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

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

Instonians got the better of a young Skerries side to make it back-to-back bonus point wins in Division 2C ©Gerry Weldon/Skerries RFC

Instonians and Bangor are the only unbeaten teams left in Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 2C, with the pair set to meet this coming Saturday at Shaw’s Bridge.


Saturday, October 8 –

Bangor 32 Ballina 26, Upritchard Park
Midleton 33 Sunday’s Well 7, Towns Park
Omagh Academicals 24 Clonmel 13, Thomas Mellon Playing Fields
Skerries 7 Instonians 43, Holmpatrick
Tullamore 50 Bruff 26, Spollanstown

Clem Boyd’s Instonians side picked up the only away win in round two, outscoring Skerries by seven tries to one as they triumphed 43-7 at Holmpatrick.

Experienced campaigners Mikey Sherlock and Kevin McGrath combined for Skerries’ only try late on, while an injury-hit start to the season has meant that the Goats have had to throw some talented teenage players in at the deep end.

Instonians were three tries to the good by half-time, leading 15-0 with their impressive lineout maul contributing two scores. Ali Burke was a try-scoring player-of-the-match from number 8.

Playing on their grass pitch, Skerries kept Inst scoreless until midway through the first half. Having turned down a kick at the posts, the visitors’ maul surged over for hooker Neil Saulters to make it 5-0.

Skerries’ Shane Murphy missed a penalty attempt in response. With repeated team penalties soon landing centre Sherlock in the sin bin, Saulters scored from a carbon copy of his first try.

Inst’s third try was the best of the lot, Burke breaking through the middle and throwing a brilliantly-timed pass behind his back for centre Bevan Prinsloo to burst onto and sidestep the final defender to score.

Skerries were fired up for the restart and put together some promising phases, just missing the final pass. Instead, their Belfast opponents were clinical at the other end, racking up two more tries by the 47th minute.

Former Ulster prop Schalk van der Merwe helped to bring Inst back up towards the Skerries posts, with Burke swivelling out of contact to secure the bonus point. Jonathan Milliken’s conversion made it 22-0.

Saulters then completed his hat-trick from another lineout drive, taking his season’s haul to five tries already. Off an improved set-piece platform, Skerries did threaten to open their account and came very close.

Peter O’Neill was denied by a try-saving tackle from Daniel Keane, and then Sam Deering was held up over the line. Inst raided forward for Matthew Keane to touch down, getting the reward for his own quick lineout and a Prinsloo break.

The visitors’ wrapped up their runaway victory with Prinsloo bagging a brace for his day’s work. He took a return pass from Jack Elliott to go in under the posts and Milliken had a simple conversion.

Skerries deservedly got on the scoreboard in the final play, Sherlock split open the defensive line and fed a terrific pass back for the supporting McGrath to finish off.

Tullamore registered their first win of the campaign by defeating Bruff 50-26 in an entertaining encounter at Spollanstown. Centre Lance Batten scored four tries in a virtuoso performance.

Batten bundled his way over early on and Bruff were left trailing 14-0 when a pacy break ended with Leon Fox being caught by a high tackle. The home side were awarded a penalty try.

Worst still for Bruff, they receive two yellow cards in quick succession, the second one for a dangerous challenge by Warren Loulanting on Gavin Kelly. Batten bounced off a tackle and surged clear for his second try.

Conor Dunne knocked over his second conversion, but Bruff snuck in a late seven-pointer, some hard carrying off a lineout steal led to the returning Loulanting muscling his way over to leave it 21-7 at the break.

The Limerick men closed the gap to nine points thanks to a Paul Collins effort, and while they did leave the midlands with a try-scoring bonus point, the Tulliers always seemed to have the answers.

Following a Dunne penalty, the home backs clicked into gear for winger Sean McCabe to power over for their fourth try. Karl Dunne dummied and accelerated through for the fifth.

Craig Finn and captain Pa Maher both crossed to give Bruff their bonus point, but Tullamore finished as they had started. Batten was released by a jinking Liam Farrell for his third try, and then pounced on a Scott Milne hack through for the fourth.

A late Bradley Nealon try gave Ballina a losing bonus point, but Bangor did most of the damage in the first half to run out 32-26 bonus point winners at Upritchard Park.

Bangor’s Connor Scollan, influential captain Declan Horrox, and prop Charlie Sargaison all crossed the whitewash during the opening 40 minutes. Pressure at scrum time led to Andy Smyth registering their bonus point score.

However, the Seasiders’ discipline will have to improve for their top of the table showdown with Instonians. They coughed up 12 points to Ballina’s Ben Matheson, a Connacht Under-19 representative this season, from penalties.

Midleton out-half Stuart Lee produced the performance of the round with a 23-point salvo against Sunday’s Well. The Red Devils emerged as 33-7 winners of the Cork derby at Towns Park.

They built a 14-0 half-time lead, coming through the sin-binning of lock David Broderick to score two timely tries. Lee darted around the side of a ruck to score the first, and it was his clever chip kick that set up the second for Gearoid Collins.

Sunday’s Well turned around with a strong wind at their backs, but had lost hooker Jack McHenry due to an accidental clash of heads with Broderick. Some neat passing saw Lee cut through for a 49th-minute unconverted try.

The ‘Well reduced the arrears to 19-7 with a strong finish from back rower Cormac Kelliher, who unfortunately injured himself badly in the act of scoring. It really was a luckless afternoon for Denis Hurley’s charges.

Flanker Rob Hickey took care of Midleton’s bonus point with 12 minutes remaining. Fittingly, it was Lee who had the final say, completing his hat-trick from another fluent attack and adding his fourth conversion.

Omagh Academicals posted their first win of the league run by beating Clonmel 24-13 at home. Ross Slattery’s early try had the visitors leading 10-0, but Omagh touched down four times – the last score coming in the 84th minute – to take the verdict.

Mervyn Edgar crossed for the second week running, while the Accies’ territorial dominance during the second half saw Edgar’s second row partner Jamie Sproule and captain Ryan Mitchell (2) make it a maximum haul.

Scrum half Stewart McCain used a hand-off to turn a set piece, in the dying seconds, into a big attacking opportunity. Presented with a two-on-one, he drew in the final defender and passed for winger Mitchell to chalk up the bonus point.

– Photos by Gerry Weldon & Fargo Photos