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All-Ireland League Division 2B: Round 12 Review

All-Ireland League Division 2B: Round 12 Review

Sligo out-half Euan Brown tries to unlock the Skerries defence during the sides' tussle in Strandhill ©Jean McConnell/Sligo RFC

Division 2B leaders MU Barnhall reached the milestone of a dozen wins, picking up their eighth try-scoring bonus point against Corinthians as they move ever close to promotion. Belfast Harlequins lost their derby clash with Dungannon and have slipped back into the bottom two.

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

ROUND 12 RESULTS –

Belfast Harlequins 10 Rainey Old Boys 19, Deramore Park
Dungannon 25 Wanderers 10, Stevenson Park
MU Barnhall 41 Galway Corinthians 10, Parsonstown
Sligo 27 Skerries 27, Hamilton Park
Sunday’s Well 15 Greystones 23, Irish Independent Park

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.

An early brace of tries from flying full-back Eoghain Quinn set MU Barnhall on their way to a 41-10 win over Corinthians at Parsonstown. The free-scoring Quinn has now touched down ten times across the campaign, with the unbeaten Blue Bulls’ points-per-game average standing at 32.25 points.

Half-backs Rob Holt and Adam Chester (two) also crossed for Barnhall before half-time, and their try haul was wrapped up by replacement hooker Gareth Murray’s 68th-minute effort in the corner. Their first loss of 2019 has moved Corinthians back down to fifth ahead of their clash with seventh-placed Skerries this Saturday.

Skerries picked up two points and Sligo three from their dramatic 27-all draw at a windy Hamilton Park. With Corinthians and Wanderers both losing, the Yeats men have jumped back into the top four but their flying start against the Goats had offer the promise of maximum points.

Sligo centre Mata Fifita crossed in the corner for the opening try, with Ryan Feehily’s chip kick and the chase from Shane O’Hehir having led to earl pressure right on Skerries’ try-line. Winger Jack Keegan converted with aplomb from out wide and added the second try soon after, kicking a loose ball through after the defence had failed to deal with an initial Mark Butler kick off a scrum.

Skerries, who were facing into the wind, regrouped and started to string the phases together with Evan Sherlock and Ben Jenkinson carrying well. It was the former who stretched out for a seven-pointer, kicking off a three-try blitz in the space of eight minutes which gave the visitors a 21-19 buffer at the break.

Lorcan Jones was stopped short before offloading for fellow winger Paul Devitt to score, and a classy pass from Bill Mulcahy sent Mikey Sherlock scampering over from 40 metres for their third converted try on the half hour. Sligo matched that try tally when a strong bout of carrying ended with lock Rob Holian touching down.

Despite losing influential out-half Mulcahy to a thumb injury, Skerries pressed on and Devitt took over the kicking duties, landing two penalties in the third quarter to move the scoreboard to 27-19. There were some bone-crunching tackles before flanker Sean Wynne collected a pass from Euan Brown to score Sligo’s bonus point try, which originated from the slick distribution of replacement scrum half Brendan Cunningham and Butler.

Although Keegan’s conversion from the right went narrowly wide, out-half Brown stepped up to kick Sligo level with a well-struck 70th-minute penalty. Both sides had their moments late on, with Sligo’s forward replacements making an impact and Skerries’ backs threatening on the counter before referee Jonny Wilson called time on a lively seven-try contest.

Out-half Andrew Magrath notched two tries and South African Brad Roberts impressed at hooker as Rainey Old Boys won 19-10 in their Ulster derby clash with Belfast Harlequins. Boosted by captain Paul Pritchard’s earlier-than-expected return, Rainey did all the damage in the first half at Deramore Park.

With Magrath and centre Oisin Quinn both breaking through for tries, the third-placed visitors established a 19-0 half-time lead and will be disappointed at their failure to register the bonus point. Harlequins rallied with a Paul Kerr penalty and Mark Glover’s late try, but the losing bonus remained out of reach.

Dungannon have swapped places with ‘Quins, slotting back into eighth spot after carving out a 25-10 victory at home to Wanderers. Centre Mervyn Brown scored a try in each half and winger Matthew Montgomery also dotted down in the closing stages. All four of ‘Gannon’s wins so far have come at Stevenson Park.

Captain Andrew Kealy’s accurate goal-kicking helped Greystones overcome a sluggish start as they emerged as 23-15 winners over Sunday’s Well at Irish Independent Park. Kealy kicked three penalties and converted tries from Andy Roberts and Con Callan, while Cormac Kelliher and Eoin Geary, who landed a conversion and a penalty, both crossed the whitewash for the ‘Well.