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Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A: Round 7 Review

Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A: Round 7 Review

Munster Academy member Liam Coombes crossed for a brace of tries during Garryowen's victory away to Terenure College ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

While Cork Constitution, UCD and Garryowen are leading the way at the business end of Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A, there is a congested bottom half with six of the clubs currently separated by just four points.


#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: Cork Constitution: Tries: Rob Jermyn 3, Jack Crowley, Niall Kenneally; Cons: Jack Crowley 5
Ballynahinch: Tries: Ross Adair, George Pringle, Rhys O’Donnell; Cons: Sean O’Hagan 2
HT: Cork Constitution 28 Ballynahinch 12

Rob Jermyn weighed in with a 25-minute first half hat-trick as Cork Constitution ran out convincing 35-19 bonus point winners over Ballynahinch this afternoon.

The flame-haired winger showed off his finishing skills with a neatly-taken trio of converted tries, helping Con to extend their lead at the top of Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A to five points.

Buoyed by their recent performances, Ballynahinch ventured to Temple Hill with raised hopes of upsetting the title holders. But Jermyn stamped his authority on proceedings with three slick scores from his wing berth to give Con a 21-5 advantage.

‘Hinch’s elusive centre Ross Adair had wriggled through for a fine unconverted try in between, and both back-lines regularly showed their attacking wares thanks to some splendid service from Duncan Williams and Rhys O’Donnell.

Williams’ half-back partner Jack Crowley had a fine day with the boot and he converted his own bonus point score approaching half-time. It was 28-12 at the turnaround as the Co. Down outfit hung in there thanks to a late seven-pointer from fit-again winger George Pringle.

The scoring dried up during the second period with Brian Hickey’s men content with their lot. Their captain Niall Kenneally gave them further breathing space by smashing through for a 55th minute try, converted again by impressive youngster Crowley who finished with a 15-point haul.

‘Hinch closed out the game with another excellent individual score from scrum half O’Donnell, who was the pick of their players. They have slipped back to bottom spot but, such is the current congestion of the teams, they are just six points away from the top four.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Greg Higgins; Sean French, Alex McHenry, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Jack Crowley, Duncan Williams; Gavin Duffy, John Sutton, Dylan Murphy, Sean Duffy, Cathal O’Flaherty, David Hyland, Ross O’Neill, Evan Mintern.

Replacements: Max Abbott, Rory Burke, James Murphy, Ryan Foley, Jack Costigan.

BALLYNAHINCH: Paddy Wright; Aaron Cairns, Ross Adair, Robin Harte, George Pringle; Sean O’Hagan, Rhys O’Donnell; Kyle McCall, Connor Piper, Jonny Blair, James Simpson, John Donnan (capt), Jack Regan, Ollie Loughead, Clive Ross.

Replacements: Harry McCormick, Ben Cullen, Bradley Luney, Conor Rankin, Greg Hutley.

Scorers: Terenure College: Tries: Conor McKeon, Sam Dardis; Cons: Conor McKeon 2
Garryowen: Tries: Liam Coombes 2, Colm Quilligan, Diarmuid Barron; Cons: Jamie Heuston 2; Pen: Jamie Heuston
HT: Terenure College 7 Garryowen 15

Garryowen moved up to third place in the Division 1A standings with a 27-14 bonus-point success against Terenure College at Lakelands Park.

Adding to tries in each half from Munster prospect Liam Coombes, Colm Quilligan and Diarmuid Barron also crossed for the Limerick visitors. Scrum half Conor McKeon accumulated nine points for the hosts, while Sam Dardis – younger brother of Ireland Sevens captain Billy – was once again prominent.

Now coached by former Garryowen senior coach Sean Skehan, Terenure trailed their opponents by a single point for large chunks of the second half. That was until Garryowen pushed into overdrive during the final quarter to claim their fifth win in seven league outings.

The Light Blues bossed the opening exchanges and broke the deadlock in the third minute. Turning down a shot at goal, they went for the corner and it paid dividends as Coombes got on the end of a subsequent grubber kick to touch down and Jamie Heuston clinically converted.

Terenure recovered from their nightmare start with captain Stephen O’Neill carrying powerfully from inside centre. Their pressure became relentless and they deserved got on the board just past the first quarter. After making initial inroads in the 22, McKeon dived over on the left for a snappily-taken try.

The former Connacht half-back converted his own try to draw the hosts level, yet Garryowen hit back before the interval. Off a lineout maul, Quilligan was picked out in space on the right for a five-pointer, before Heuston added a late penalty to make it 15-7 at half-time.

Nine minutes into the second period, it was a single-point game. McKeon went for touch from a close-in penalty and it proved a gamble worth taking as the ever-dangerous Dardis burst through a defensive gap to dot down in style.

Heuston drifted a penalty attempt wide of the posts, six minutes later, and in match of small margins, the next score was always going to be vital. Unfortunately for Terenure, the sin-binning of lock Peter Claffey on 62 minutes left them severely hamstrung.

With their set piece dominance beginning to take hold, Garryowen bagged their third try moments later. Breaking off another lineout drive, hooker Barron crashed over in the right corner.

Although Heuston’s missed conversion left Terenure in with a shout still at 20-14 down, they could not unlock a watertight Garryowen defence despite their lion’s share of possession.

‘Nure were subsequently turned over and following a swift counter attack, tall winger Coombes sealed it for the Limerick men with a superb individual try. Heuston’s outstanding touchline kick brought the curtain down on a fine day at the office for Conan Doyle’s charges.

TERENURE COLLEGE: Jake Swaine; Sam Dardis, Robbie Deegan, Stephen O’Neill (capt), Adam La Grue; James Thornton, Conor McKeon; Saba Meunargia, Adam Clarkin, Liam Hyland, Peter Claffey, Michael Melia, Stephen Caffrey, Niall Lalor, Eoin Joyce.

Replacements: Robbie Smyth, Adam Tuite, Niall O’Sullivan, Mark O’Neill, James O’Donoghue.

GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Colm Quilligan, Bryan Fitzgerald, Jack Delaney, Liam Coombes; 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.

Scorers: Young Munster: Tries: Gavin Coombes, Alan Tynan 2, Keelan Stephenson; Cons: Evan Cusack 4
Dublin University: Tries: Thomas Clarkson, Bart Vermeulen 2; Cons: Micheal O’Kennedy, James Fennelly 2; Pen: Micheal O’Kennedy
HT: Young Munster 14 Dublin University 10

Young Munster earned their second successive league win thanks to a thrilling 28-24 bonus point triumph over Dublin University at Tom Clifford Park.

A brace of tries in each half, including a double from former Ireland Under-20 international Alan Tynan, saw Gearoid Prendergast’s side prevail to move up to sixth place in the Division 1A table.

The Cookies enjoyed a quick start and Munster back rower Gavin Coombes powered over for the opening try after the hosts had taken a quick tap from a scrum penalty. Evan Cusack nailed the conversion to turn it into a seven-pointer.

That advantage was doubled in the 10th minute when excellent carries from centres Evan O’Gorman and Harry Fleming were added to by Jack Lyons. With the defence breached, Munsters sent the ball to the left wing and Tynan ran in a fine try which Cusack converted.

Micheal O’Kennedy settled things down for Trinity with a 19th minute penalty, following Max Kearney’s excellent break. Warming to the task, they then cut Munsters’ lead to just four points on the back of some prolonged pressure inside the home 22.

Several darts close to the line eventually saw a gap open for promising tighthead Thomas Clarkson who marked his return from injury with a well-finished try. O’Kennedy landed the straightforward conversion to reduce the arrears to 14-10 for half-time.

The students went on to dominate the first 15 minutes of the second half, but were repelled by a diligent Young Munster defence. Coombes then capped off a fine defensive effort with a turnover penalty that gave Young Munster a big confidence boost.

Entering a crucial phase of the match, Trinity lock Joe McCarthy was sent to the sin-bin for a lineout infringement and Munsters took full advantage with two tries while he was off the pitch.

Another Coombes line-break put Munsters on the front foot and Fintan Coleman’s offload opened the Trinity defence for Jordan Stewart and Jack Lyons to combine. Keelan Stephenson cut in off his left wing to finish off a scintillating 58th-minute move, and Cusack made no mistake with his third conversion of the afternoon.

The bonus point was clinched moments later as excellent hands put Luke Fitzgerald into space on the right wing. After making the initial break, he popped the ball inside to Tynan who ghosted away from the Trinity defence to score. Cusack’s conversion sent Munsters into a 18-point lead.

To their credit, Trinity came straight back down to score through loosehead prop Bart Vermeulen and the same man took a nice line to collect the losing bonus point with a try at the death. James Fennelly added both conversion to leave the winning margin at just four points at the end of a pulsating clash.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Alan Tynan; Luke Fitzgerald, Harry Fleming, Evan O’Gorman, Keelan Stephenson; Evan Cusack, Jack Lyons; Josh Wycherley, Mark O’Mara, Conor Bartley, Tom Goggin, John Foley, Jordan Stewart, Conor Mitchell, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: David Begley, Paul Allen, Fintan Coleman, Jake Connolly, Derek Corcoran.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Michael Silvester; Colm Hogan, Luis Faria, James Hickey (capt), Ronan Quinn; Micheal O’Kennedy, Louis O’Reilly; Bart Vermeulen, Ben Nel, Thomas Clarkson, Reuben Pim, Joe McCarthy, Johnny McKeown, Max Kearney, Paddy Nulty.

Replacements: Donnacha Mescal, Aziz Naser, Neilus Mulvihill, James Fennelly, Tomas Killeen.

UCC 10 UCD 24, the Mardyke
Scorers: UCC: Try: Rob Hedderman; Con: Rob Hedderman; Pen: Rob Hedderman
UCD: Tries: David Ryan, Jonny Guy, Jack Ringrose; Cons: James Tarrant 3; Pen: James Tarrant
HT: UCC 0 UCD 10

Two brothers of current Leinster and Ireland stars both touched down in UCD’s 24-10 Colours win over UCC at the Mardyke.

David Ryan and Jack Ringrose, younger siblings of James and Garry respectively, got on the scoresheet as Kevin Croke’s young side stretched their unbeaten run in the Energia All-Ireland League to six matches.

UCC were left kicking themselves as they were kept scoreless during a hotly-contested first half. Their young out-half Eoin Monahan missed a wind-assisted penalty from halfway and captain Ryan Murphy’s promising break was spoiled by a knock-on.

The visitors went even closer when electric full-back Ryan raced through but was felled just short of the try-line. A penalty at the subsequent ruck allowed number 10 James Tarrant to open the scoring with 18 minutes on the clock.

Tarrant was off target with a penalty on the half-hour mark, before Ryan got the try his performance deserved just four minutes later. He finished off the hard work of the UCD forwards through twelve phases to put 10 points between the teams at the break.

The Cork students upped the tempo again on the restart, Jack O’Sullivan tearing through the UCD defence to link with Monahan who was stopped just short of the whitewash. UCD won a relieving penalty and their own period of pressure led to skipper Jonny Guy touching down for a 17-0 lead.

UCC needed to react quickly and they did, ending their 65-minute scoreless spell with a morale-boosting try from full-back Rob Hedderman on an overlap. He converted and also tagged on a 71st-minute penalty to put a converted score between them again.

However, the tension for UCD was lifted by an opportunist try from Ringrose. Moving to outside centre after scoring a hat-trick from the wing a fortnight ago, he picked up a loose ball near halfway and sprinted clear to secure the Dudley Cup for the Belfield outfit and keep them in second place in the table.

UCC: Rob Hedderman; Michael Clune, Harry O’Riordan, Murray Linn, Matt Bowen; Eoin Monahan, Louis Kahn; Shane O’Hanlon, Fergus Hennessy, Bryan O’Connor, Cian Barry, Rory Suttor, Ryan Murphy (capt), John Hodnett, Jack O’Sullivan.

Replacements: Tadgh McCarthy, James French, Daire Feeney, Brian Slater, James Taylor.

UCD: David Ryan; Rob Keenan, Jack Ringrose, Eoin Barr, Josh O’Connor; James Tarrant, Harry Donnelly; Rory Mulvihill, Bobby Sheehan, Sam Griffin, Cian Prendergast, Jonny Guy (capt), Ronan Foley, Alex Penny, Stephen McVeigh.

Replacements: Richie Bergin, Emmet Burns, Bobby Leahy, David Moran, David Heavey.

CLONTARF 19 LANSDOWNE 23, Castle Avenue (played on Friday)
Scorers: Clontarf: Try: Ben Reilly; Con: Sean Kearns; Pens: Sean Kearns 4
Lansdowne: Tries: Martin Mulhall, Mark Hernan; Cons: Harry Byrne 2; Pens: Harry Byrne 3
HT: Clontarf 12 Lansdowne 3

Lansdowne put a halt to their five-match losing streak with a much-improved second half performance in downing Clontarf 23-19 at Castle Avenue.

Trailing 12-3 at the break, Mike Ruddock’s men lifted themselves off the league’s bottom rung thanks to converted tries from forwards Martin Mulhall and Mark Hernan, an Ireland Under-19 international last season.

Leinster starlet Harry Byrne also played a key role for the visitors, kicking 13 points as Clontarf missed out on a repeat of last year’s Division 1A semi-final victory over their Dublin rivals.

This Friday Night Lights encounter was a cagey affair during the first half, with full-back Sean Kearns knocking over two early penalties for ‘Tarf. He nailed a thumping third penalty from long range and that nine-point gap remained in place up to half-time.

Byrne sandwiched in his first successful kick before Kearns’ fourth of the night, but Lansdowne found their rhythm during a crucial third quarter push. Having been held scoreless by Young Munster last time out, the headquarters club rediscovered their try-scoring touch.

Loosehead Mulhall piled over from a few metres out for the opener, which was converted by out-half Byrne. With captain Jack Dwan leading by example and Peter Sullivan threatening out wide, Lansdowne continued to convert their opportunities on the all-weather pitch.

They put together 20 points without reply as lively replacement Hernan exploited a defensive gap to force his way over and Byrne took his own haul into double figures. Having relinquished control of the scoreboard, ‘Tarf were running out of time.

The north Dubliners, who had lost two tight games to UCD and Garryowen, battled back late on with former captain Ben Reilly crashing over for a converted try. However, it was only enough for a losing bonus point as Andy Wood’s charges lost more ground in the race for the play-offs.

CLONTARF: Sean Kearns; Jack Power, Michael Brown, Matt D’Arcy, Andrew Smith; Gearoid Lyons, Andrew Feeney; Ivan Soroka, Dylan Donnellan, Royce Burke-Flynn, Cormac Daly, Ben Reilly, Brian Deeny, Adrian D’Arcy, Michael Noone (capt).

Replacements: Tadgh McElroy, Charlie Ward, Tom Byrne, Ben Murphy, David Joyce.

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Mark O’Keefe, Harry Brennan, Barry Goulding, Peter Sullivan; Harry Byrne, Tim Murphy; Martin Mulhall, Dan Sheehan, Greg McGrath, Mark Flanagan, Jack Dwan (capt), Joe O’Brien, Joey Szpara, Jack O’Sullivan.

Replacements: Conor Gleeson, Adam Boland, Mark Hernan, Ross Barron, Fergal Cleary.