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Energia Men’s All-Ireland League: Division 1B Round 2 Review

Energia Men’s All-Ireland League: Division 1B Round 2 Review

The Navan and Highfield players shake hands after their eight-try encounter at Balreask Old ©Navan RFC

32 tries and four try-scoring bonus points were accumulated across the five second round games in Energia Men’s All-Ireland League Division 1B on Saturday.

ENERGIA MEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – DIVISION 1B:

ROUND 2: Saturday, October 9

CITY OF ARMAGH 32 OLD BELVEDERE 18, Palace Grounds
Scorers: City of Armagh: Tries: Kyle Faloon, Andrew Willis, Shea O’Brien, Penalty try; Cons: Kyle Faloon 2, Pen try con; Pens: Kyle Faloon 2
Old Belvedere: Tries: James McKeown, Paddy Dowling; Con: Justin Leonard; Pens: Justin Leonard 2
HT: City of Armagh 22 Old Belvedere 15

Second-placed City of Armagh made it two wins out of two, with full-back Kyle Faloon scoring 15 points in their 32-18 bonus point dismissal of Old Belvedere at the Palace Grounds.

Shea O’Brien’s try after just 40 seconds set Chris Parker’s men up for a home victory, although Old Belvedere were still very much in the hunt at half-time, trailing 22-15.

Tries from James McKeown and Paddy Dowling saw Belvedere cancel out an early 12-point deficit, but a lone Justin Leonard penalty was all they could muster in the second half.

The hosts made a dream start, retrieving the kick-off and Chris Colvin made a fine break to feed fellow centre O’Brien for his second try of the campaign. It went unconverted.

A Belvedere spill allowed Armagh to build for a fourth-minute score, with Faloon breaking clear from deep and linking with winger Andrew Willis. Some lovely interplay followed before Faloon went in under the posts and converted.

Stung into action at 12-0 down, Belvedere showed impressive resilience to get back level by the quarter hour mark. Leonard’s cross-field kick played in winger McKeown for an unconverted effort.

Incredibly, straight from the restart, the Dubliners stormed through for their second try. Flanker Colin Mallon’s brilliant run and pass put Dowling over, with Leonard adding the levelling conversion.

Faloon had a near miss when he was forced into touch, close to the Belvedere whitewash. The visitors relieved the pressure with a well-won scrum penalty.

Faloon and Leonard swapped penalties to make it 15-all, the latter punishing an Armagh offside, but Parker’s charges dominated possession in the lead up to the interval.

‘Belvo suffered a double setback when they leaked a penalty try for dragging a maul down, with the yellow card shown to prop Jerry Cahir. 

Armagh’s fourth try was almost created by a James Hanna break before the half-time whistle. Yet, they resumed with that same determination, a turnover by Colvin, coupled with a Romain Morrow cross-field kick, launching them downfield.

A straightforward 50th-minute penalty from ‘Belvo’s Leonard reduced the arrears to 22-18, but Faloon replied just two minutes later to restore the seven-point gap.

Ray Monaghan’s men were defending well, even when out-half Leonard saw yellow for a no-arms tackle. They forced a couple of knock-ons to prevent Armagh from taking advantage.

However, the match-winning score arrive with 10 minutes remaining. Colvin used lineout ball, 40 metres out, to cut through and he passed for experienced winger Willis to finish off.

Faloon’s terrific touchline conversion took his league tally to 25 points after two rounds. Armagh are on home soil again next Saturday, hosting fourth-placed Shannon.

– Photos by Ken Redpath

CITY OF ARMAGH: Kyle Faloon; Andrew Willis, Shea O’Brien, Chris Colvin, Matthew Hooks; Romain Morrow, Alex Johnston; Peter Lamb, Jack Treanor, Philip Fletcher, John Glasgow, Josh McKinley, Nigel Simpson, James Hanna, Ryan Finlay.

Replacements: Jonny Morton, Eoin O’Hagan, Oli Millar, James Morton, Gerard Treanor, Evin Crummie.

OLD BELVEDERE: Colm Hogan; James McKeown, David Butler, Robbie Deegan, Billy O’Hora; Justin Leonard Peter O’Beirne; Jerry Cahir, John McKee, Stewart Maguire, Paddy Dowling, Dean Moore (capt), Colin Mallon, Ethan Baxter, Tom Ryan.

Replacements: Joe Horan, Ryan McMahon, Will McDonald, Jack Breen, Briain Leonard, Jack Gilheany.

NAAS 41 MALONE 24, Forenaughts
Scorers: Naas: Tries: Bryan Croke 2, Peter Osborne 2, Fionn Higgins; Cons: Peter Osborne 5; Pens: Peter Osborne 2
Malone: Tries: Sean Lynch, David McMaster, Stewart McKendrick; Cons: Rory Campbell 3; Pen: Rory Campbell
HT: Naas 24 Malone 3

A Peter Osborne-inspired Naas staved off a second half fightback from Malone to win 41-24 at Forenaughts and move into the top half of the Division 1B table.

Full-back and captain Osborne led by example with a 26-point contribution – made up of two tries and seven successful kicks – as the Cobras crossed five times in all.

Injuries and the unavailability of some players impacted Malone’s effort. They were 24-3 behind at the break but emerged with plenty of credit for their gritty comeback.

Playing out of position at out-half, Rory Campbell kicked the visitors into a second-minute lead before Osborne responded to tie things up at three points apiece.

Naas soon took control, though, as they put together three converted tries without reply. Malone failed to deal with a long clearance kick, and the loose ball was turned into the opening seven-pointer.

The cover defence did just enough to deny Malone winger David McMaster a try in response, and Naas attacked clinically off a scrum to run in their second converted effort.

With the scrum wheeling around, Johne Murphy’s men broke up the right touchline, a long cross-field kick from Bryan Croke picked out Donal Conroy and he passed back inside for the supporting Osborne to go over.

In their attempts to answer back, Malone threw a flat pass which was intercepted by Croke for a simple run-in. Osborne’s conversion put 21 points between the sides at half-time.

The hosts tucked away their bonus point, just a couple of minutes after the restart. A well-worked move saw them switch play back inside and Osborne darted through to make it 31-3.

Two converted tries either side of the hour mark really lifted Malone. With better phase-building and their passes beginning to stick, debutant Sean Lynch barged over for Campbell to convert.

Further indiscipline from Naas allowed the Cregagh Red Sox to quickly double their try tally. Nice hands across the line put McMaster over, with Campbell adding the extras.

Suddenly, Naas’ lead was looking a little shaky at 31-17, but they got back down to basics. A good spell of possession ended with Fionn Higgins going over at the posts for Osborne to convert.

Backs and forwards combined for Malone, a purposeful late attack working its way up into the Naas 22. The ball was shifted to the left where teenager Stewart McKendrick, on his first AIL start, strode over for his first senior try.

Naas wrapped up the scoring with a closing penalty, their skipper Osborne splitting the posts from 35 metres out. The Eadestown man now has 31 points to his name for the current campaign.

NAAS: Peter Osborne (capt); Donal Conroy, Gary Kavanagh, Craig Ronaldson, Fionn Higgins; Bryan Croke, Conor Halpenny; Adam Coyle, John Sutton, Peter King, Paul Monahan, David Benn, Ryan Casey, Will O’Brien, Paulie Tolofua.

Replacements: Connor Johnson, Stephen Lackey, Cillian Dempsey, Barry Finan, Matt Stapleton, Sam Cahill.

MALONE: Aaron Sexton; David McMaster, Ben McCaughey, Gareth Millar, Andrew Bryans; Rory Campbell, Shane Kelly; Tommy O’Hagan, Dan Kerr, Aidan McSwiggan, Adam McNamee, Stewart McKendrick, Daryl Maxwell, Dave Cave (capt), Max Porter.

Replacements: Scott Finlay, Ben Halliday, Ricky Greenwood, Lewis Finlay, Jonny Betts, Sean Lynch.

NAVAN 17 HIGHFIELD 42, Balreask Old
Scorers: Navan: Tries: Jack Nelson, Hardus van Eeden; Cons: Liam McLoughlin 2; Pen: Liam McLoughlin
Highfield: Tries: Ronan O’Sullivan, Miah Cronin 2, Chris Banon, Paul Stack 2; Cons: James Taylor 6
HT: Navan 10 Highfield 21

Miah Cronin and Paul Stack touched down twice each as Highfield hit Navan with six tries in a 42-17 bonus point triumph at Balreask Old.

The Corkmen moved to the top of the table, having recovered from an early 10-point deficit to lead 21-10 at half-time.

Two of Navan’s southern Hemisphere recruits, Jack Nelson and Hardus van Eeden, scored their first All-Ireland League tries, but Highfield had the firepower to develop a decisive cushion.

With player-coach Ray Moloney starting at scrum half, Navan got off to a flying start. An early penalty from South African full-back Liam McLoughlin settled them down.

Then, with just four minutes on the clock, Colm O’Reilly’s well-judged kick set up a lineout opportunity and Kiwi hooker Nelson rumbled over from a well-executed maul. McLoughlin converted for 10-0.

Mark Dorgan went close for Highfield, before a concerted spell of pressure yielded a close-range try for number 8 Cronin, which James Taylor converted with the first of his six successful kicks.

Taylor then nailed a difficult touchline conversion into the sun, following a quick-fire score from winger Stack. Highfield continued to force the issue and were duly rewarded with a third try.

After captain Chris Banon had a disallowed effort, the visitors won successive penalties. Defending a maul and further pick-and-goes sapped Navan’s strength, and openside Ronan O’Sullivan crossed for Taylor to convert.

That made it 21-10 at the turnaround, Navan now down to 14 men and McLoughlin missing a late penalty attempt after a hack downfield of loose possession.

The experienced Cronin increased his influence with a well-taken try early in the second period. He bounced off an attempted tackle to make the line, setting up Taylor to raise the flags again.

Navan battled on but fell further behind, a loose ball seized upon by Highfield leading to a couple of passes and suddenly Stack was away to complete his brace at 35-10.

Moloney’s charges responded by forcing a series of penalties, which led to a referee warning for Highfield. The hosts’ new number 8 van Eeden powered over from a scrum, with McLoughlin tagging on the extras.

Highfield fittingly had the final say when scrum half Banon broke through for a deserved try following a maul. They ended the game without prop James Rochford, who was sin-binned for repeated scrum penalties.

NAVAN: Liam McLoughlin; Paddy Fox, Sean McEntagart, Harry Hester, Ben McEntagart; Colm O’Reilly, Ray Moloney; Niall Farrelly, Jack Nelson, Eoin King, Andrew Doyle, Conor Hand, Shane Faulkner, Conor Farrell, Hardus van Eeden.

Replacements: Gary Faulkner, Liam Carroll, Ronan Meegan, Owen Duggan, Riaan van der Vyver, Willie McAleese.

HIGHFIELD: Luke Kingston; Ben Murphy, Paddy O’Toole, Mark Dorgan, Paul Stack; James Taylor, Chris Banon (capt); James Rochford, Travis Coomey, Daragh Fitzgerald, Eoin Keating, Dave O’Connell, Ryan Murphy, Ronan O’Sullivan, Miah Cronin.

Replacements: Robert Murphy, Mick Dillane, Fintan O’Sullivan, Eddie Earle, Shane O’Riordan, Gavin O’Leary.

SHANNON 32 BANBRIDGE 10, Thomond Park back pitch
Scorers: Shannon: Tries: Jordan Prenderville, Jack O’Donnell, Alan Flannery, Aran Hehir, Daniel Okeke; Cons: John O’Sullivan 2; Pen: John O’Sullivan
Banbridge: Try: Robin Sinton; Con: Adam Doherty; Pen: Adam Doherty
HT: Shannon 20 Banbridge 10

Munster Academy back rower Daniel Okeke got amongst the tries in Shannon’s impressive 32-10 bonus point victory over Banbridge.

It was Banbridge’s second visit to Thomond Park for a league fixture, the previous one back in November 2017 ending in a similar result, a 33-14 defeat.

It was a double-scores advantage for Shannon at half-time, a late maul try from Jordan Prenderville supplementing earlier efforts out wide from backs Alan Flannery and Jack O’Donnell.

Robin Sinton’s 36th-minute score had Bann still in contention at 20-10 down, but Shannon replacement Okeke scored from an O’Donnell chip kick, and a 55th-minute breakaway try from Aran Hehir sealed the result.

Giving his reaction afterwards, Bann head coach Mark McDowell said: “We actually conceded more points from attacking positions than when we were on the back foot.

“That maybe seems a bit strange considering the scoreline, but we coughed up two length-of-the-field tries after handling errors that resulted in 14 points. And then another try off another error by ourselves.

“We’re unfortunately our own worst enemy at the moment, continuing a trend of self-inflicted mistakes. That’s going to have to be the focus over the next week, to try to arrest that.”

Shannon were the early aggressors, John O’Sullivan’s initial penalty goal followed in the eighth minute by Flannery going over in the corner after a maul had been stopped.

O’Sullivan, the Shannon out-half, landed the conversion for good measure, leaving Bann 10 points behind. The visitors gradually worked their way into the game and Adam Doherty slotted over a penalty for them.

Into the second quarter, Bann had to weather a prolonged bout of pressure on their defence. They dug deep to win a clearing penalty after losing flanker Ryan Hughes to injury.

Frustratingly for McDowell’s side, they conceded a try soon after. A dropped pass was hacked through by Shannon’s Killian Dineen who kicked it on again, gathered the ball up and passed for O’Donnell to score in the corner.

As half-time approached, Bann gained the upper hand in the forward exchanges, earning a series of penalties. Shannon were reduced to 14 men before number 8 Sinton crashed through the defence for a try which Doherty converted.

15-10 would have been a very welcome scoreline for Bann, considering the start they had. Yet, Shannon squeezed in a late third try, hooker Prenderville finishing off a lineout drive from close range.

Shannon added two more tries during the opening 15 minutes of the second half, as they deservedly opened their win account and moved into the division’s top four.

Ball off the top of a 48th-minute lineout, on the Bann 22, saw the home side launch an attack in midfield before winger O’Donnell’s chip was followed through by Ireland Under-20 international Okeke for a well-crafted score.

O’Sullivan missed the conversion but was back on target after his half-back partner’s bonus point effort. Again Bann contributed to their own downfall with a midfield move breaking down.

Hehir collected up the loose ball to sprint clear of the chasing defenders, from inside his own half.

Shannon failed to add to their tally despite remaining on the offensive for the closing 20 minutes. The last five minutes were played out in the home 22, with Banbridge’s Doherty denied a try by a marginal line call.

SHANNON: Jamie McGarry; Ikem Ugwueru, Killian Dineen, Alan Flannery, Jack O’Donnell; John O’Sullivan, Aran Hehir; Conor Glynn, Jordan Prenderville, Luke Rigney, Ronan Coffey, Sean McCarthy, Odhran Ring, Kelvin Brown, Lee Nicholas (capt).

Replacements: Gus Harrington, Darragh McSweeney, Kieran Ryan, Ben Sargent, Ian Leonard, Daniel Okeke.

BANBRIDGE: Adam Doherty; Alex Morrow, Andrew Morrison, Ross Cartmill, Ben Lavery; Josh Cromie, Neil Kilpatrick; Michael Cromie, Peter Cromie, Stuart Cromie, Chris Allen, Brendan McSorley, Alex Weir, Ryan Hughes, Robin Sinton.

Replacements: Tim Savage, Josh Chambers, Alex Thompson, Matthew Laird, Lewis Nelmes, Harry Bird.

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE 18 OLD WESLEY 20, Templeville Road
Scorers: St. Mary’s College: Tries: Richie Halpin, Mark Fogarty; Con: Conor Dean; Pens: Conor Dean 2
Old Wesley: Tries: James O’Donovan, JJ O’Dea; Cons: Josh Miller 2; Pens: Josh Miller 2
HT: St. Mary’s College 6 Old Wesley 6

Try-scoring second row JJ O’Dea played a crucial role for Old Wesley in their hard-fought 20-18 win away to St. Mary’s College in Saturday’s Dublin derby.

O’Dea showed his strength to drive over for a vital 64th-minute try – Josh Miller landed the all-important conversion – and the big forward came up with a last-minute turnover penalty which confirmed Wesley as winners.

It was six points apiece at half-time, as Conor Dean and Miller both kicked sweetly from the tee. The sides shared out four second half tries, St. Mary’s unable to get back level due to a missed Dean conversion.

Played in ideal conditions, Mary’s made the early running putting the Wesley defence under pressure, and former Ireland Under-20 international Dean comfortably slotted over a fourth-minute penalty.

It was 10 minutes before Wesley got a foothold in the opposition 22, however the visit proved fruitless on the scoreboard. A yellow card for Mary’s winger Mark Fogarty allowed Wesley to kick to touch, but once again the home defence held firm.

Wesley eventually got on the scoreboard with a Miller penalty shortly after the water break.  Dean struck again in the 32nd minute before Miller levelled with a very well-hit penalty kick from 45 metres out.

With the teams still locked level as the second half got underway, Wesley managed to pin the opposition in their own 22 following a penalty kick to touch.

There were good carries and when a Mary’s clearance kick was blocked down their supporters gasped, but still no try for Morgan Lennon’s men.

However, from their next salvo, the pressure paid off.  A break by David Poff and a nicely-delayed pass put his centre partner James O’Donovan in for the first try of the match. Miller converted from straight in front of the uprights.

A serious ankle injury to Mary’s replacement Hugo Conway, who was only on the pitch a few minutes, caused the game to be stopped for 20 minutes as he received treatment on the pitch.

Once the action restarted, it was Mary’s turn to apply pressure as they secured a lineout 15 metres from the Wesley line. A yellow card to hooker Ben Burns reduced the Wesley numbers to 14.

Turning down the kick, Mary’s bravely opted for a scrum and it paid off when they powered over for a try, midway between the posts and touchline, by Mark Fogarty.

Dean added the extras to make it 13-all, but Wesley struck back almost immediately. A cross-field kick to the right wing had the Mary’s defence under pressure and, following some big carries, O’Dea took contact before reaching out to ground the ball.

Wesley had scored their second try despite still being down to 14 men. Reliable number 10 Miller again converted with confidence.

With nine minutes remaining, Mary’s had all the momentum, flinging a penalty to touch, 10 metres out. They maintained the pressure and succeeded in mauling over the line for a try in the corner by captain Richie Halpin.

Crucially, for the first time in the match, Dean was slightly off target with the conversion. It left Wesley with a two-point lead and the clock on their side.

A nervous last few minutes saw Mary’s continue the assault, and following some powerful carries they got back into the Wesley 22. Yet, O’Dea clamped down on the ball at the breakdown to force the game-ending penalty.

– Photos by Paul Lundy

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE: Ruairi Shields; Mark Fogarty, Myles Carey, Mick O’Gara, Craig Kennedy; Conor Dean, Adam McEvoy; Niall McEniff, Richie Halpin (capt), Mick McCormack, Liam Curran, Liam Corcoran, David Aspil, Nick McCarthy, Niall Hurley.

Replacements: Jamie Coolican, Tom O’Reilly, Ian Wickham, Joe Nolan, Aaron O’Neill, Hugo Conway.

OLD WESLEY: Conor Gaston; Tommy O’Callaghan, James O’Donovan, David Poff, Nathan Randles; Josh Miller, Ian Cassidy; Harry Noonan, Ben Burns, Sam Kenny, JJ O’Dea, Iain McGann (capt), Will Fay, Alastair Hoban, Reuben Pim.

Replacements: Howard Noonan, Robbie Browne, Brian Short, Daire Feeney, Paddy McKenzie, Charlie O’Regan.