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McGrath And Carbery Steer Clontarf Past UCD
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McGrath And Carbery Steer Clontarf Past UCD

McGrath And Carbery Steer Clontarf Past UCD

Mick McGrath and Joey Carbery were the scoring stars for Clontarf as last season’s beaten Division 1A finalists saw off the challenge of UCD on the opening night of the new Ulster Bank League campaign.

Andy Wood's men triumphed 24-16 thanks to a brace of tries from Leinster winger Mick McGrath with Joey Carbery, the Ireland Under-20 international, kicking the rest of the points.

Having played for UCD last season, out-half Carbery was very familiar with the Belfield Bowl surroundings and it showed as his 77th minute penalty, in rain-sodden conditions, closed out the result for 'Tarf.

The students were competitive throughout, twice leading in the first half thanks to Conall Doherty's left boot. Despite a 49th minute try from lock Brian Cawley, they were unable to wrestle back control in new head coach Noel McNamara's first game in charge which was streamed live here on IrishRugby.ie.

McGrath – playing on the left wing with his brother Rob on the right – almost picked off an early intercept near halfway as Clontarf defended a dangerous UCD overlap early on.

McNamara's youngsters had control of possession and territory in the opening quarter, a curling 16th-minute penalty from sturdy centre Doherty getting them off the mark. A second scrum penalty, with Ireland Under-20 prop Andrew Porter to the fore, was sent wide by Doherty from a similar position to the right of the posts.

But Clontarf edged ahead thanks to a superb solo try from McGrath in the 23rd minute. After a UCD knock-on, the ball was spun wide to the left and Rob Keogh released McGrath over halfway, with the powerful winger evading a first tackle, gathering his own chip and then using his strength to carry Billy Dardis, the final defender, with him as he crashed over in the corner.

New 'Tarf number 10 Carbery narrowly missed the conversion and with the hosts' scrum remaining on top, Doherty left-footed them back in front by the half hour mark – 6-5.

Carbery increased his influence with a brace of penalties before half-time as a degree of niggle crept into the game. Clontarf exerted more of an influence with ball in hand and Dave Moore – the 41-year-old replacement prop – solidified their scrum.

The visitors began the second period on the front foot, but a quick breakout and persistence from their forwards led to Cawley muscling over from a try from close range which Doherty converted.

UCD pressed again through Barry Daly, the tall winger sniping through midfield before a knock-on forced by the covering defence halted him 10 metres from the line. Towards the end of the third quarter, Carbery watched his well-struck 45-metre penalty attempt fall just short of the posts.

Excellent flanker Adrian D'Arcy took up the baton for Clontarf, making some important plays in both defence and attack, and he featured in the build-up to McGrath's 60th-minute effort as the Leinster man crossed again in the left corner.

Carbery converted and also landed a central penalty for a 21-13 scoreline after UCD out-half Jamie Glynn was yellow carded for not rolling away at a ruck.

The students showed plenty of resilience while down to 14 men, a rumble forward from replacement front rower Gordon Frayne getting them into scoring range and winger Tom Fletcher also went close from a cross-field kick.

They did add to their tally courtesy of a scrum penalty from Derry native Doherty, before Carbery had the final say with his fourth successful penalty strike from five attempts.

Referee: Sean Gallagher (IRFU)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Billy Dardis; Tom Fletcher, Stephen Murphy, Conall Doherty, Barry Daly; Jamie Glynn, Nick McCarthy; Andrew Porter, Sean McNulty, Liam Hyland, Brian Cawley, Emmet MacMahon, Josh Murphy, Donagh Lawler, Shane Grannell.

Replacements: Michael Moynihan, Gordon Frayne, Alex Penny, Jonathan McDonnell, Robert Keenan.

Away Team

Rob Keogh; Rob McGrath, Michael Brown, Evan Ryan, Mick McGrath; Joey Carbery, Dermot O'Meara; Ivan Soroka, Turlough Considine, Dylan Doyle, Tom Byrne, Ben Reilly, Karl Moran, Adrian D'Arcy, Tony Ryan.

Replacements: Brian Keelan, Liam Og Murphy, Dave Moore, Andrew Feeney, Timmy McCoy.

Match Scorers

Home Team

Try: Brian Cawley; Con: Conall Doherty; Pens: Conall Doherty 3

Away Team

Tries: Mick McGrath 2; Con: Joey Carbery; Pens: Joey Carbery 4