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O’Neill Hat-Trick Keeps Terenure On Track

O’Neill Hat-Trick Keeps Terenure On Track

Talismanic captain James O’Neill pounced for three tries to give Division 1B leaders Terenure College the points against a committed UL Bohemians in very difficult conditions at Annacotty.

James O'Neill, a regular scorer for 'Nure this season from his openside berth, had the only score of a first half which saw a player from each side pick up a yellow card for separate incidents.

The game took place on a very heavy pitch and third-placed UL faced into a blustery wind in the opening 40 minutes.

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Their lineout and ball-handling let them down at times, but they competed well – particularly in the first half – against the unbeaten table toppers who were chasing their tenth straight victory.

The Dubliners are a clever, well-drilled side and although their recent outings have shown how prolific their running game can be, their latest trip to Limerick showed just how good they are in the tight too.

Tereure side hit the front in the 12th minute, having forced a close-in penalty which saw UL Bohs captain Ed Kelly sin-binned for preventing a quick release.

The opportunity was there and the 'Nure pack too it with both hands, mauling menacingly forward from the resulting lineout and O'Neill emerged as the try scorer.

When goal-kicking winger Robert Bourke landed a penalty for Bohs two minutes into the second half, the home side's hopes of getting something out of the game increased.

Bourke's three-pointer rewarded his forwards for a good set of phases, with hooker Kevin O'Byrne, flanker Ian Condell and lock Kelly all prominent.

But 'Nure's match-winning flanker O'Neill got in for two more unconverted tries – touching down from another couple of well orchestrated maul drives, with his hat-trick score coming in the 64th minute.

The visitors moved into a 10-3 lead while Bohs blindside John Sutton was in the sin-bin, before a second Bourke penalty made it a four-point game.

Howver, UL, who welcomed back the fit-again Darren Moroney as a second half replacement, fell short of claiming a losing bonus point as the 'Nure pack surged over the line again just past the hour mark.

O'Neill's third try wrapped up the scoring with over a quarter of the hour remaining, with a late Bourke penalty attempt going narrowly wide past the right hand post.

Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU)