The top half of Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A is separated by seven points and the bottom half by six, following an action-packed fifth round which produced an average of five tries per game.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: Saturday, November 9
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BALLYNAHINCH 43 LANSDOWNE 5, Ballymacarn Park
Scorers: Ballynahinch: Tries: Marcus Rea, Aaron Cairns 3, Jack Regan, Sean O’Hagan 2; Cons: Sean O’Hagan 4
Lansdowne: Try: Jack Dwan
HT: Ballynahinch 19 Lansdowne 5
Ballynahinch climbed off the foot of the Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A table with a tremendous 43-5 bonus point success against out-of-sorts Lansdowne at Ballymacarn Park.
Having lost their first four games, there was pressure on Brian McLaughlin’s charges to bounce back on home soil against the three-time champions – and they did so in stunning fashion with winger Aaron Cairns scoring a hat-trick of tries.
Cairns and Ross Adair were quick to threaten with ball in hand, despite the wet and windy conditions. Lansdowne averted the danger with an early turnover, but Ulster’s Marcus Rea proved unstoppable from close range soon after as ‘Hinch took a 7-0 lead.
They were 19-5 in front by the break, the visitors’ rearguard failing to deal with a Sean O’Hagan grubber kick and Cairns swooped in to score his first. The home forwards took up the baton again when industrious lock Jack Regan muscled his way over in the corner for try number three.
Captain Jack Dwan hit back for Lansdowne on the half hour mark, scoring down the short side after a couple of penalties had been stuck into the corner. However, the ‘Hinch defence held them out before the interval, with both sides losing a player to the sin-bin for their part in a scuffle.
It went from bad to worse for Mike Ruddock’s charges, who suffered a second yellow card early in the second period. ‘Hinch bagged their bonus point when a tap-and-go and some great hands from replacement hooker Tom Stewart led to Cairns doubling his contribution at 24-5.
Lansdowne could not avoid their fourth straight loss as Cairns finished off a terrific long break by Paddy Wright, and Cairns showed his breaking ability in the 71st minute to set up a try for out-half O’Hagan. Rhys O’Donnell soon sliced through for his half-back partner to close out the scoring and take his own handsome haul to 18 points.
BALLYNAHINCH: Paddy Wright; Aaron Cairns, Ross Adair, Ryan Wilson, George Pringle; Sean O’Hagan, Rhys O’Donnell; Ben Cullen, Zack McCall, Jonny Blair, Jack Regan, John Donnan (capt), Clive Ross, Ollie Loughead, Marcus Rea.
Replacements: Tom Stewart, Connor Piper, Aaron Hall, Conor Rankin, Greg Hutley.
LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Tom Roche, Harry Brennan, Conall Doherty, Peter Sullivan; Tim Foley, Ross Barron; Martin Mulhall, Dan Sheehan, Greg McGrath, Mark Flanagan, Oisin Dowling, Jack Dwan (capt), Joey Szpara, Neal Moylett.
Replacements: James Rael, Adam Boland, Darragh Murphy, Tim Murphy, Fergal Cleary.
CLONTARF 13 UCD 17, Castle Avenue
Scorers: Clontarf: Try: Sean Kearns; Con: Sean Kearns; Pens: Sean Kearns 2
UCD: Tries: James Tarrant, Gavin Mullin, Paddy Patterson; Con: James Tarrant
HT: Clontarf 10 UCD 0
Scrum half Paddy Patterson sniped over for a last-minute match-winning try as UCD edged out hosts Clontarf 17-13 at Castle Avenue.
UCD’s unbeaten run under new head coach Kevin Croke now stands at four games as they moved above UCC into third place. In-form winger Andy Marks and Patterson’s Leinster Academy colleague Gavin Mullin also crossed the whitewash for the students.
Clontarf had won at UCC last Saturday and looked on course for another victory when they led 10-0 at half-time. In very blustery conditions on the all-weather pitch, ‘Tarf full-back Sean Kearns was successful with the second of two early penalty attempts.
Some patient build-up play from the home forwards then laid the platform for Kearns to show some impressive footwork and make the line, adding the conversion himself.
UCD failed to panic and with players of the calibre of Leinster’s Mullin, Tommy O’Brien, Patterson and Charlie Ryan on board, they duly worked their way back into contention. James Tarrant, who missed a straightforward penalty, managed to convert Marks’ well-taken try to make it a three-point game.
Kearns steadied the ship for the north Dubliners with a well-struck penalty while UCD were down to 14 men, but a missed tackle in midfield allowed Mullins through with 12 minutes remaining. The wayward conversion left it tantalisingly poised with the scoreboard showing 13-12.
Just when it looked like UCD had run out of options and time, the 20-year-old Patterson came up trumps with a trademark burst off the base and a decisive diving finish in the very last play. The conversion was not needed as ‘Tarf were left to deal with their third defeat in four outings.
CLONTARF: Sean Kearns; Jack Power, Fiachra Smith, Matt D’Arcy, Cian O’Donoghue; Conor Kelly, Angus Lloyd; Charlie Ward, Tadgh McElroy, Jack Aungier, Cormac Daly, Valentine Tauamiti, Cian Walsh, Ruadhan Byron, Michael Noone (capt).
Replacements: Dylan Donnellan, Ivan Soroka, Tom Byrne, Andrew Feeney, James Hawkshaw.
UCD: David Ryan; Jack Ringrose, Gavin Mullin, Tommy O’Brien, Andy Marks; James Tarrant, Paddy Patterson; Emmet Burns, Sean McNulty, Evin Coyle, Cian Prendergast, Charlie Ryan, Jonny Guy (capt), Alex Penny, Stephen McVeigh.
Replacements: Bobby Sheehan, Rory Mulvihill, Mark Fleming, Colm Mulcahy, Luke Maloney.
CORK CONSTITUTION 25 DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 22, Temple Hill
Scorers: Cork Constitution: Tries: Evan Mintern, Brian Hayes, Joe McSwiney; Cons: Jack Crowley 2; Pens: Jack Crowley, Sean French
Dublin University: Tries: Ronan Quinn, Max Kearney, Reuben Pim; Cons: Micheal O’Kennedy 2; Pen: Micheal O’Kennedy
HT: Cork Constitution 7 Dublin University 15
For the fifth round running, Cork Constitution prevailed in a very close finish as they pipped Dublin University 25-22 at Temple Hill.
Incredibly, Constitution’s biggest winning margin so far this season has only been four points, and they showed their mettle in another nail-biting conclusion to what was a repeat of last season’s Division 1A semi-final.
Munster prospect Sean French stepped up to fire home a late penalty and deny Trinity a share of the spoils at 22-all. The defending champions had been in control early on, aided by a 16th minute try from big number 8 Evan Mintern, which Jack Crowley converted.
It was a scrappy opening to proceedings with a lengthy injury stoppage for Con prop Brian Scott. Trinity had much the better of the second quarter, their fast-paced attack clicking into the gear as Micheal O’Kennedy pinged over a 23rd minute penalty and winger Ronan Quinn nipped over in the corner just five minutes later.
With Leinster Academy and Ireland Under-20 talent Liam Turner increasing his threat from midfield, flanker Max Kearney’s late try gave Tony Smeeth’s youngsters further momentum to take into an intriguing second half.
It was end-to-end stuff and very entertaining fare at the Leeside venue, and with the home support getting behind them, Cork Con erased the 15-7 deficit with a Crowley penalty and a forwards-inspired try from lock Brian Hayes.
Into the final quarter, Trinity second row Reuben Pim cancelled out Joe McSwiney’s seven-pointer before Ireland U-20 Grand Slam winner French nailed his place-kick to extend Con’s lead at the top to three points.
CORK CONSTITUTION: Jonathan Wren; Jack Costigan, Sean French, Alex McHenry, Rob Jermyn; Jack Crowley, Ryan Foley; Liam O’Connor, John Sutton, Brian Scott, Brian Hayes, Sean Duffy, Joe McSwiney, Ross O’Neill, Evan Mintern.
Replacements: Max Abbott, Rory Burke, David Hyland, Gerry Hurley, Tomas Quinlan.
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Colm Hogan; Rob Russell, Liam Turner, James Hickey (capt), Ronan Quinn; Micheal O’Kennedy, Rowan Osborne; Bart Vermeulen, Ben Nel, Aziz Naser, Reuben Pim, Joe McCarthy, Johnny McKeown, Max Kearney, Paddy Nulty.
Replacements: George Downey, Giuseppe Coyne, Alex Soroka, Louis O’Reilly, James Fennelly.
TERENURE COLLEGE 22 UCC 14, Lakelands Park
Scorers: Terenure College: Tries: Sam Dardis, Sam Coghlan Murray, Caolan Dooley; Cons: Mark O’Neill 2; Pen: Mark O’Neill
UCC: Tries: Murray Linn, John Hodnett; Cons: Eoin Monahan, Peter Sylvester
HT: Terenure College 7 UCC 7
Terenure College moved up to second place in the Division 1A standings with a hard-earned 22-14 victory over UCC at Lakelands Park.
Sam Dardis, Sam Coghlan Murray and Caolan Dooley all touched down as ‘Nure leapfrogged the Cork students in the table. It was seven points apiece at half-time, but Sean Skehan’s men produced the big moments on the resumption to ultimately earn their fourth win of the campaign.
It was Dardis, the younger brother of Ireland Sevens captain Billy Dardis, who got the ball rolling inside the opening five minutes. He burst through a gap for a superb solo try following a quick attack off a turnover scrum. Mark O’Neill converted and Terenure were good value for their early lead.
Nonetheless, a series of pick and drives edged former leaders UCC towards the whitewash on the quarter hour mark. ‘Nure held them at bay until an Eoin Monahan pass out wide left winger Murray Linn with a simple finish on the right flank. Into a stiff breeze, Monahan landed an excellent conversion to level it up.
Despite ‘Nure losing centre Stephen O’Neill to the sin-bin, UCC were unable to take the lead. Peter Sylvester carried powerfully before a tricky penalty on the stroke of half-time was nudged wide by young out-half Monahan.
‘Nure drew first blood when play resumed, with number 10 O’Neill finding the target from a close range penalty. The hosts could not make hay while UCC prop Bryan O’Connor was in the bin, but they were more ruthless when it came to exploiting the extra space on offer.
After play was spread right across the UCC line, Coghlan Murray grounded an unconverted try on the left wing. UCC remained in contention moving into the final quarter with John Hodnett’s influence growing. Jake Swaine had a try ruled out in the 64th minute – only for ‘Nure to put things right just moments later.
Grasping his opportunity to burst through midfield, centre Dooley spectacularly sprinted in under the posts to make it 22-7. Hodnett, the Munster Academy talent, did likewise with a powerful finish in the 69th minute – supplemented by a Sylvester conversion – which added renewed vigour to UCC’s challenge.
Terenure maintained their composure, however, and the outcome was never in doubt during the final minutes. UCC had a last-gasp chance to notch a losing bonus point, but with Monahan and John Poland both off injured, centre Sylvester’s penalty effort from the 10-metre line fell short.
TERENURE COLLEGE: Matthew Byrne; Sam Dardis, Stephen O’Neill, Caolan Dooley, Sam Coghlan Murray; Mark O’Neill, Conor McKeon; Campbell Classen, Robbie Smyth, Saba Meunargia, Peter Claffey, Michael Melia, Stephen Caffrey, Paddy Thornton (capt), Niall Lalor.
Replacements: Adam Clarkin, Liam Hyland, Mike Murphy, Tim Schmidt, Jake Swaine.
UCC: Rob Hedderman; Murray Linn, Louis Bruce, Peter Sylvester, Matt Bowen; Eoin Monahan, John Poland; Shane O’Hanlon, Fergus Hennessy, Bryan O’Connor, Aiden Brien, Rory Suttor, Ryan Murphy (capt), John Hodnett, Jack O’Sullivan.
Replacements: Tadgh McCarthy, James French, Brian O’Mahony, Louis Kahn, Michael Clune.
YOUNG MUNSTER 13 GARRYOWEN 19, Tom Clifford Park (played on Friday)
Scorers: Young Munster: Try: Evan Cusack; Con: Evan Cusack; Pen: Evan Cusack; Drop: Evan Cusack
Garryowen: Try: Bryan Fitzgerald; Con: Ben Healy; Pens: Ben Healy 4
HT: Young Munster 10 Garryowen 3
Garryowen earned the bragging rights from their Friday Night Lights derby with Young Munster after a 19-13 triumph at Tom Clifford Park.
Conan Doyle’s men scored 16 unanswered points to earn their third win of the 2019/20 season with Ireland Under-20 Grand Slam-winning out-half Ben Healy very much to the fore.
He kicked two crucial penalties during the final 10 minutes to see his side come out on top by six points. Young Munster are yet to taste victory this season after suffering four losses and a draw in the opening five rounds.
The Cookies drew first blood early on with an Evan Cusack drop goal which edged them into a 3-0 lead after as many minutes. A minor dust-up lifted the spirits of both sets of players and supporters on a bitterly cold night.
Garryowen were soon level when Healy slotted over from the tee after Young Munster gave away a scrum penalty. Much of the first half play was played between both 10-metre lines with neither side able to punch a hole through two resolute defences.
Munsters just shaded the opening 25 minutes and had the opportunity to go ahead for a second time when Garryowen infringed at a lineout, but young number 10 Cusack was off target on this occasion.
He made amends soon after when he brilliantly blocked down an attempted Healy clearance from Garryowen’s 10-metre line and collected to score under the posts. The same man then added the extras to give Gearoid Prendergast’s charges a 10-3 lead.
That advantage could have been 10 points at the break after they earned another scrum penalty, but Cusack pushed his effort wide of the posts.
Nonetheless, the increasingly-influential stand-off was back on target four minutes into the second half after Garryowen’s Bryan Fitzgerald was sent to the sin-bin. Cusack made no mistake with his third successful kick of the game.
That was as good as it got for Young Munster, though, as the remainder of this derby match was dominated by their near neighbours. Munster Academy starlet Healy cut the gap to seven points once more in the 52nd minute, and then Garryowen took firm control with the night’s only try.
Good work at a lineout by Diarmuid Barron and Cian Hurley gave them possession deep in Young Munster territory and after sustained pressure, the ball was released out to the backs, and Jamie Heuston found the killer pass for centre Fitzgerald to score. Healy’s conversion squared things up at 13-all.
Young Munster’s discipline then let them down a couple of minutes later when Sean O’Connor was taken out at a lineout and Healy bisected the posts from 23 metres out to give the Light Blues the lead for the first time.
Just moments later, he was on target once more with a massive 50-metre penalty that sealed Garryowen’s third win of the league campaign.
YOUNG MUNSTER: Alan Tynan; Derek Corcoran, Luke Fitzgerald, Evan O’Gorman, Keelan Stephenson; Evan Cusack, Jack Lyons; Josh Wycherley, Ger Slattery, Conor Bartley, Alan Kennedy (capt), John Foley, Jordan Stewart, Conor Mitchell, Gavin Coombes.
Replacements: Shane Fenton, Paul Allen, Darren Ryan, Craig O’Hanlon, Harry Fleming.
GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Cian O’Shea, Bryan Fitzgerald, Dave McCarthy, Tommy O’Hora; Ben Healy, Neil Cronin; Corrie Barrett, Diarmuid Barron, Andy Keating, Sean O’Connor, Kevin Seymour (capt), Tim Ferguson, Jack Daly, Cian Hurley.
Replacements: Liam Cronin, Jack Mullany, Sean Rennison, Jack Stafford, Jack Delaney.