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All-Ireland League Division 2A: Round 12 Review

All-Ireland League Division 2A: Round 12 Review

Flanker James Ryan leads an attack during UL Bohemians' bonus point win over Cashel last Friday night ©Dermot Lynch

With Cashel and Navan both losing at the weekend, Highfield have extended their lead at the top of All-Ireland League Division 2A following their 66-point hammering of bottom side Galwegians. Blackrock College’s late win over Dolphin saw them climb above the Corkmen and out of the bottom two.

ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE DIVISION 2A: Saturday, February 16

ROUND 12 RESULTS –

Blackrock College 18 Dolphin 13, Stradbrook
Galwegians 0 Highfield 66, Crowley Park
Queen’s University 26 Navan 7, Dub Lane
Nenagh Ormond 7 Old Crescent 9, New Ormond Park (played on Friday)
UL Bohemians 36 Cashel 20, University of Limerick 4G pitch (played on Friday)

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.

Highfield were in ruthless form at Crowley Park where they ran in ten tries in all, including four from Ben Murphy. The centre bagged his first score in the third minute, racing onto a neat chip through from Paul Stack, and added his second on the quarter hour mark before lock Dave O’Connell got on the scoresheet in the 22nd minute.

Galwegians, who were facing into a stiff breeze, enjoyed a decent spell midway through the second quarter, only for Highfield winger Stack to take advantage of a favourable bounce from a Gavin O’Leary kick to touch down in the 39th minute. It was Stack’s twelfth try of the season to date, and Shane O’Riordan’s fourth successful conversion made it 28-0 at the turnaround.

It was not long until they hit the 40-point mark as Colm Gallagher plunged over from a lineout maul and Murphy dovetailed with Mark Dorgan to complete his hat-trick. ‘Wegians leaked four more tries as efforts from Murphy again, Dave O’Sullivan with his eleventh of the campaign and both Chris Bannon and O’Leary, in the 70th and 74 minutes respectively, completed the rout.

Winger Kim Henderson’s last-minute try in the corner – his second of the game – guided Blackrock College to their first win in four rounds, with the south Dubliners triumphing 18-13 over Dolphin at Stradbrook. The sides have swapped places in the table with Dolphin, who had hit the front through Emmet McCarthy’s 12th-minute try, now sitting second-from-bottom.

Queen’s University got the better of higher-placed opponents at Dub Lane where they handed third-placed Navan at 26-7 defeat. The five points pocketed gives them a timely lift heading into this Saturday’s student derby against UL Bohemians in Belfast. UL are currently in possession of the final play-off place, leading Queen’s by five points.

Talismanic half-backs Mike Mullally and Hugh Bourke contributed 26 points between them in UL Bohs’ excellent 36-20 win over second-placed Cashel. Mullally scored a try and kicked four conversions and a penalty on UL’s 4G pitch, while Bourke chipped in with a brace of tries.

The Tipperary men built a 15-10 half-time lead with James Ryan and Jonty Rae scoring a try apiece, but a lone Aiden McDonald effort was all they could muster after that. The Red Robins had a strong start and finish to the second half with Darragh O’Grady and Bourke tries shooting them 24-15 ahead, before Bourke and Mullally wrapped up the result.

The best try of UL’s five was the penultimate one which saw centre Colin Ryan pick up possession in his own half and make a terrific break before offloading for supporting scrum half Bourke to finish off. Friday night also brought success for Bohs’ Limerick rivals Old Crescent who claimed a tight 9-7 verdict at Nenagh Ormond.

Centre Willie Coffey’s 15th-minute try propelled Nenagh into an early lead but they were held scoreless for the remainder as Crescent out-half Ronan McKenna crucially booted three penalties, the last of them coming in injury-time. Nenagh’s discipline was an issue with 12 penalties conceded compared to Crescent’s six.

The closest the visitors came to a try was in the fifth minute when Cian Reale was whistled up for a double movement in his attempts to score. The fast feet of young flanker Evan Murphy set the wheels in motion for the only try of the night which saw supporting full-back Peter Coman beat a defender before setting up Coffey’s seven-pointer.

Nenagh should have been further in front at half-time (7-0) as John Healy had knocked on close to the try-line and Coffey was then a whisker away from reaching Alex Ropeti’s kick through. They paid the price for those missed chances when McKenna split the posts after 51, 59 and 83 minutes, the last one a vital long-range kick which he coolly fired home.