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Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 2C: Round 4 Review

Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 2C: Round 4 Review

Jack O'Grady leads an attack for Bruff during their Division 2C clash with Galwegians at Crowley Park ©INPHO/James Crombie

Winger Ian West’s last-minute try sealed Ballina’s first win of the Division 2C campaign, at home to Tullamore, while Ethan Anderson was Bruff’s late hero in their dramatic 26-all draw with Galwegians in Glenina.


Saturday, November 4 –

Ballina 26 Tullamore 18, Heffernan Park
Bangor 19 Enniscorthy 32, Upritchard Park
Clogher Valley 45 Clonmel 16, the Cran
Galwegians 26 Bruff 26, Crowley Park
Omagh Academicals 22 Midleton 21, Thomas Mellon Playing Fields

Galwegians and Bruff have had some ding-dong battles over the years and that was the case again on Saturday. ‘Wegians appeared to have the game well within their grasp, leading 26-0 at half-time, but the Limerick men had other ideas.

19-year-old Connacht Academy centre Finn Treacy got the Blues off to a flying start with a fifth-minute try in the right corner. Tiarnan Neville boosted them further with a pinpoint conversion, before a costly knock-on prevented Bruff from responding.

‘Wegians were rewarded for some strong defensive sets with a late first-half flurry which delivered three tries in little over six minutes. Treacy raided in behind the posts to complete his brace, following a fine break from flanker Jesse Va’afusuaga.

Captain Jack Winters, who switched from the back row to the front row earlier this year, and Connacht prospect Hugh Gavin both crossed before the interval to rack up the hosts’ bonus point. With out-half Neville adding both conversions, it looked an unassailable lead.

However, Bruff skipper Pa Maher led by example with a 49th-minute try, lighting the touchpaper for a fantastic four-try comeback. Winger Gio Sangiorgi got over, just seven minutes later, as Bruff continued to dominate the second period.

Andrew O’Byrne’s side certainly had the bit between their teeth, and ‘Wegians came under further pressure before hooker Tom Quigley breached the whitewash. A losing bonus point or more looked there for the taking.

Galwegians had to cope with the loss of replacement prop Conor Kyne to the sin bin, and both teams emerged with three points from the game after South African number 10 Anderson swept in under the posts in the 81st minute. He converted with the final kick of a memorable match.

Ballina lifted themselves off the bottom rung with a confidence-boosting 26-18 defeat of Tullamore at Heffernan Park. The Moy men broke their league duck under Brian McClearn thanks to two tries in each half.

Cody Chilcott converted scores from Joe Murphy and talismanic captain Ronan Molloy, who showed his versatility by playing in the back row, to put Ballina on course for a 14-5 half-time lead.

Tullamore cancelled out a Calum Quinn try with a 13-point blitz of their own, but winger West finished off a free-flowing move to confirm Ballina’s first league success since last April.

Meanwhile, Bangor’s losing run continued with a 32-19 reversal at the hands of Enniscorthy. Winger Killian Creed weighed in with two tries for ‘Scorthy at Upritchard Park, and forwards Liam Stamp and Angelo Todisco also crossed the whitewash.

A seven-point gap has already developed between the top four and the chasing pack. The Wexford outfit are well positioned in fourth on 16 points, while Bangor’s poor early season form has them slip to the bottom of the table.

There were some promising signs for Bangor, who stuck in there despite a high penalty count and lineout issues. They fought back to trail 15-12, with Danny Young sidestepping through for a first half try and Rhys Larmour converting a Connor Scollan effort from the touchline.

‘Scorthy’s first two tries came either side of the interval, as number 8 Stamp blocked down a box kick and prodded the loose ball through to score, before the ball was spread out wide for Creed to open his account on his full debut.

Their reliable lineout provided the platform for two more tries, as space was created for Creed to score in the same right corner, and prop Todisco, having earlier been held up, supplied the finishing touches to a series of pick-and-goes from the impressive Enniscorthy pack.

The Seasiders gave themselves some late hope with a well-taken Adam Lowry seven-pointer under the posts, but ‘Scorthy were still 29-19 to the good at that stage, and an Adam Gethings penalty settled the issue in the visitors’ favour.

Elsewhere, Clogher Valley have a three-point lead at the top of the table following a 45-16 bonus point triumph over Clonmel. Luke Hogan’s 47th-minute try got Clonmel within eight points, but three final-quarter tries saw the Valley storm home.

Stephen Bothwell’s men led 19-9 at the turnaround, their opening try coming from their first visit to the Clonmel half. Captain Paul Armstrong’s crisply-hit cross-field kick played in player-of-the-match Callum Smyton for an unconverted score.

Josef O’Connor replied with a quick-fire brace of penalties for a 9-5 scoreline, but it was the last time that Clonmel would lead this fiercely-contested Fivemiletown encounter.

Armstrong showed good strength to cross soon after and convert his 25th-minute try, and he followed up with a second seven-pointer on the back of Matthew Bothwell’s midfield break.

Busy number 8 Smyton doubled his try tally to bag the bonus point and although Hogan hit back, with Clonmel’s lineout maul making 10 metres in the build-up, Clogher Valley dominated the closing stages.

David Stinson scored off a maul and the backs were then in full flight for a sidestepping Taine Haire score. Aaron Dunwoody drove over right at the death, and experienced centre Armstrong tagged on three more conversions, taking his accomplished haul for the day to 20 points.

Young winger Ben Henry was the toast of the Thomas Mellon Playing Fields as his blistering breakaway try, in the dying embers of the game, saw Omagh Academicals pip Midleton 22-21 in a clash that came to life in the second half.

Omagh attacked off a scrum, 10 metres from their own line, and number 8 Neville Magee drew in a defender before releasing Henry to embark on a scintillating run from deep, using his pace and sidestep to break clear and score with three minutes remaining.

It was a bitterly disappointing outcome for Midleton, who led 21-10 at one stage thanks to converted tries from Aaron Leahy (2) and Idris RqibiRobbie Sproule and captain Ryan Mitchell registered the other tries for the Accies, who have risen to fifth in the standings.