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St. Mary’s Win Tight Tussle At Belfield
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St. Mary’s Win Tight Tussle At Belfield

St. Mary’s Win Tight Tussle At Belfield

Second half tries from forwards Kevin Sheahan and Cathal O’Flaherty steered St. Mary’s College to their first win in three outings – a narrow 19-13 triumph against under-strength UCD at Belfield.

Both sides were aiming to bounce back from defeats in their most recent Division 1A encounters, with the hosts suffering a 31-24 reversal against Terenure College last Saturday – a day after St. Mary's lost 31-19 to Dublin University.

UCD were without a host of first team regulars due to the Leinster 'A' v Ulster 'A' match taking place that night at nearby Donnybrook, while the visitors were also missing backs Terry Kennedy and Jordan Larmour for the same reason.

Out-half Matthew Gilsenan's confidently-struck penalty from 40 metres out gave the students an 11th minute lead, but Mary's looked to have the greater firepower and both Sean Kearns and Paddy Lavelle almost crossed the whitewash from a 25th minute attack.

A Mary's try did arrive just two minutes later with their dominant scrum providing the scoring platform. Number 8 Kevin Sheahan broke off the base and quick ball saw Kearns instigate a move that ended with pacy winger Mark Fogarty diving over in the left corner.

5-3 is how it remained up to half-time, UCD losing flanker Alex Penny to the sin-bin in the 34th minute and Gilsenan missing a late penalty attempt from inside the 22-metre line.

A bout of attacking pressure saw Mary's get over the whitewash in the 50th minute, the excellent Sheahan breaking through in powerful fashion after a series of strong drives. Kearns' superb conversion stretched the lead to 12-3.

UCD responded thanks to centre Stephen Murphy's eye for a gap. He expertly split the visitors' defence open and then offloaded for winger Andy Marks to finish off by the posts, with Gilsenan converting to make it a two-point game.

With further gaps opening up as the second half progressed, former Cork Constitution lock Cathal O'Flaherty was in the right place to claim Mary's third try wide on the left. Kearns' terrific touchline conversion was cancelled out by a Gilsenan three-pointer in the 61st minute, keeping UCD in contention at six points down.

In a tense finale, UCD's task grew more difficult as loosehead Mikey Moynihan was sin-binned with eight minutes to go, and then Mary's replacement prop Emmet Ferron followed him. The energetic students pressed for a match-winning seven-pointer, but Mary's held on for a hard-fought and well-merited win.

Referee: Nigel Correll (IRFU)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Tom Fletcher; Rob Keenan, Jamie Glynn (capt), Stephen Murphy, Andy Marks; Matthew Gilsenan, Nick Peters; Mikey Moynihan, Gordon Frayne, Stephen McGivern, Emmet MacMahon, Jack Dwan, Jonny Guy, Alex Penny, Greg Jones.

Replacements: David Canny, Rory Mulvihill, Brian Cawley, Tim Foley, Harry McNulty.

Away Team

David Fanagan; Zach O'Hagan, Paddy Lavelle, Ryan O'Loughlin, Mark Fogarty; Sean Kearns, Paddy O'Driscoll; Tom O'Reilly, Hugo Kean, Brian McGovern (capt), Caelan Doris, Cathal O'Flaherty, Nick McCarthy, David Aspil, Kevin Sheahan.

Replacements: Richard Halpin, Emmet Ferron, Peter Starrett, Jack Dilger, Conor Dean.

Match Scorers

Home Team

Try: Andy Marks; Con: Matthew Gilsenan; Pens: Matthew Gilsenan 2

Away Team

Tries: Mark Fogarty, Kevin Sheahan, Cathal O'Flaherty; Cons: Sean Kearns 2