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Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A: Round 6 Review

Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A: Round 6 Review

Cork Constitution prop Rory Burke drives forward during their Friday Night Lights derby clash with UCC at the Mardyke ©Perfectlight/Voicu Duma

There were three notable away wins in Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A over the weekend, as Ballynahinch made it back-to-back victories, Cork Constitution extended their lead at the top, and Lansdowne fell to the bottom rung after losing to Young Munster.


#EnergiaAILTry Of The Month has returned for the 2019/20 season. The competition is in its third year and entries are now open to tries scored in all divisions of the Men’s and Women’s Energia All-Ireland League. Click here for entry information.


Scorers: Dublin University: Tries: Aziz Naser, Joe McCarthy, Colm Hogan 2; Cons: Micheal O’Kennedy 4; Pens: Micheal O’Kennedy 2
Ballynahinch: Tries: Robert Baloucoune 3, Aaron Cairns; Cons: Bill Johnston 3; Pens: Bill Johnston 3
HT: Dublin University 13 Ballynahinch 17

Ulster flyer Robert Baloucoune scored a hat-trick of tries and Bill Johnston kicked a last-gasp match-winning penalty in Ballynahinch’s epic 35-34 Energia All-Ireland League win at Dublin University.

The fit-again Baloucoune got some valuable game-time in today’s eight-try Division 1A fixture, showing his eye for the line as he looks to break back into the Ulster team. He gobbled up fellow Ulster player Johnston’s cross-field kick to score the opening try at College Park.

Out-halves Micheal O’Kennedy and Johnston swapped penalties before Trinity edged into a 13-10 lead. With the Leinster-capped Rowan Osborne taking some quick taps and the home pack, including Ryan Baird, increasing their intensity in attack, O’Kennedy added a second penalty and burly prop Aziz Naser barrelled over the whitewash.

However, a terrific break from Osborne’s opposite number Rhys O’Donnell led to a second try for Baloucoune in the corner, giving ‘Hinch a 17-13 half-time lead. A Johnston penalty got the scoreboard moving again in the second half, although Trinity snapped back with a brilliant levelling try from pacy full-back Colm Hogan.

In what was a superb advertisement for All-Ireland League rugby, the tries kept coming as Baloucoune, chasing down his own kick through down the touchline, completed his hat-trick and the equally elusive Hogan notched his second.

O’Kennedy’s conversion had the hosts 27-25 ahead with a fascinating final quarter in prospect. Just when it seemed like Trinity had developed a crucial cushion with young lock Joe McCarthy bursting over to make it 34-25, ‘Hinch had other ideas.

Honing in on a second successive victory, winger Cairns ran in an excellent solo try, aided some equally impressive work in the build-up from Jack Regan. Then it was Johnston’s turn to hold his nerve, turning a scrum penalty into a decisive three-pointer as he completed his crucial 15-point contribution.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Colm Hogan; Rob Russell, Liam Turner, James Hickey (capt), Ronan Quinn; Micheal O’Kennedy, Rowan Osborne; Bart Vermeulen, Ben Nel, Aziz Naser, Joe McCarthy, Ryan Baird, Johnny McKeown, Max Kearney, Alex Soroka.

Replacements: George Downing, Giuseppe Coyne, Paddy Nulty, Louis O’Reilly, James Fennelly.

BALLYNAHINCH: Paddy Wright; Aaron Cairns, Ross Adair, Ryan Wilson, Robert Baloucoune; Bill Johnston, Rhys O’Donnell; Ben Cullen, Tom Stewart, Jonny Blair, Jack Regan, John Donnan (capt), Clive Ross, Ollie Loughead, Marcus Rea.

Replacements: Connor Piper, Harry McCormick, Aaron Hall, George Pringle, Sean O’Hagan.

GARRYOWEN 13 CLONTARF 10, Dooradoyle
Scorers: Garryowen: Try: Penalty try; Con: Pen try con; Pens: Jamie Heuston 2
Clontarf: Try: Cian Walsh; Con: Sean Kearns; Pen: Sean Kearns
HT: Garryowen 6 Clontarf 10

In-form Garryowen made it three league wins in-a-row with a second half penalty try proving crucial in their tense encounter with Clontarf at Dooradoyle.

The Light Blues prevailed 13-10 to move back into Division 1A’s top four, as sixth-placed ‘Tarf were held scoreless in the second half and ultimately fell to their fourth defeat in five matches.

The north Dubliners had won 29-12 on their last visit to Garryowen in March, and they were able to recover well from a six-point deficit this afternoon. Garryowen full-back Jamie Heuston landed a brace of penalties from either side of the posts.

The closing eight minutes of the first half saw ‘Tarf come alive as they profited from Sean O’Connor’s sin-binning. Their forwards piled on the pressure during some patient phases close to the line before flanker Cian Walsh crashed over from a power-packed collective drive from a few metres out.

Full-back Sean Kearns added the extras and also tagged on a late penalty goal for a 10-6 turnaround at the break. But the visitors suffered the double whammy of a penalty try and a yellow card in the 51st minute.

Diarmuid Barron connected with O’Connor at a close-in lineout and as the well-executed maul thundered towards the line, ‘Tarf openside Ruadhan Byron was singled out by referee Eddie Hogan O’Connell for the sin-bin infringement and the concession of the penalty try.

Now back in the lead, Garryowen were able to hold onto their hard-earned advantage with half-backs Dave McCarthy and Jack Stafford, O’Connor and Andy Keating all producing big performances. Despite the best efforts of Leinster centre Conor O’Brien, ‘Tarf were unable to eke out a closing score.

GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Colm Quilligan, Bryan Fitzgerald, Jack Delaney, Tommy O’Hora; Dave McCarthy, Jack Stafford; Corrie Barrett, Diarmuid Barron, Andy Keating, Sean O’Connor, Kevin Seymour (capt), Johnny Keane, Jack Daly, Tim Ferguson.

Replacements: Liam Cronin, Jack Mullany, Sean Rennison, Evan Maher, Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham.

CLONTARF: Sean Kearns; Jack Power, Conor O’Brien, Matt D’Arcy, Cian O’Donoghue; Conor Kelly, Ben Murphy; Ivan Soroka, Tadgh McElroy, Jack Aungier, Tom Byrne, Johan van der Flier, Cian Walsh, Ruadhan Byron, Michael Noone (capt).

Replacements: Dylan Donnellan, JP Phelan, Cormac Daly, Mark O’Sullivan, Gearoid Lyons.

LANSDOWNE 0 YOUNG MUNSTER 7, Aviva Stadium back pitch
Scorers: Lansdowne: –
Young Munster: Try: Luke Fitzgerald; Con: Evan Cusack
HT: Lansdowne 0 Young Munster 0

Luke Fitzgerald’s priceless 58th-minute try gave Young Munster their first victory of the league campaign as they overcame Lansdowne 7-0 on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch.

Despite the presence of Leinster duo Cian Kelleher and Harry Byrne in the home line-up, it was Munsters who enjoyed a rare triumph at headquarters as they sent off-colour Lansdowne down to bottom spot.

Mike Ruddock’s men had lost their previous four games and did well to prevent Munster prospect Keynan Knox from touching down inside the opening quarter. The South African youngster was held up over the line and defences stayed on top for the remainder of a scoreless first half.

The set piece battle was fiercely contested and there was a ding-dong battle between the back rows, led by Jack O’Sullivan and Gavin Coombes. Wearing their grey away jerseys, the Cookies made the breakthrough on the hour mark when young winger Fitzgerald squeezed over in the corner.

A cracking touchline conversion from Evan Cusack made it a seven-pointer, a huge score given the tight nature of the contest. Lansdowne captain Jack Dwan rallied his troops, but the visitors’ defence stood firm to wrap up a memorable week for head coach Gearoid Prendergast whose Ireland Club International appointment was confirmed on Tuesday.

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Cian Kelleher, Harry Brennan, Fergal Cleary, Peter Sullivan; Harry Byrne, Tim Murphy; Martin Mulhall, James Rael, Adam Boland, Mark Flanagan, Jack Dwan (capt), Jack Dinneen, Mark Hernan, Jack O’Sullivan.

Replacements: Greg McGrath, Shane Moynihan, Neal Moylett, Ross Barron, Daniel McEvoy.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Alan Tynan; Luke Fitzgerald, Harry Fleming, Evan O’Gorman, Craig O’Hanlon; Evan Cusack, Jack Lyons; Conor Bartley, Mark O’Mara, Keynan Knox, Alan Kennedy (capt), John Foley, Jordan Stewart, Conor Mitchell, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Shane Fenton, Josh Wycherley, Sean Rigney, Charlie O’Doherty, Derek Corcoran.

UCD 30 TERENURE COLLEGE 20, Belfield Bowl
Scorers: UCD: Tries: Tommy O’Brien, Jack Ringrose 3; Cons: James Tarrant 2; Pens: James Tarrant 2
Terenure College: Tries: Sam Coghlan Murray, Sam Dardis, Peter Claffey; Con: Mark O’Neill; Pen: Mark O’Neill
HT: UCD 18 Terenure College 15

Jack Ringrose matched his older brother Garry’s hat-trick heroics with Leinster as he helped UCD to an exciting 30-20 bonus point defeat of Terenure College.

There was plenty of brotherly love at the Belfield Bowl where right winger Ringrose chipped in with a trio of well-taken scores, the Penny siblings, Alex and Scott, played together in the students’ back row, and Terenure had Stephen and Mark O’Neill in their back-line.

Today’s result saw UCD swap places with Terenure in the Division 1A standings, with Kevin Croke’s youngsters now second overall thanks to their five-match unbeaten run. They are four points behind leaders Cork Constitution whom they face at Temple Hill in three weeks’ time.

Terenure, who had won four of their previous five matches, hit the front in the ninth minute when former UCD favourite Sam Coghlan Murray collected Mark O’Neill’s cross-field kick and finished in slick fashion in the left corner. Out-half O’Neill’s conversion made it 7-0.

Responding to a James Tarrant penalty, Terenure recovered from tighthead Liam Hyland’s sin-binning for a deliberate knock-on and grabbed their second try in the 20th minute. Conor McKeon’s initial break, combined with some nice interplay between Stephen O’Neill and Jake Swaine, set up centre Sam Dardis to step inside the covering David Ryan and make the line.

UCD reduced the arrears to 12-10 thanks to a well-worked try off a close-in lineout, centre Tommy O’Brien dotting down after Sean McNulty had fed him from Alex Penny’s tap-down at the set piece. Mark O’Neill and Tarrant traded penalties, but UCD nipped in front for half-time with Ringrose scoring from Tarrant’s chip kick to the left corner.

That 38th-minute score went unconverted at 18-15, and despite Terenure’s best efforts, UCD made a significant move in the third quarter. Ringrose crossed again in the 54th and 65th minutes, the first try coming from a long skip pass by Tarrant and a final delivery from Stephen McVeigh to send his team-mate over in the left corner.

The blond-haired Ringrose then collected a bouncing pass from full-back Ryan, who had been invited through a gap by O’Brien, to pocket the bonus point and make it 30-15. The students had replacement lock Bobby Leahy sin-binned for a slap-down, but flanker Peter Claffey’s maul try was all ‘Nure could muster in the dying minutes.

UCD: David Ryan; Jack Ringrose, Gavin Mullin, Tommy O’Brien, Andy Marks; James Tarrant, Paddy Patterson; Michael Milne, Sean McNulty, Sam Griffin, Jonny Guy (capt), Cian Prendergast, Alex Penny, Scott Penny, Stephen McVeigh.

Replacements: Bobby Sheehan, Rory Mulvihill, Bobby Leahy, Luke Maloney, Colm Mulcahy.

TERENURE COLLEGE: Jake Swaine; Matthew Byrne, Stephen O’Neill (capt), Sam Dardis, Sam Coghlan Murray; Mark O’Neill, Conor McKeon; Saba Meunargia, Robbie Smyth, Liam Hyland, Mike Murphy, Michael Melia, Peter Claffey, Niall O’Sullivan, Eoin Joyce.

Replacements: Adam Clarkin, Campbell Classen, Niall Lalor, Mark Fabian, Caolan Dooley.

UCC 6 CORK CONSTITUTION 10, the Mardyke (played on Friday)
Scorers: UCC: Pens: John Poland 2
Cork Constitution: Try: Jonathan Wren; Con: Jack Crowley; Pen: Jack Crowley
HT: UCC 6 Cork Constitution 7

Ireland Under-20 starlet Jonathan Wren scored the only try of Friday night’s derby as Cork Constitution battled past UCC 10-6 to make it six wins out of six in Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A.

Constitution now hold a four-point lead at the summit, with UCC falling to their third successive defeat and fifth place in the table. Con watched Jack Crowley miss an early penalty before a kick through played in full-back Wren for his all-important 13th-minute try.

Former Bandon Grammar School captain Crowley was bang on target with a terrific touchline conversion, and that kept the defending champions in front with UCC growing into the game as the first half progressed.

Good work on the ball by UCC back rowers Jack O’Sullivan and John Hodnett preceded a penalty attempt which John Poland pulled wide. However, the busy scrum half nailed his next kick in the 22nd minute after Rory Suttor’s chip-and-chase effort saw the big Australian narrowly miss out on a try.

Con’s experienced pack won a couple of crucial lineouts and scrums, forcing a penalty in the latter, but UCC turned the tables late on. A high tackle saw Constitution down to 14 men and Poland popped over the place-kick to make it a one-point game at the interval – 7-6.

The visitors had the upper hand during the third quarter, and a Crowley penalty in the 58th minute reopened the four-point gap. Con had dominated possession – captain Niall Kenneally and Brian Hayes stood out for their influence on play – and UCC’s best opportunity during the closing stages was ruined by a penalty kick to touch which went dead.

UCC: Rob Hedderman; Michael Clune, Louis Bruce, Murray Linn, Matt Bowen; Peter Sylvester, John Poland; Shane O’Hanlon, Fergus Hennessy, Bryan O’Connor, Aidan Brien, Rory Suttor, Ryan Murphy (capt), John Hodnett, Jack O’Sullivan.

Replacements: Tadgh McCarthy, James French, Brian O’Mahony, Louis Kahn, Killian Coghlan.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Jonathan Wren; Sean French, Alex McHenry, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Jack Crowley, Gerry Hurley; Brian Scott, Max Abbott, Rory Burke, Brian Hayes, Sean Duffy, Joe McSwiney, Ross O’Neill, Evan Mintern.

Replacements: John Sutton, Gavin Duffy, James Murphy, Duncan Williams, Tomas Quinlan.