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Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A: Round 14 Review

Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A: Round 14 Review

Young Munster lock Tom Goggin is well supported as he drives forward against local rivals Garryowen ©Liam Coughlan

Young Munster and Terenure College both picked up important victories on the road over the weekend, the Cookies claiming the local bragging rights over Garryowen. ‘Nure overhauled UCC to win for the first time since December.

ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: Saturday, February 29

#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.

DIVISION 1A:

GARRYOWEN 7 YOUNG MUNSTER 11, Dooradoyle (played on Friday)
Scorers: Garryowen: Try: Penalty try; Con: Pen try con
Young Munster: Try: Jack Harrington; Pens: Evan Cusack, Alan Tynan
HT: Garryowen 0 Young Munster 8

Young Munster mastered some awful conditions at Dooradoyle on Friday night as they boosted their Energia All-Ireland League play-off hopes with an 11-7 victory over second-placed Garryowen.

The early effects of Storm Jorge made ball handling a lottery at times in this Limerick derby. Incessant rain and a howling wind meant scores were at a premium throughout, and Munsters winger Jack Harrington helped himself to a crucial try late in the first half.

Gunning for their tenth win in 11 Division 1A rounds, Garryowen struggled to make a breakthrough and the Cookies crept ahead in the eighth minute thanks to a well-struck penalty from influential young out-half Evan Cusack.

Battling through two sin-bin periods, both sides held firm but Munsters, who visited their local rivals on the back of three successive triumphs, struck just before the break as they took advantage of Munster Academy scrum half Jack Stafford’s yellow card.

The visitors’ pack carried hard to suck in the defence before Jack Lyons released the backs and Harrington finished off strongly in the right corner. Full-back Alan Tynan was inches away from adding a second try from a Jason Kiely kick through, yet 8-0 was a considerable interval lead for Gearoid Prendergast’s side.

Garryowen went into double figures for first-half penalties conceded, and another one allowed Tynan to kick Munsters further in front in the 44th minute. Conditions in the third quarter seriously deteriorated, and the Garryowen pack took their cue despite losing loosehead Conor Fitzgerald in a lengthy injury stoppage.

They found an edge at scrum time, winning a series of close-in penalties with Munster Academy prop Keynon Knox sent to the bin. Referee Richard Horgan duly rewarded the Light Blues with a penalty try following another powerful shove by Andy Keating and company.

However, the losing bonus point was their only reward as, on a foul night which produced five yellow cards in total, Young Munster deservedly gained revenge for a 19-13 home defeat back in November.

GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Colm Quilligan, Bryan Fitzgerald, Jack Delaney, Liam Coombes; Dave McCarthy, Jack Stafford; Conor Fitzgerald, Pat O’Toole, Andy Keating, Tim Ferguson, Kevin Seymour (capt), Cian Hurley, Johnny Keane, Bailey Faloon.

Replacements: Liam Cronin, Corrie Barrett, Roy Whelan, Evan Maher, Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Alan Tynan; Jack Harrington, Harry Fleming, Evan O’Gorman, Jason Kiely; Evan Cusack, Jack Lyons; David Begley, Mark O’Mara, Keynon Knox, Tom Goggin, Sean Rigney, Alan Kennedy (capt), Conor Mitchell, Fintan Coleman.

Replacements: Fergal Lawler, Josh Wycherley, Conor Bartley, Charlie O’Doherty, Luke Fitzgerald.

UCD 22 CLONTARF 19, Belfield Bowl
Scorers: UCD: Tries: Alex Penny, David Ryan, Ronan Foley; Cons: James Tarrant 2; Pen: James Tarrant
Clontarf: Tries: Michael Courtney 2, Ivan Soroka; Con: Sean Kearns 2
HT: UCD 15 Clontarf 5

Ronan Foley’s sixth try of the season could be his most important of all after UCD edged out Clontarf 22-19 in a fiercely-contested Energia All-Ireland League tie at Belfield.

Using the rain-soaked pitch to his advantage, number 8 Foley squeezed in under a couple of defenders to score a decisive 70th-minute try in a game that doubled up as the Leinster Senior Cup final. The students are provincial champions for the first time since 2016.

Facing into a gusting wind in the first half, Clontarf’s hopes of bouncing back from a heavy defeat to Garryowen took some early hits. Alex Penny and David Ryan both crossed for the students inside the opening quarter of an hour, adding to James Tarrant’s initial penalty.

It was a fascinating battle at scrum half where Leinster pair Paddy Patterson and Hugh O’Sullivan chipped away behind two determined packs. Closing in on half-time, ‘Tarf got off the mark with a well-worked score from winger Michael Courtney for 15-5.

Good patience by the Clontarf forwards was rewarded with a 47th minute try, prop Ivan Soroka grounding the ball under a pile of bodies. Courtney was released to complete his brace in the 64th minute, with Sean Kearns adding another well-struck conversion for a 19-15 turnaround in very testing conditions.

However, that good work was undone five minutes later when ‘Tarf captain Michael Noone saw yellow and UCD wrestled back control for the closing stages. Foley swiftly seized his opportunity to drive in low over the line, Tarrant tagging on the extras for a three-point advantage.

Kevin Croke’s charges showed impressive composure and game management to close out the result, controlling possession with a frustrated Noone watching on from the touchline. UCD have closed the gap on second-placed Garryowen to five points, while ‘Tarf now lie seven points outside of the top four with four rounds remaining.

UCD: David Ryan; Barry Daly, Gavin Mullin, Tommy O’Brien, Adam Marks; James Tarrant, Paddy Patterson; Emmet Burns, Bobby Sheehan, Sam Griffin, Jonny Guy (capt), Charlie Ryan, Stephen McVeigh, Alex Penny, Ronan Foley.

Replacements: Richie Bergin, Rory Mulvihill, Cian Prendergast, Harry Donnelly, Tim Corkery.

CLONTARF: Gearoid Lyons; Sean Kearns, Michael Brown, Matt D’Arcy, Michael Courtney; Conor Kelly, Hugh O’Sullivan; Ivan Soroka, Dylan Donnellan, JP Phelan, Tom Byrne, Fionn Gilbert, Tom Ryan, Tony Ryan, Michael Noone (capt).

Replacements: Tadgh McElroy, Ruadhan Byron, Sam Garvey, Angus Lloyd, Seni Reilly Ashiru.

UCC 12 TERENURE COLLEGE 14, the Mardyke
Scorers: UCC: Tries: Murray Linn, Michael Clune; Con: James Taylor
Terenure College: Tries: Niall O’Sullivan, Caolan Dooley; Cons: Jake Swaine 2
HT: UCC 12 Terenure College 7

Terenure College registered their first win of 2020 as they outlasted second-from-bottom UCC to triumph 14-12 at a wind-lashed Mardyke.

After picking up four losing bonus points in the last four rounds, ‘Nure finally returned to winning ways as they came from behind to complete a season’s double over the Cork students.

A couple of turnovers proved costly for UCC as they failed to convert their first-quarter pressure into points. All that was forgiven in the 21st minute when Cian Bohane and Harry O’Riordan combined to release Murray Linn into space, and Bohane was up in support to send the full-back sliding over.

Linn’s sixth try of the campaign was converted in the difficult wind by James Taylor, but UCC’s lead was a brief one. Seven minutes later, Terenure used a high-tackle penalty to press through their forwards and replacement Niall O’Sullivan eventually crashed over in the corner from a maul.

Jake Swaine’s excellent conversion tied things up at seven points apiece, yet former Munster centre Bohane starred again in attack as half-time approached. His superb pass released right winger Michael Clune for an unconverted score and a 12-7 lead.

The third quarter was tight and tense, Swaine hitting the post with a penalty and Taylor drawing an effort wide at the other end. But Terenure edged ahead in the 55th minute when young centre Caolan Dooley found enough of a gap to wriggle over with Swaine back on target with an excellent conversion.

Sean Skehan’s side clung onto those extra two points in a gripping finale, ‘Nure standing up to a Bohane-inspired UCC with Peter Claffey, captain Paddy Thornton and Eoin Joyce all having big games up front. They are now ten points clear of the bottom two, and have an eight-point gap to make up on fourth-placed Lansdowne.

UCC: Murray Linn; Michael Clune, Cian Bohane, Harry O’Riordan, Louis Bruce; James Taylor, Louis Kahn; Shane O’Hanlon, Tadgh McCarthy, Bryan O’Connor, Cian Barry, Richard Thompson, Daire Feeney, Rory Suttor, Ryan Murphy (capt).

Replacements: Fergus Hennessy, James French, Aiden Brien, Eoin Monahan, Mark McLoughlin.

TERENURE COLLEGE: Sam Dardis; Jake Swaine, Stephen O’Neill, Caolan Dooley, Cian Croke; Mark O’Neill, Tim Schmidt; Campbell Classen, Robbie Smyth, Liam Hyland, Peter Claffey, Michael Melia, Niall Lalor, Paddy Thornton (capt), Eoin Joyce.

Replacements: Levi Vaughan, Sam McCoy, Niall O’Sullivan, George Morgan, Conor Pender.

LANSDOWNE 12 BALLYNAHINCH 6, Aviva Stadium back pitch
Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Peter Sullivan, Dan Sheehan; Con: Tim Foley
Ballynahinch: Pens: Greg Hutley 2
HT: Lansdowne 5 Ballynahinch 6

Leinster Academy hooker Dan Sheehan grabbed his fourth try in seven games in Lansdowne’s late 12-6 victory over Ballynahinch on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch.

Division 1A’s bottom side scrapped for every ball but faltered right at the death as Sheehan’s pushover effort, converted by Tim Foley, saw Lansdowne bounce back from last week’s deflating one-point defeat at Young Munster.

Yesterday’s hard-earned result keeps Mark McHugh’s men in possession of the final play-off place, with Munsters just a point behind them. Only a point still separates battling ‘Hinch from UCC at the foot of the table.

Peter Sullivan, last season’s leading try scorer in the top flight, was back on the scoresheet with a well-taken 10th-minute try out wide. ‘Hinch had former Lansdowne flanker Clive Ross in their back row and lined out with a changed half-back pairing of Greg Hutley and Aaron Cairns.

It was a testing first half for Brian McLaughlin’s charges, yet they dug deep during openside Bradley Luney’s sin-bin period and nipped ahead before the break. Out-half Hutley coolly knocked over two penalties for a 6-5 scoreline.

It was trench warfare during a defence-dominated second period, neither team able to finish off attacks as the tackle counts increased at a rapid rate. ‘Hinch’s lock pairing of Jack Regan and captain John Donnan stood out for their industry on both sides of the ball.

Lansdowne’s enviable habit of producing a strong finish was the undoing of ‘Hinch, though, as they set up the powerful Sheehan for the match winner from a forwards drive. When the play-off picture becomes clearer in a few weeks’ time, the 22-year-old’s touchdown here could be of huge value.

LANSDOWNE: Tim Foley; Cillian Redmond, Harry Brennan, Conall Doherty, Peter Sullivan; Craig Ronaldson, James Kenny; Martin Mulhall, Dan Sheehan, Adam Boland, Mark Flanagan, Cian O’Dwyer, Jack Dwan (capt), Mark Boyle, Jack O’Sullivan.

Replacements: Jamie Kavanagh, Conan Dunne, Adam Curry, Tim Murphy, Tom Roche.

BALLYNAHINCH: Ross Adair; Conor Rankin, Robin Harte, Ryan Wilson, Paddy Wright; Greg Hutley, Aaron Cairns; Ben Cullen, Zack McCall, Jonny Blair, Jack Regan, John Donnan (capt), Clive Ross, Bradley Luney, Marcus Rea.

Replacements: David Cooper, Nacho Cladera Crespo, Conall Boomer, Sean O’Hagan, Chris Gibson.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 0 CORK CONSTITUTION 27, College Park
Scorers: Dublin University: –
Cork Constitution: Tries: Gerry Hurley, JJ O’Neill 2, Penalty try; Cons: Aidan Moynihan, Pen try con; Pen: Aidan Moynihan
HT: Dublin University 0 Cork Constitution 12

The Cork Constitution juggernaut rolls on after whitewashing Dublin University in a 27-0 bonus point success at a wet and windy College Park.

With four rounds remaining, Cork Con are within touching distance of a home semi-final as third-placed UCD now trail them by 17 points. They have won all 14 of their league matches so far and this was one of their most convincing performances.

Continuing his impressive recent form, Gerry Hurley dived over for a third-minute try. Indeed, blue-shirted Con were 12-0 up in as many minutes as Aidan Moynihan, making his first start since breaking his leg four months ago, combined with Hurley to get the back-line firing.

Munster prospect Alex McHenry put Trinity on the back foot with a smart break up into the 22, and he duly provided the assist to release winger JJ O’Neill for the corner. Full-back Jonathan Wren was also a threatening runner on the counter attack.

Trinity had their moments but Con showed just why they boast the best defensive record in the top flight, with an average concession of just 13 points per game. The likes of Rob Russell and Colm Hogan were well contained in a stop-start first half.

The students were fortunate to only be a dozen points behind at the break, as Con were foiled by an uncharacteristic knock-on within sight of the try-line. As conditions worsened early in the second period, the Division 1A leaders widened the margin to 15 points thanks to a well-hit Moynihan penalty.

Con’s dominant scrum had set up the opportunity for the fit-again out-half, but Trinity lacked the necessary accuracy in their attempts to respond. A loose pass ended a promising attack in try-scoring range and an overcooked James Fennelly kick also saw them hand possession back to the table toppers.

Trinity’s valiant rearguard was worn down for the fleet-footed O’Neill to complete his brace in the 68th minute, getting outside of some chasing forwards. Russell tidied up a loose ball as Con flanker Ross O’Neill threatened to quickly add the bonus point score.

It did arrive inside the dying minutes as Brian Hickey’s men pocketed their fifth try-scoring bonus point of the campaign. Trinity defended a maul with great gusto, but three scrums later, Con’s dynamic forwards were rewarded with a penalty try.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Colm Hogan; Rob Russell, Gavin Jones, James Hickey (capt), Paddy Opperman; Micheal O’Kennedy, Louis O’Reilly; Bart Vermeulen, Ben Nel, Dylan Doyle, Arthur Greene, Jack Dunne, Johnny McKeown, Alan Francis, Anthony Ryan.

Replacements: Mark Nicholson, Thomas Connolly, Joe McCarthy, Jack Connolly, James Fennelly.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Jonathan Wren; JJ O’Neill, Jack Costigan, Alex McHenry, Billy Crowley; Aidan Moynihan, Gerry Hurley; Liam O’Connor, John Sutton, Dylan Murphy, Brian Hayes, Cathal O’Flaherty, James Murphy, Ross O’Neill, David Hyland.

Replacements: Max Abbott, Peter Kelleher, Evan Mintern, Duncan Williams, Bruce Matthews.