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Second Half Tries Steer Clontarf To Hard-Earned Victory
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Second Half Tries Steer Clontarf To Hard-Earned Victory

Second Half Tries Steer Clontarf To Hard-Earned Victory

Second half tries from Aaron Dundon and Matt D’Arcy guided Clontarf to a narrow 18-14 victory over a determined Terenure College side in Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League.

This was the second 'Friday Night Lights' encounter between the two sides this season, following their meeting at Lakelands Park back in October. A Dermot O'Meara try helped 'Tarf to record a 13-0 victory over the south Dubliners on that occasion, while they also got the better of 'Nure at the same venue in last season's semi-final.

The visitors did enjoy a narrow success over Andy Wood's charges on their return to the top flight in 2014, but following a run of four games without a win (their most recent triumph came away to Ballynahinch on November 7), 'Nure needed to rediscover this best form against their high-flying opponents.

If they had designs on bringing an end to their losing streak, then 'Nure needed to make an early statement of intent. They managed to do this by turning 'Tarf over inside their own half just two minutes in, and following early attacking pressure, they deservedly broke the deadlock.

Stephen O'Neill and Leinster Academy star Harrison Brewer provided the spadework for full-back James O'Donoghue, who raced through from the left for a sixth minute try. Winger Jake Swaine added the extras for a seven-point cushion.

It was still quite early to determine how pivotal this opening score from Terenure would be, but disciplined defence from James Blaney's men was making life difficult for Clontarf.

However, the hosts gradually gathered more possession inside the first quarter, and they made a number of drives towards the 'Nure posts on 17 minutes. They could not quite squeeze over the line on this occasion, but after New Zealander referee Glen Jackson awarded a close range penalty, out-half Joey Carbery opened their account with a comfortable strike.

'Tarf were hoping to build some much-needed momentum after that three-pointer, but the Terenure defence remained diligent throughout the opening half. The high number of kicks from both sides meant that try-scoring opportunities were often at a premium, but the north Dubliners ended the half on the front foot.

They looked set to claim their first try of the night late on, but under severe pressure, 'Nure held firm to take a 7-3 lead into the interval. 'Tarf did have an opportunity to make it a one-point game just after the restart, but Carbery's long range 44th minute kick was wide of the mark.

This only proved to be a temporary reprieve for Terenuure, though, and after an attempted clearance was blocked five minutes later, Leinster hooker Aaron Dundon, who is also part of the Clontarf coaching staff, touched down for his side's opening try.

Carbery was successful with the conversion and thanks to another penalty by the former Ireland Under-20 international just shy of the hour mark, 'Tarf suddenly found themselves six points to the good (13-7).

In spite of an edgy start to proceedings, 'Tarf had now settled into their customary rhythm, and with 19 minutes remaining in the contest, they put further daylight between themselves and 'Nure. The 2013/14 champions broke at pace from their own half, and this enabled outside centre Matt D'Arcy to dot down on the right flank for an unconverted score.

Recovering from that setback, 'Nure got a lifeline 11 minutes from time when a strong lineout maul was finished off by lock Mike Murphy for a timely try. Swaine's conversion cut the gap to four points and set-up a nail-biting conclusion to this Dublin derby.

Blaney's side certainly gave it their all in the dying minutes, but Clontarf eventually held out to move level on points with UCD at the top of the Division 1A table.

Referee: Glen Jackson (NZRU)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Rob Keogh; Rob McGrath, Matt D'Arcy, Evan Ryan, Michael Brown; Joey Carbery, Sam Cronin; Ivan Soroka, Aaron Dundon, Vakhtang Abdaladze, Tom Byrne, Ben Reilly (capt), Michael Noone, Adrian D'Arcy, Tony Ryan.

Replacements used: David Joyce for McGrath (52 mins), Eoghan Browne for Noone (56), Dermot O'Meara for Cronin (59), Dylan Doyle for Soroka (60), Jonathan Larbey for Dundon, Soroka for Abdaladze (both 69).

Away Team

James O'Donoghue; Jake Swaine, Stephen O'Neill, Harrison Brewer, Harry Moore; James Thornton, Kevin O'Neill; Kieran Moloney, Risteard Byrne, Oisin Heffernan, Mike Murphy, Kevin O'Dwyer, Eoin Joyce, James O'Neill (capt), Michael Melia.

Replacements used: Tiarnan Creagh for Moloney (35-52 mins), Ian Hanly for Moore (42), Robert Duke for O'Dwyer (50), Robbie Smyth for Byrne (52), Mark O'Neill for K O'Neill (62), Creagh for Moloney (72).

Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Aaron Dundon, Matt D'Arcy; Con: Joey Carbery; Pens: Joey Carbery 2

Away Team

Tries: James O'Donoghue, Mike Murphy; Cons: Jake Swaine 2