, scrum half Ryan Feehily broke down the blindside and reached the 22. Good recycling and hands from Mark Butler, Enda Gavin and Jack Keegan teed up Philip Carter to score on the left and Keegan crisply added the extras.

Full-back Keegan brought Sligo level with a 55th minute penalty and kicked them ahead on the hour mark. With their scrum becoming more of a weapon, they continued to press for scores and out-half Butler clipped over a drop goal for a 16-10 scoreline. A big dust-up with all 30 players getting involved resulted in two Sligo men and one Corinthian seeing yellow, ten minutes from time.

Despite being down two forwards, Sligo managed to win a scrum penalty thanks to the efforts of replacement prop Conor Mitchell and former Ireland Under-20 international Kuba Wojtkowicz, and Keegan split the posts with what proved to be the match-winning kick.

Corinthians had to be content with a losing bonus point – a well-merited one in the end – as they used their numerical advantage to force a late try, second row Chris Ryan scoring to add to those early tries from Dylan Tierney and Mark McDermott.

An explosion of points in the second half saw Rainey Old Boys win out 41-6 at Sunday’s Well. A strong cross-field wind impacted play during the opening 40 minutes which saw only one penalty apiece scored by Eoin Geary and Andrew Magrath. But Rainey were soon on a roll, powering to their fifth straight win thanks to tries from Charlie Clarke, George Fritz, Andrew Donaghy (2), captain Paul Pritchard and Michael McCusker.

Skerries, who host Sunday’s Well next Saturday, avoided defeat for the first time in five rounds with a 10-all draw with Belfast Harlequins. The Deramore Park encounter came to a thrilling conclusion with Skerries centre Kevin McGrath’s well-taken try, which saw him evade the clutches of Paul Kerr, cancelling out a Peter Dunlop effort.

– Photos from Dungannon RFCJean McConnell (Sligo RFC) & David Ribeiro (M. Lee Media)

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