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Clontarf Impress In Bonus Point Win

Clontarf Impress In Bonus Point Win

A strong start and finish helped Clontarf overcome a determined challenge from Dungannon when the sides met in the Ulster Bank League on Saturday.

Stung by Buccaneers last time out, Clontarf welcomed sixth-placed Dungannon to Castle Avenue for a highly-charged encounter.

Dungannon have won just once away from home this season – beating bottom sides Galwegians – and they fell behind early on against 'Tarf.

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Bernard Jackman's side stormed out of the blocks and were 10-0 to the good after out-half Noel Reid kicked a penalty and converted a try from lively hooker Aaron Dundon.

But Dungannon signalled their intent with a 17th minute try from speedy winger Chris Cochrane, who was put into space by full-back Conor Gaston.

A second try followed for the visitors, just five minutes later. Captain Paul Magee got his side on the front foot with a midfield break. Glen Telford got involved before the ball was recycled and Stuart McKenzie's delivery out wide put his back row colleague Callum Threlfall over unchallenged.

Michael Lawton's conversion made it 12-10 to Dungannon, but the lead was brief as 'Tarf took over coming up to the interval.

A powerful maul, with man-of-the-match Ben Gissing making his presence felt, gave lock Conor O'Keeffe the chance to burrow over for the hosts' second try.

The Clontarf pack were beginning to make good headway and it was no surprise when Reid used a good platform to spring forward and wrestle free of Cochrane's grasp to score under the posts, just before the break. He added the extras for a 24-12 buffer.

Ireland Under-20 international Reid kicked a penalty, early in the second half, to increase his haul to 17 points. Dungannon's defence came under pressure again, but they just held out as full-back Daragh O'Shea sprinted for the line.

'Gannon showed their battling qualities when they gained territory and after a turnover, prop Glen Sinnamon bulldozed his way over for a 68th minute try. Out-half Lawton landed a terrific conversion from the touchline and the deficit was now 27-19.

Pushing for a further try, errors began to creep into the visitors' play and with Clontarf quick to capitalise, they copperfastened the win and a bonus point with two further tries.

The big 'Tarf pack, which was bolstered by the introduction of Ben Barclay, won a scrum against the head and after a reset, number 8 Martin Garvey was able to dot down to the left of the posts.

In injury-time, flanker Barry O'Mahony added a fifth try for the north Dubliners, with replacement Martin Dufficy adding the conversion for a 20-point winning margin.

Referee: Trevor Collins (IRFU)