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Home Success Sends Dungannon Up To Third

Home Success Sends Dungannon Up To Third

Dungannon look menacing in third place having dispatched lowly UCC on a 27-14 scoreline at Stevenson Park on Saturday.

The Tyrone men secured their fourth try-scoring bonus point in six league outings, with Stuart McCloskey, Conor Gaston, Chris Cochrane and Ali Birch all crossing the visitors' whitewash.

Man-of-the-match Cochrane has now scored four tries in this campaign, while UCC salvaged some pride in the second half with a penalty try and a converted score from their number 8 and captain Brian O'Callaghan.

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Driving rain and a blustery wind made conditions particularly difficult. Dungannon, with the elements behind them, edged into a third minute lead thanks to a 30-metre penalty from out-half Jaryd Bennett.

Brian Kingston was foiled by the wind as he attempted to open UCC's account, but the young Cork side had a period of dominance as 'Gannon suffered a sin-binning.

Nonetheless, Justin Fitzpatrick's men managed to hold out and a run out of defence from Cochrane lifted the siege. They began to force the pace and a quick recycle saw player-coach Kieran Campbell feed centre Stuart McCloskey who squeezed over in the corner.

Firing over from the touchline, Bennett brilliantly converted the 30th minute try to give 'Gannon a 10-0 lead and that is how it remained up to half-time.

It was in the second half that the home side really started to motor. Bennett missed an early penalty but the UCC defence gave way in the 52nd minute, Cochrane and Adam Duhig combining before the latter offloaded for full-back Gaston to score an unconverted effort.

UCC could not regain possession from the restart and Dungannon built through the phases again before unleashing Cochrane for a 60th minute try.

Bennett had kicked a penalty to touch and with the lineout won, 'Gannon kept it tight until Cochrane's momentum took him straight through the defensive line.

The Cork side struggled for territory in the second period and Dungannon had a stranglehold on possession. A clearance kick from Gaston was well gathered by winger Mark O'Shea, keeping Fitzpatrick's charges on the front foot.

They used a close-in lineout to work a series of pick and go drives before flanker Birch broke through for the bonus point score, with 15 minutes left on the clock.

With the result done and dusted, UCC succeeded in dominating the closing stages. Their forwards were rewarded with a penalty try in the 78th minute and O'Callaghan added an injury-time effort, with replacement Cormac O'Flynn landing both conversions.

Referee: Mark Hermin (IRFU)