Galway Corinthians, Greystones and Belfast Harlequins have all come through the opening two rounds with back-to-back wins in Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 2B.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE MEN’S DIVISION 2B – ROUND 2:
Saturday, October 8 –
Galwegians 21 Galway Corinthians 58, Crowley Park
Greystones 25 Dungannon 16, Dr Hickey Park
Rainey Old Boys 21 Belfast Harlequins 25, Hatrick Park
Sligo 18 Malahide 11, Hamilton Park
Wanderers 38 Enniscorthy 22, Aviva Stadium main pitch
Finn McNulty, younger brother of Connacht’s Oran, ran in a hat-trick of tries to help Galway Corinthians overcome local rivals Galwegians 58-21 at Crowley Park.
Young full-back McNulty touched down twice as Corinthians took a 29-14 half-time lead. Their opening try arrived in the fifth minute when Matthew Devine’s quick tap played in his brother John.
Conor O’Shaughnessy followed up on a Mark Earle break to edge Galwegians in front, but Corinthians, who had a second Devine score ruled out for crossing, put together two quick-fire tries midway through the first half.
Lock John Gannon capitalised on an overlap to score, and McNulty got on the end of a 23rd-minute attack. ‘Wegians pulled the deficit back to 17-14 when centre Earle’s intelligent line saw him cross the whitewash.
However, Aaron McCloskey’s yellow card preceded a maul try from Connacht Academy hooker Eoin de Buitléar – Corinthians’ bonus point effort – before the home defence gave way for McNulty’s second of the afternoon.
Michael Harding’s side were well on course to claim the result thanks to two more tries by the 50-minute mark. Matthew Devine, set up by his sibling, and centre Tomas Forde stretched the lead to 39-14 before a deliberate knock-on put scrum half Devine in the bin.
The extra man allowed ‘Wegians player coach Brendan Guilfoyle to lift his side with a try out wide. Yet, it was Corinthians who finished with a flourish thanks to two more maul tries, with de Buitléar completing his hat-trick, and McNulty matching him with his third.
Greystones had to dig deep to get the better of Dungannon on a 25-16 scoreline. Stalwart prop Glenn Sinnamon led Dungannon out at Dr Hickey Park on the occasion of his 250th All-Ireland League appearance.
Sinnamon played his part in a strong scrummaging performance from ‘Gannon, who led 16-8 early in the second half thanks to three well-struck Ben McCaughey penalties and a converted try from Jordan McIlwaine.
However, an injury to number 8 and captain James McMahon robbed Dungannon of one of their best players, and Greystones found a way to grind out the result, led astutely by player coach Danny Kenny.
A Kenny try, converted by the equally influential Killian Marmion, made it a one-point game, before Marmion coolly slotted over a long range 70th-minute penalty to give the hosts the lead for the first time.
Greystones’ resolute defence, a real positive for them despite earlier yellow cards for Iva Takatai and Matt O’Brien, prevented Dunngannon from responding during the closing stages.
A final try from full-back Ross Nicoll sealed the result for Kenny’s men, whose first half five-pointer was scored by centre Nick Quirk. Next up for them is a top of the table clash with Corinthians.
Sligo got off the mark with an 18-11 success against Malahide, their tries coming from Brian West and vice-captain Cal Goddard. Scottish out-half Euan Brown kicked the other eight points.
Brown’s penalties after 66 and 75 minutes had Sligo out of reach in Strandhill, before Malahide captain Dan Hayes was released by quick hands to touch down in the final play and earn his side a losing bonus point.
Sligo led 7-0 at half-time, hitting the front inside the first quarter of an hour. Flanker West forced his way over to the left of the posts following gain-line-busting carries by props Kuba Wojtkowicz and Jason East.
Two Dave O’Halloran penalties gave Malahide some impetus at the start of the second half, only for a Hubert Gilvarry break to set up a two-on-one and Goddard delivered the finishing touches, eight minutes in.
Paddy Pearson’s charges kept the Dubliners at arm’s length, defending smartly and taking their chances with Brown splitting the posts on two more occasions. Their only slip was letting Hayes free to go over in the left corner.
A last-gasp penalty try from a lineout maul saw Belfast Harlequins win their Ulster derby showdown with Rainey Old Boys. It was a gutsy display from ‘Quins who came from 14-3 down to win 25-21.
This was one that got away for Rainey. They put themselves in a winning position thanks to a brace of tries from Michael McCusker and another from Connor Smyth, his third of the season. All converted by Scott McLean.
Nonetheless, their defence cracked right at the death, ‘Quins player-of-the-match Paul Kerr, who kicked eight points, putting the hosts in position to add to earlier touchdowns from Sean Shuttleworth and Scott McClelland.
Jamie Murphy’s superb 70-metre breakaway try, following a Brian Vaughan turnover, wrapped up an exciting 38-22 bonus point win for Wanderers over promoted side Enniscorthy.
Wanderers’ annual AIL run-out on the Aviva Stadium’s main pitch saw both teams enjoy dominant spells. Eoin Sheriff’s men took a 28-10 half-time lead with the bonus point in the bag at that stage.
Strong-running number 8 Lucas Culliton dotted down twice, his second try starting from his initial offload and then when the ball came back to him, he galloped through several tackles to score from 30 metres out.
Enniscorthy’s best moment of the opening half came when Nick Doyle’s excellent offload found Seb Pim and he did brilliantly to beat three defenders and cross in the right corner.
In truth, ‘Scorthy deserved to be closer on the scoreboard. They did just that on the resumption, Tom Ryan reaching over following a stirring break by prop Angelo Todisco. They moved Doyle, a regular in the centre, to out-half.
Crucially, the Wexford outfit were held up and denied two more tries. Their pressure paid off when winger Pim took advantage of a yellow card to complete his brace. Doyle’s conversion whittled Wanderers’ lead down to 28-22.
A 30-metre penalty from Jonny Glynn put nine points between the sides, the Chaps enduring some nervy moments brought on by a second sin-binning. ‘Scorthy hammered away but were unable to get the scores they needed.
Ireland Under-19 call-up Grant Palmer had an impressive cameo for the visitors on his debut. However, ‘Scorthy were floored by Murphy’s late clincher, which added to their first half tries from Culliton, Brian Quill and Stephen Dunne.