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All-Ireland League Division 2C: Round 13 Review

All-Ireland League Division 2C: Round 13 Review

Midleton's Rory Horgan is pictured on the attack during their hard-fought home win over Munster rivals Thomond ©Kieran Kelleher

It is tight at the top and bottom of All-Ireland League 2C with Malahide, the only team to win away from home last weekend, now just a point outside of the top four. Relegation-threatened duo Seapoint and Thomond both picked up losing bonus points on the road.

ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE DIVISION 2C: Saturday, February 23

ROUND 13 RESULTS –

Ballina 28 Seapoint 22, Heffernan Park
Bruff 25 Bangor 11, Kilballyowen Park
City of Derry 27 Malahide 45, Craig Thompson Stadium, Judge’s Road
Midleton 22 Thomond 17, Towns Park
Tullamore 26 Omagh 21, Spollanstown

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.

It was a try-fest at Craig Thompson Stadium where Malahide touched down seven times in a breathless 45-27 bonus point defeat of City of Derry. Chasing their third win on the bounce, Derry did at least pocket a bonus point of their own thanks to closing tries from David Graham and Tiernan Thornton.

It was the home side who burst into an early 10-0 lead, their first serious attack seeing Graham break and feed Simon Logue for the opening try. Matthew Orr converted and split the posts with a 14th minute penalty, but Malahide stormed back with four tries and 26 unanswered points to lead 26-10 at half-time.

Player-coach Brendan Guilfoyle opened Mals’ try account, following up on Dave Nolan’s charge-down and further good work by Simon Kinsella and Darren Morrin. A monster maul propelled blindside Kinsella over the line for a 12-10 lead, before the try of the game saw centre Rory Kavanagh cover 70 metres as he carved open the Derry defence on a superb solo run to the whitewash.

Adam Kennedy converted and also added a fine touchline kick onto flanker John Shine’s 37th-minute try, which saw him beat a couple of defenders out wide. Four minutes after the break, Malahide captain Nolan notched their fifth try with a powerful surge that Derry could not halt from a few metres out.

Logue led Derry’s response with a weaving run and David Lapsley cut in clinical fashion to score at the posts, reducing the arrears to 33-17. Yet, Malahide slammed the door shut on the comeback when Guilfoyle crossed in the 56th minute and then their second rows combined for their final try, Leo Weiss getting the touchdown.

While frustrated with his side’s defensive issues, Derry head coach Paul O’Kane would have been pleased with how they finished the game, something which they can take into their north-west derby clash with Omagh. Replacement out-half Keelan Coyle’s 73rd-minute interception led to Graham dotting down, before a James Perry-inspired attack released Thornton for the corner.

Tullamore put a series of narrow losses behind them by holding on for a 26-21 bonus point victory at home to Omagh. There were four places between the teams before kick-off, but it was the higher-ranked Accies were fell behind early on and trailed Tullamore for the whole game at Spollanstown.

Karl Dunne’s inside pass to Ciaran Ennis unlocked the Omagh defence and set the wheels in motion for lock Sean Rigney’s eighth-minute try. Full-back Sean McCabe crossed in the 20th minute following a Brendan McSweeney break, establishing a 14-7 interval lead for a side that last won in early December.

Powerful back rower Lemeki Vaipulu went in under the visitors’ posts in the 50th minute and Ennis bagged the bonus point four minutes later, plunging over from a well-executed rolling maul. Omagh snapped back with two tries of their own in the final quarter, but the Tulliers stood firm to win for the first time in five rounds.

Second-from-bottom Thomond came desperately close to defeating high-flying Midleton at Towns Park, but leaked a last-minute try for the second week running in an eventual 22-17 reversal. The Soda Cakes had tries either side of half-time from backs Dermot Fitzgerald and Eoghan Cross, while Benji Cottle, Mark Corby and Daniel Murray touched down for the Corkmen.

Kiwi centre Cottle will be hoping to add to his six league tries when Midleton visit Malahide next Saturday, while Thomond face promotion-chasing opposition again when they host Ballina. The table toppers came through a titanic tussle with bottom side Seapoint, emerging as 28-22 winners thanks to young replacement Dylan Prendergast’s two closing penalties.

It was one of the games of the league season, producing buckets of entertainment and drama and the outcome went right down to the wire with Seapoint inches away from a late match-winning try. They went toe-to-toe with the Moy men, two long-range intercept scores from Theo Olivier and Bain Champion adding to flanker Cian O’Gorman’s early try from fast-breaking scrum half Steve Carroll’s excellent offload.

First half tries Kieran Lindsay, Calum Quinn and Michael Cribben, who profited from slick handling by Alex Corduff, Quinn and Chris O’Neill, gave Ballina a hard-earned 17-15 half-time lead. Corduff’s 50th-minute bonus point score was cancelled out by Champion to tie things up, only for Prendergast’s penalty brace to dash Seapoint’s hopes of an upset.

After losing by a single point in Omagh, third-placed Bruff returned to winning ways with a 25-11 dismissal of Bangor at Kilballyowen Park. Lewis Stevenson’s try on the stroke of half-time lifted the Seasiders at 15-8 down, but the hosts proved too strong as they registered their seventh straight home win of the season.

David O’Grady’s pinpoint cross-field kicks set up first half tries for Cian Clifford and Kevin McManus, and replacement Neilus Keogh surged over on the hour mark after a scrum and a Sean Hartigan carry. Both sides were disappointed to miss out bonus points, while Bruff’s success came at a cost with influential flanker Cillian Rea going off injured.