Cork Constitution and Lansdowne were the only clubs to complete the back-to-back double over their respective opponents, with Dublin University, Garryowen and Ballynahinch bouncing back to begin the New Year in winning fashion.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: Saturday, January 11
#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.
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 13 TERENURE COLLEGE 6, College Park
Scorers: Dublin University: Try: Mark Nicholson; Con: Micheal O’Kennedy; Pens: Micheal O’Kennedy 2
Terenure College: Pens: James Thornton 2
HT: Dublin University 0 Terenure College 3
Hooker Mark Nicholson pounced for a decisive 58th-minute try to give Dublin University a much-needed 13-6 win over Terenure College in Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A.
In a largely attritional game played in testing wet conditions at College Park, Nicholson’s converted effort was enough to end the students’ five-match losing streak. The result saw them gain some revenge for last month’s 34-20 away defeat to Terenure.
Trinity were boosted by the return of Leinster starlet Rowan Osborne at scrum half, and unfortunately his opposite number Tim Schmidt – son of former Ireland head coach Joe, an interested spectator on the day – was forced off with an early injury.
After Micheal O’Kennedy missed a seventh-minute penalty for the hosts, Terenure settled into the contest and James Thornton kicked them ahead in the 13th minute from a tricky position on the left.
‘Nure had a series of attacking penalties in the second quarter, and while their lineout attempts failed to produce a try, the sin-binning of Trinity lock Arthur Greene gave them an obvious advantage.
Credit to Tony Smeeth’s youngsters, they knuckled down and largely dominated possession in Greene’s absence. Their attack was beginning to click at 3-0 down at the interval, and O’Kennedy duly split the posts just four minutes into the second half.
Thornton missed a kickable chance into a stiff breeze, and with clear-cut opportunities at a premium, the prospect of a low-scoring draw loomed large. That was until Osborne exploited a gap in the ‘Nure defence and quickly offloaded for Nicholson to touch down behind the posts. O’Kennedy converted for a 10-3 scoreline.
Terenure answered back with a lung-busting break from deep by Stephen O’Neill. Thornton followed up with a successful penalty to reduce the arrears to four points. The students maintained their composure, though, and an O’Kennedy three-pointer edged them closer to a precious victory.
Mid-table ‘Nure pushed with their might for a levelling try in the dying embers. A late lineout produced a final assault on the Trinity whitewash, but the second-from-bottom hosts dug deep and a defensive turnover brought this tense encounter to a close.
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Michael Silvester; Colm Hogan, Luis Faria, James Hickey (capt), Liam McMahon; Micheal O’Kennedy, Rowan Osborne; Bart Vermeulen, Mark Nicholson, Thomas Clarkson, Arthur Greene, Joe McCarthy, Alex Soroka, Max Kearney, Anthony Ryan.
Replacements: Robert Russell, Conor Lowndes, Donnacha Mescal, Dylan Doyle, Paddy Nulty.
TERENURE COLLEGE: Adam Lagrue; Jake Swaine, Stephen O’Neill, Caolan Dooley, Sam Coghlan Murray; James Thornton, Tim Schmidt; Campbell Classen, Robbie Smyth, Liam Hyland, Peter Claffey, Michael Melia (capt), Stephen Caffrey, Niall O’Sullivan, Eoin Joyce.
Replacements: Levi Vaughan, Adam Tuite, Mike Murphy, Mark Fabian, Mark O’Neill.
CORK CONSTITUTION 18 YOUNG MUNSTER 3, Temple Hill
Scorers: Cork Constitution: Tries: Brian Hayes, Barry Galvin; Con: Jack Crowley; Pens: Jack Crowley 2
Young Munster: Pen: Evan Cusack
HT: Cork Constitution 8 Young Munster 0
Tries in either half from Brian Hayes and replacement Barry Galvin saw Cork Constitution make it a perfect 10 wins-out-of-10 in their provincial derby against Young Munster at Temple Hill.
With eight rounds remaining in Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A, Cork Con hold an eight-point lead at the top of the table. It has been a busy few weeks for them with their Munster Senior Cup title triumph and qualification for the Bateman Cup final.
Young Munster were seeking to avenge that recent Munster Senior Cup final loss, as well as last month’s 16-15 league reversal at home. Crucially, they could not convert their first half pressure into points and trailed 8-0 at half-time.
In very wet conditions with the wind blowing from the city end, Constitution edged ahead in the second quarter after Ireland Under-20 prospect Jack Crowley clipped over a penalty and talismanic lock Hayes barged over in the corner for an important try.
Scoring chances were at a premium, and despite matching Con in a number of facets of the game, Munsters’ endeavours went unrewarded despite the best efforts of Evan Cusack, the division’s leading points scorer, Alan Tynan and the second row pairing of Sean Rigney and captain Alan Kennedy.
Cusack split the posts to cancel out a 62nd-minute strike from Crowley, and although the hosts’ young out-half missed an injury-time attempt, there was still enough time for Galvin – their hat-trick hero from last Saturday’s Bateman Cup semi-final in Sligo – to burst through and add a late gloss to the scoreboard.
CORK CONSTITUTION: Jonathan Wren; Sean French, Greg Higgins, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Jack Crowley, Duncan Williams; Gavin Duffy, John Sutton, Rory Burke, Brian Hayes, Sean Duffy, Joe McSwiney, James Murphy, David Hyland.
Replacements: Max Abbott, Pat Casey, Cathal O’Flaherty, Gerry Hurley, Barry Galvin.
YOUNG MUNSTER: Alan Tynan; Jason Kiely, Harry Fleming, Evan O’Gorman, Jack Harrington; Evan Cusack, Jack Lyons; Josh Wycherley, Mark O’Mara, Conor Bartley, Sean Rigney, Alan Kennedy (capt), Jordan Stewart, Conor Mitchell, John Foley.
Replacements: David Begley, Paul Allen, Tom Goggin, Charlie O’Doherty, Keelan Stephenson.
BALLYNAHINCH 11 CLONTARF 10, Ballymacarn Park
Scorers: Ballynahinch: Try: Aaron Cairns; Pens: Sean O’Hagan 2
Clontarf: Try: Dylan Donnellan; Con: Gearoid Lyons; Pen: Gearoid Lyons
HT: Ballynahinch 6 Clontarf 7
Former captain Aaron Cairns delivered the only points of a tightly-contested second half as bottom side Ballynahinch edged out Clontarf 11-10 at a wet and windy Ballymacarn Park.
An early second half multi-phase attack, which included a killer pass from Ross Adair, sent left winger Cairns over for a vital try, with ‘Hinch holding firm to win for the first time in four rounds.
Brian McLaughlin’s men were on the end of a 47-21 defeat at Clontarf before the Christmas break, but they showed their battling qualities in the return fixture to make it a three-way tie with Dublin University and UCC at the foot of the table.
With some impressive ball retention by Clontarf’s forwards early on, hooker Dylan Donnellan plunged over from a close-in ruck to open the scoring. Gearoid Lyons converted before his opposite number, Sean O’Hagan, responded from the tee for the County Down outfit.
The fleet-footed Cairns increased his influence by spearheading a length-of-the-field break, and despite a forward pass spoiling the attack, O’Hagan soon stepped up to reduce the arrears to 7-6 as half-time approached.
The hosts showed their mettle to keep ‘Tarf’s dangerous back-line scoreless while flanker Ollie Loughead was in the sin-bin, and Cairns’ well-taken try came at just the right time. It was a deserved reward for the pressure built up by ‘Hinch’s hard-carrying forwards, including Kyle and Zack McCall, Jack Regan and Marcus Rea.
The try went unconverted at 11-7 and the north Dubliners’ pack duly bounced back by winning a scrum penalty right in front of the posts. Ex-Ireland Sevens international Lyons, who combined well in attack with Angus Lloyd and Matt D’Arcy, claimed the three points to make it a one-point game.
During a tense final few minutes, ‘Hinch came closest to adding to their tally, again with their forwards pounding away inside the visitors’ 22. The Clontarf defence was resolute and forced a clearing penalty, the last significant act of this ding-dong battle.
BALLYNAHINCH: Paddy Wright; Ross Adair, Robin Harte, Ryan Wilson, Aaron Cairns; Sean O’Hagan, Rhys O’Donnell; Kyle McCall, Zack McCall, Jonny Blair, Jack Regan, John Donnan (capt), Marcus Rea, Ollie Loughead, Callum Irvine.
Replacements: Conor Piper, Ben Cullen, Zac Ward, Connor Rankin, George Pringle.
CLONTARF: Jack Power; Sean Kearns, Michael Courtney, Matt D’Arcy, Andrew Smith; Gearoid Lyons, Angus Lloyd; Ivan Soroka, Dylan Donnellan, Charlie Ward, Tom Byrne, Ben Reilly, Ruadhan Byron, Adrian D’Arcy, Michael Noone (capt).
Replacements: Tadgh McElroy, Johan van der Flier, Sam Garvey, Ben Murphy, Conor Kelly.
GARRYOWEN 40 UCD 14, Dooradoyle
Scorers: Garryowen: Tries: Diarmuid Barron 2, Liam Coombes, Alex Wootton 2, Bryan Fitzgerald; Cons: Dave McCarthy, John Hurley; Pens: Dave McCarthy, John Hurley
UCD: Tries: Matthew Gilsenan, David Ryan; Cons: Tim Corkery 2
HT: Garryowen 20 UCD 7
Munster’s Diarmuid Barron and Alex Wootton weighed in with two tries each during Garryowen’s dominant 40-14 victory over UCD at Dooradoyle.
The second-placed Light Blues are in a rich vein of form attack-wise, bagging a try-scoring bonus point in each of the last four rounds. They now have a five-point buffer over UCD in the play-off positions, with eight points to make up on unbeaten leaders Cork Constitution.
The students had pipped Garryowen 25-24 in a titanic tussle before Christmas – Ronan Foley starred with a second half hat-trick – and this return clash was just as competitive early on. Hooker Barron’s textbook maul try on the quarter hour mark was cancelled out by a Matthew Gilsenan effort near the posts.
Winger Wootton darted in between two defenders to score in the 26th minute, benefiting from half-backs Jack Stafford and Dave McCarthy’s slick service. After McCarthy added a penalty, Barron’s Munster Academy colleague Liam Coombes extended the lead to 20-7 when pouncing on a UCD error to go over in the left corner.
Coombes struck another psychological blow before the interval with a brilliant try-saving tackle, and Kevin Croke’s young side – who had strung together six wins and a draw across the first half of the season – really needed to hit back quickly on the resumption.
Instead, the Kevin Seymour-led Garryowen pack pushed the margin out to 18 points with a 45th-minute bonus point try. UCD’s maul defence was splintered by another forceful drive and Barron sniped over to complete his brace on the greasy surface.
Some neat footwork from Garryowen centre Bryan Fitzgerald took him over for his fifth try of the campaign, before UCD replied with full-back David Ryan scoring from a 72nd-minute interception. However, College were soon reduced to 14 men when replacement Chris Hennessy saw yellow for collapsing a maul.
Garryowen replacement John Hurley, an Under-20 full-back, kept the scoreboard ticking over by knocking the penalty through the uprights, and there was still time for the Limerick men to register a sixth touchdown when Wootton dived over in the right corner.
GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Alex Wootton, Bryan Fitzgerald, Jack Delaney, Liam Coombes; Dave McCarthy, Jack Stafford; Conor Fitzgerald, Diarmuid Barron, Andy Keating, Paddy Kelly, Kevin Seymour (capt), Roy Whelan, Pat O’Toole, Tim Ferguson.
Replacements: Liam Cronin, Jack Mullany, Sean Rennison, Evan Maher, John Hurley.
UCD: David Ryan; Jack Ringrose, Tommy O’Brien, Matthew Gilsenan, Josh O’Connor; Tim Corkery, Paddy Patterson; Rory Mulvihill, Bobby Sheehan, Emmet Burns, Bobby Leahy, Cian Prendergast, Sean O’Brien, Ronan Foley, Jonny Guy (capt).
Replacements: Richie Bergin, Evin Coyle, Chris Hennessy, Tim Costigan, James Tarrant.
LANSDOWNE 19 UCC 18, Aviva Stadium back pitch
Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Mark Hernan, Dan Sheehan, Jack O’Sullivan; Cons: Peter Hastie, Tim Foley
UCC: Tries: James Taylor, Killian Coghlan; Con: James Taylor; Pens: James Taylor 2
HT: Lansdowne 7 UCC 10
Lansdowne have moved into Division 1A’s top four after squeezing past UCC by a single point for the second round running.
Mark McHugh’s men outscored the Cork students by three tries to two, with forwards Mark Hernan, Dan Sheehan, their Bateman Cup semi-final hat-trick hero from last week, and Jack O’Sullivan all touching down in a hard-fought 19-18 triumph.
It has been a cruel couple of results for UCC who are now tied on 18 points with Ballynahinch and Dublin University at the bottom of the table. In contrast, Lansdowne’s four-match winning run has seen them climb into the play-off positions.
A lot of the pre-match buzz focused on midfield where Munster Academy back rower John Hodnett was tried out at inside centre, while fit-again former Connacht back Craig Ronaldson was his opposite number on the day for Lansdowne.
It was talismanic number 10 James Taylor who provided the early inspiration for UCC, weaving through for a converted try while much of Lansdowne’s defensive focus was on the hard-carrying Hodnett. Taylor’s effort supplemented his earlier penalty.
Responding to captain Jack Dwan’s rallying words, the headquarters club made sure they cut the gap as half-time approached. Their forward power provided the platform for openside Hernan to break through and Peter Hastie added a crisply-struck conversion.
The third quarter was tit-for-tat too, both teams coming away with points from their visits to the 22. UCC retained their lead but only just, as a Taylor penalty was followed by a trademark power-packed lineout drive from Lansdowne and in-form Leinster Academy ace Sheehan delivered the five points.
Replacement Killian Coghlan, a Munster Schools Senior Cup winner with CBC Cork last year, showed his pace to reopen the six-point advantage for UCC at 18-12, making exactly the impact that head coach Brian Walsh had desired.
Frustratingly for Walsh and his fellow coaches, that good work was undone when Lansdowne took the lead for the first and final time in the 67th minute. Big blindside O’Sullivan proved unstoppable once he built up a head of steam, and replacement Tim Foley tagged on the all-important conversion.
Indeed, there was a huge collective sigh of relief from the hosts when referee Chris Busby blew his final whistle, Lansdowne surviving a frantic conclusion with their Connacht Eagles winger Peter Sullivan earning the man-of-the-match award for his industry in both defence and attack.
LANSDOWNE: Conall Doherty; Daniel McEvoy, Harry Brennan, Craig Ronaldson, Peter Sullivan; Peter Hastie, Tim Murphy; Martin Mulhall, Dan Sheehan, Greg McGrath, Mark Flanagan, Jack Dwan (capt), Jack O’Sullivan, Mark Hernan, Darragh Murphy.
Replacements: Adam Boland, Shane Moynihan, Mark Boyle, Conor Murphy, Tim Foley.
UCC: Murray Linn; Michael Clune, Louis Bruce, John Hodnett, Matt Bowen; James Taylor, Louis Kahn; Shane O’Hanlon, Tadgh McCarthy, Rob O’Donovan, Cian Barry, Daire Feeney, Ryan Murphy (capt), Rory Suttor, Jack O’Sullivan.
Replacements: Daniel O’Connor, James French, Richard Thompson, Eoin Monahan, Killian Coghlan.