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Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A: Round 4 Review

Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A: Round 4 Review

Cork Constitution's big number 8 Evan Mintern is brought to ground by the Terenure defence at a wet Lakelands Park ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

As the Energia All-Ireland League resumed after a week’s break, the Division 1A clubs produced some top quality fare despite the tricky wet conditions. Six points cover the leading five teams with Cork Constitution now top of the table.


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Scorers: Garryowen: Tries: Jamie Heuston, Bryan Fitzgerald, Paul Clancy, Rhys Tucker; Con: Ben Healy; Pen: Ben Healy
Ballynahinch: Try: Ryan Wilson
HT: Garryowen 10 Ballynahinch 0

Garryowen did particularly well to garner a bonus point in their 25-5 victory over Ballynahinch, which was played in dreadful weather conditions at Dooradoyle this afternoon.

A three-try second half salvo, including hooker Rhys Tucker’s late bonus point score, got the job done for Conan Doyle’s men, who are now back within two points of the top four in Division 1A.

Bottom-placed Ballynahinch made the long trip down to Limerick looking for a change in fortunes. They lined out with highly-rated Ulster Academy youngster Hayden Hyde in midfield, but this was a forwards-dominated encounter in the wind and rain and Garryowen showed a clinical edge at crucial stages of the game.

The deadlock was broken by a 27th-minute penalty from Munster prospect Ben Healy. Closing in on half-time, flanker Johnny Keane’s bullocking run and well-timed offload put supporting full-back Jamie Heuston over for the opening try, converted by Healy for a 10-0 advantage.

Despite some bright moments for Ballynahinch, who were well led by second row John Donnan, the Light Blues pulled clear. Bryan Fitzgerald sidestepped through to cross the whitewash before a cracking team score ended with Paul Clancy diving over in the right corner, after Heuston had stepped inside the cover and released the winger on the outside.

Now 20 points in arrears, ‘Hinch could not avoid leaking the bonus point try as a muscular Garryowen maul drove Tucker over the line inside the final few minutes. There was still time for Ballynahinch centre Ryan Wilson to touch down at the other end and take the bare look off the visitors’ side of the scoreboard.

GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Paul Clancy, Bryan Fitzgerald, Dave McCarthy, Tommy O’Horan; Ben Healy, Neil Cronin; Conor Fitzgerald, Rhys Tucker, Corrie Barrett, Sean O’Connor, Kevin Seymour (capt), Johnny Keane, Jack Daly, Tim Ferguson.

Replacements: Anson Thai, Jack Mullany, Sean Rennison, Jack Stafford, Jamin Hoffman.

BALLYNAHINCH: Ross Adair; Aaron Cairns, Hayden Hyde, Ryan Wilson, George Pringle; Sean O’Hagan, Rhys O’Donnell; Kyle McCall, Zack McCall, Jonny Blair, James Simpson, John Donnan (capt), Jack Regan, Marcus Rea, Conall Boomer.

Replacements: Tom Stewart, Connor Piper, Aaron Hall, Paddy Wright, Gregg Hutley.

LANSDOWNE 11 DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 13, Aviva Stadium back pitch
Scorers: Lansdowne: Try: Peter Sullivan; Pens: Tim Foley 2
Dublin University: Try: Mark Nicholson; Con: Micheal O’Kennedy; Pen: Micheal O’Kennedy; Drop: James Fennelly
HT: Lansdowne 11 Dublin University 7

Dublin University made it back-to-back victories by claiming the scalp of perennial title challengers Lansdowne on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch.

James Fennelly’s coolly-taken late drop goal earned a memorable 13-11 comeback win, as the hirsute full-back, who is nicknamed ‘Jesus’, followed up on his goal-kicking heroics from last week against Cambridge University.

His closing penalty during the annual intervarsity clash saw Trinity overcome their student rivals 12-9, with the Cambridge side including international players of the calibre of James Horwill and Flip van der Merwe.

That turned out to be ideal preparation for the resumption of the Energia All-Ireland League, although Tony Smeeth’s youngsters fell behind early on. Peter Sullivan, last season’s top try scorer in Division 1A, marked his return for Lansdowne by running in an early try out wide.

Tim Foley was unable to convert in the wet conditions but he fired over a 15th-minute penalty from straight in front of the posts. The Lansdowne out-half doubled his place-kicking contribution near the half hour mark, and Trinity had some catching up to do at 11 points down.

Crucially, the visitors’ pack responded soon after with a converted try. Hooker Mark Nicholson, who was up against former Trinity favourite Dan Sheehan, plunged over from a well-executed lineout maul, and out-half Micheal O’Kennedy added the extras to leave four points between the sides.

Scores were very hard to come by during a defence-dominated final 40 minutes. Both benches made a considerable impact and the students’ reserve prop Giuseppe Coyne tore through midfield to set up an O’Kennedy penalty goal, with just over 10 minutes remaining.

The tension was obvious as Lansdowne’s lead was down to just a single point and Trinity sensed a famous triumph. It was secured by the reliable right boot of Fennelly who lofted the ball over from the edge of the Lansdowne 22, consigning Mike Ruddock’s men to their third straight defeat.

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; James Reynolds, Harry Brennan, Conall Doherty, Peter Sullivan; Tim Foley, Tim Murphy; Martin Mulhall, Dan Sheehan, Greg McGrath, Jack O’Sullivan, Jack Dwan (capt), Jack Dinneen, Joey Szpara, Neal Moylett.

Replacements: James Rael, Adam Boland, Darragh Murphy, Ross Barron, Barry Goulding.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: James Fennelly; Colm Hogan, Liam Turner, James Hickey (capt), Rob Russell; Micheal O’Kennedy, Louis O’Reilly; Bart Vermeulen, Mark Nicholson, Aziz Naser, Arthur Greene, Reuben Pim, Johnny McKeown, Max Kearney, Paddy Hamilton.

Replacements: Ben Nel, Giuseppe Coyne, Paddy Nulty, Tomas Killeen, Luis Faria.

Scorers: Terenure College: Try: Caolan Dooley; Con: Mark O’Neill; Pen: Jake Swaine
Cork Constitution: Try: Penalty try; Con: Pen try con; Pens: Aidan Moynihan 2
HT: Terenure College 10 Cork Constitution 3

Cork Constitution are the new Division 1A leaders after they came from 10 points down to beat Terenure College 13-10 in rain-sodden conditions at Lakelands Park.

The defending champions showed impressive composure to end Terenure’s winning start to the season under new head coach Sean Skehan. A 72nd-minute penalty try, coupled with a subsequent Aidan Moynihan penalty, saw the visitors prevail in a very closely-fought contest.

Terenure continued their resurgent form early on, setting up centre Caolan Dooley to slalom over for a 10th-minute try, converted by Mark O’Neill. Cork Con’s back-line was boosted by a sprinkling of Munster players, but a worrying ankle injury forced winger Jonathan Wren off midway through the first half.

Jake Swaine and Moynihan swapped penalties, the latter having missed an earlier effort into the driving wind and rain. Turning around 10-3 behind but with the elements now behind them, a second Moynihan miss kept the margin at seven points in the 53rd minute.

Conditions deteriorated in the howling gale and points were very much at a premium. Constitution suffered another penalty miss on the hour mark, but their lineout maul delivered the goods inside the final 10 minutes.

A powerful forwards drive, with Brian Hayes and Rory Burke to the fore, had Terenure in trouble and it ended with referee Dan Carson awarding Con a penalty try and issuing a yellow card. ‘Nure felt very aggrieved with the double setback but they still had eight minutes to exact some revenge.

Yet, Con forced a kickable penalty for Moynihan with just four minutes left and he nailed it to put his side in front for the first and only time. 14-man Terenure tried valiantly to respond, but with blindside Joe McSwiney a real workhorse in defence for the victors, it was the title holders who made it four wins on the trot.

TERENURE COLLEGE: Jake Swaine; Sam Dardis, Stephen O’Neill, Caolan Dooley, Sam Coghlan Murray; James Thornton, Jamie Glynn; Campbell Classen, Robbie Smyth, Liam Hyland, Peter Claffey, Michael Melia, Niall O’Sullivan, Paddy Thornton (capt), Eoin Joyce.

Replacements: Adam Clarkin, Saba Meunargia, Stephen Caffrey, Mark O’Neill, Matthew Byrne.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Jack Crowley; Jonathan Wren, Sean French, Alex McHenry, Rob Jermyn; Aidan Moynihan, Ryan Foley; Gavin Duffy, John Sutton, Rory Burke, Brian Hayes, Sean Duffy, Joe McSwiney, Ross O’Neill, Evan Mintern.

Replacements: Max Abbott, Dylan Murphy, Dave Hyland, Gerry Hurley, Jack Costigan.

UCC 20 CLONTARF 27, the Mardyke
Scorers: UCC: Tries: John Hodnett, Ryan Murphy; Cons: Eoin Monahan 2; Pens: Eoin Monahan 2
Clontarf: Tries: Angus Lloyd, Matt D’Arcy 2; Cons: Sean Kearns 3; Pens: Sean Kearns 2
HT: UCC 7 Clontarf 6

A second half brace of tries from Matt D’Arcy guided Clontarf to a hard-fought 27-20 success against table-topping UCC at the Mardyke.

The Cork students were knocked off top spot as Clontarf outscored them by three tries to two, although the losing bonus point sees them slot into second place. The north Dubliners have moved up one spot to fifth in the Division 1A standings.

UCC were the early aggressors and deservedly hit the front when Munster’s John Hodnett crashed over in the 10th minute, profiting from an initial Peter Sylvester break and some quick recycling. Eoin Monahan, who deputised in the number 10 shirt for the injured James Taylor, clipped over the conversion.

A long-range Sean Kearns penalty got Clontarf off the mark with 30 minutes gone, and the full-back doubled their tally seven minutes later as another decision at the breakdown went their way. In between those kicks, a ‘Tarf chip-and-chase effort was foiled by some great covering by UCC winger Murray Linn.

The scoring rate went up significantly in the second period, although the four tries were crammed into a very lively 20-minute spell. Matt Bowen threatened from a Monahan cross-field kick, before ‘Tarf scrum half Angus Lloyd sniped over in the 48th minute, putting the visitors in front for the first time at 13-7.

Monahan replied with a well-struck penalty, but D’Arcy combined well with his new centre partner Gearoid Lyons to make it a double-scores lead – 20-10. A couple of breaks from Bowen and Sylvester got the UCC attack firing again and their heavily-involved captain Ryan Murphy drove over in the corner.

Monahan swung over a terrific conversion from the touchline, giving his side a further boost at just 20-17 down. D’Arcy took on the mantle of match winner, though, as he darted over in impressive fashion to widen the margin to 10 points.

UCC ended the game on the front foot and with a one-man advantage, Monahan’s 76th-minute penalty coming after ‘Tarf had picked up a yellow card. It was enough to gain Brian Walsh’s charges a losing bonus point but it might have been more had they been able to curb the influence of man-of-the-match D’Arcy.

UCC: Rob Hedderman; Murray Linn, Louis Bruce, Peter Sylvester, Matt Bowen; Eoin Monahan, John Poland; Shane O’Hanlon, Fergus Hennessy, Bryan O’Connor, Cian Barry, Richard Thompson, Ryan Murphy (capt), Rory Suttor, John Hodnett.

Replacements: Tadgh McCarthy, James French, Aiden Brien, Brian Slater, Michael Clune.

CLONTARF: Sean Kearns; Michael Brown, Matt D’Arcy, Gearoid Lyons, Cian O’Donoghue; Conor Kelly, Angus Lloyd; Ivan Soroka, Tadgh McElroy, JP Phelan, Cormac Daly, Ben Reilly, Cian Walsh, Ruadhan Byron, Michael Noone (capt).

Replacements: Dylan Donnellan, Charlie Ward, Valentine Tauamiti, Peter Hoy, Fiachra Smith.

UCD 9 YOUNG MUNSTER 9, Belfield Bowl
Scorers: UCD: Pens: David Moran 3
Young Munster: Pens: Evan Cusack 3
HT: UCD 3 Young Munster 9

UCD and Young Munster could not be separated at a blustery Belfield Bowl as they played out a scrappy nine-all draw.

The boots of David Moran and Evan Cusack dominated proceedings with the young out-halves contributing three penalty goals each. The result keeps the students in the top four after the league’s opening four rounds.

It was an attritional contest with heavy rain teeming down throughout. Young Munster winger Luke Fitzgerald almost got on the end of a early grubber kick on the right flank, but it drifted beyond the end line.

Leinster’s Tommy O’Brien was part of a UCD back-three that stood firm despite the Cookies’ stranglehold on possession. Full-back Luke Maloney denied Munsters’ Evan O’Gorman a try when he won a foot race back to his own line, although an intense bout of pressure on the home defence saw them lose number 8 Stephen McVeigh to a 25th-minute sin-binning.

Cusack took on the straightforward penalty and gave the Limerick men a deserved lead. Much like Rugby World Cup winners South Africa, Munsters used their set piece dominance as a springboard towards success. Cusack split the posts for a 6-0 scoreline after another excellent scrum.

His reliable right boot delivered another three points, five minutes before half-time, but to UCD’s credit, they hit back in timely fashion. While they could not manufacture a try from a multi-phase move, a Moran penalty cut the gap to 9-3 at the break.

O’Brien’s influence on the left wing was beginning to increase and Andy Marks and Colm Mulcahy were linking up to good effect in midfield. The UCD forwards also stepped up by winning a turnover penalty in the 50th minute, allowing Moran to make it a three-point game.

The UCD number 10 brought them level on the hour mark, landing a very tricky strike from near the right touchline. All the momentum appeared to be with the home side, but a resilient Young Munster backed their scrum, defending close to their own line, and a hard-earned turnover saw them avert the danger.

The Kevin Croke-coached students had one final shot at the win from a last-gasp penalty on the halfway line. However, Moran’s long-range effort fell short and both sides had to be content with a share of the spoils. It ends the Cookies’ winless start to the season but they remain second from bottom in the table.

UCD: Luke Maloney; Jack Ringrose, Andy Marks, Colm Mulcahy, Tommy O’Brien; David Moran, Harry Donnelly; Emmet Burns, Sean McNulty, Evin Coyle, Cian Prendergast, Charlie Ryan, Jonny Guy (capt), Alex Penny, Stephen McVeigh.

Replacements: Richie Bergin, Rory Mulvihill, Lorcan Feighery, Patrick Patterson, Gavin Mullin.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Alan Tynan; Luke Fitzgerald, Harry Fleming, Evan O’Gorman, Keelan Stephenson; Evan Cusack, Charlie O’Doherty; Josh Wycherley, Mark O’Mara, Conor Bartley, Alan Kennedy (capt), John Foley, Jordan Stewart, Conor Mitchell, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Michael Doran, Paul Allen, Fintan Coleman, Craig O’Hanlon, Jack Lyons.