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Clontarf Extend Lead At Summit

Clontarf Extend Lead At Summit

With two of Division 1B’s scheduled matches called off on Saturday due to unplayable pitches at Crowley Park and Stevenson Park, Clontarf took advantage to extend their lead at the top of the table to five points.

Clontarf proved best in the heavy conditions at Annacotty, running out 16-12 winners over hosts UL Bohemians. They were helped by a superb display by their former Leinster lock Ben Gissing who lorded it in the lineouts.

Only four points separated the sides at the interval with the north Dubliners just 10-6 ahead. Winger Michael Keating collected an early try, but Bernard Jackman's side had to regroup after the loss of out-half Noel Reid through injury.

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He was replaced by former Ireland Under-21 international Martin Dufficy who had quite an influence on proceedings. He converted Keating's try and also landed three penalties – two of them in a hard-fought second half.

Keating crossed in the fourth minute, taking advantage of a defensive lapse from the hosts.

18-year-old out-half JJ Hanrahan got UL on the scoreboard, landing penalties after 15 and 23 minutes – the second coming on the back of some strong running from full-back Darren Moroney.

Dufficy kicked his first penalty, eight minutes before the break, to open up the gap again, before Hanrahan missed two late attempts at goal.

The place-kickers landed a brace apiece in the third quarter, Hanrahan's fourth penalty of the afternoon coming after 'Tarf lost their influential number 8 Simon Crawford to a yellow card.

The visitors, who defended stoutly in the closing stages, were able to absorb the pressure from UL who were short a number of their regulars.

Indeed, luck was not on their side on the day. Bohs lost Barry Murphy to a late Munster call-up, then his replacement Ross Butler injured his shoulder in the warm-up and team captain Martin McPhail was absent due to a flu bug.

Back rowers Kieran Essex and Tommy O'Donnell also sustained injuries at crucial stages during the game.

Referee: Richard Kerr (IRFU)