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Three-Try Clontarf Win League Opener

Three-Try Clontarf Win League Opener

Clontarf ran in three second half tries at Blackrock College on Saturday as they signalled their intent for the new Ulster Bank League campaign.

New Zealander Andy Wood, who previously coached Blackrock, was back at Stradbrook in his current guise as Clontarf's new head coach.

And he got his tenure off to an impressive start as the north Dubliners moved to the top of Division 1A on the back of this eye-catching result.

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It was a tight first half played in wet conditions, with former Cork Con winger Richie Lane kicking the visitors into a 9-3 lead.

New Zealander Jamie Chipman made his presence felt in the 'Tarf second row, and Killian Lett put in a number of telling tackles to thwart the home side's advances out wide.

Blackrock could only muster a ninth minute penalty from out-half Darragh Fitzpatrick, who also kicked their only points of a second half which was dominated by the 'Tarf defence until their attack took over.

The home side went close to scoring a try before the break but experienced lock Des Dillon lost control of the ball just metres from the try-line.

As the place-kickers tried to add to their respective tallies, Lane split the posts on two more occasions and Fitzpatrick, following up on some good work by centre Rob Keogh, added his second penalty of the afternoon.

Nevertheless, Wood's men found an extra couple of gears in the closing quarter. Busy flanker Barry O'Mahony and debutant Dermot O'Meara both helped themselves to tries, and experienced replacement Daragh O'Shea ran in an intercept score.

O'Mahony was in the right place at the right time to gather an overthrown lineout and scorch over in the corner from 30 metres out.

The second try was finished neatly by new scrum half O'Meara after flanker Adrian D'Arcy had made the initial incision, while O'Shea showed a clean pair of heels to the 'Rock cover as he quickly turned defence into attack in the dying minutes.

The final scoreline did not reflect the commitment and endeavour of Eric Miller's charges. Victors 'Tarf had a good deal of positives to take from the game and Lane, who started at full-back, was one of them.

He converted five penalty goals for a 15-point personal haul and another of the former Cork Con contingent, Evan Ryan, exerted plenty of control at out-half.

Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU)