The closest contest in Division 2A was unsurprisingly at Balreask Old where third-placed Navan laid down a marker against leaders Highfield, while Cashel, Dolphin, Old Crescent and Queen’s University all piled on the points and tries in their bonus point wins at home.
ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE DIVISION 2A: Saturday, February 23
ROUND 13 RESULTS –
Cashel 56 Blackrock College 19, Spafield
Dolphin 46 Nenagh Ormond 17, Irish Independent Park
Navan 17 Highfield 12, Balreask Old
Old Crescent 35 Galwegians 22, Rosbrien
Queen’s University 35 UL Bohemians 3, Dub Lane
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.
Kiwi full-back Jonty Rae is turning into a points-scoring machine for Cashel, his latest haul seeing him score a hat-trick of tries and land all eight conversions against Blackrock College. The Tipperary side ran out 56-19 winners at Spafield with James Kendrick, Conor Cashman, Richard Moran, Eamonn Connolly and Ed Leamy also crossing the whitewash.
With his total for the season standing at 118 points, Rae has scored six tries and 61 points in his last three league outings and could be a key figure in this Friday’s derby showdown with Nenagh Ormond. Denis Leamy’s charges took advantage of Highfield’s defeat in Navan to move within eight points of the table toppers.
Highfield lost for the first time since the second round back in early October, a very physical first half going Navan’s way as the clinical left boot of scrum half Brian Haugh gave them a 9-0 lead. Faced with a very difficult kick from the halfway line, he nailed his third penalty goal just before the break.
Flying full-back Paddy Fox tightened Navan’s grip on the game with an outstanding individual try in the 46th minute. A quick tap moved possession wide where Fox kicked downfield from inside his own 10-metre line, hoovering up the ground on the chase and side-footing the ball on from the edge of the Highfield 22 before winning the race to the touchdown.
Replacement flanker Kevin O’Leary’s maul try brought Highfield back into contention at 14-5 down, but a crisply-struck fourth penalty from Haugh rewarded Navan’s industrious pack, including openside flanker and man-of-the-match James O’Neill. A penalty try earned the visitors a losing bonus point.
Meanwhile, captain Daryl Foley led by example with a terrific 21-point haul in Dolphin’s comprehensive 46-19 bonus point success at home to Nenagh. The skilful scrum half scored a first half bonus point try and kicked five conversions and two penalties in the one-sided Munster derby.
The Corkmen tore into the visitors and the fit-again Dalton O’Shaughnessy’s seventh-minute try was followed by a Foley penalty from in front of the posts for 10-0. Subsequent tries from Timmy Phelan, Finnish recruit Jussi Viljanen and Foley, who linked in slick fashion with winger Alan O’Sullivan, widened the margin to 31 points.
Having been stopped short numerous times, Nenagh struck for an unconverted try before half-time through full-back Peter Coman. O’Sullivan and Phelan, with his second of the game, sent Dolphin 43-5 clear before Kevin O’Gorman and Keith Gleeson both dotted down to take Nenagh’s tally to 17 points.
There was only one more score, a late penalty from Foley who took on the kick with Dolphin’s first try-scoring bonus point of the campaign already safely in the bag. The result has lifted Robbie Doyle’s side out of the bottom two and they face another crucial encounter this Saturday when they visit bottom side Galwegians.
‘Wegians failed to take a point from their Rosbrien clash with Old Crescent despite a promising start. Stalwart centre Brian Murphy’s interception led to a third minute try from Sean O’Sullivan. However, Dave Clarke missed a subsequent penalty with the wind behind him and Crescent built a 14-7 half-time lead thanks to scores from Larry Hanly (24 minutes) and Val McDermott (37).
Senior debutant David Garry, Kevin Doyle and McDermott, who started at full-back in Brian Tuohy’s absence, wrapped up Crescent’s 35-22 bonus point win with further scores in an injury-disrupted second half. McDermott’s 11th try of the season came from intercept, while Murphy and Danny Faulkner both crossed in the final 12 minutes for ‘Wegians.
Queen’s University took over fourth spot from UL Bohemians after defeating them 35-3 at Dub Lane. Queen’s, who fell behind following Mike Mullally’s penalty, had their bonus point by half-time and centre Rory Bell completed his brace in the second half. The other tries were scored by David Swann, captain David Whitten and Richie McMaster who landed all five conversions.