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UL Dig Deep For Opening Success

UL Dig Deep For Opening Success

Dungannon blew a half-time lead as UL Bohemians battled their way to their first win of the All-Ireland League season on Saturday.

Three successful penalties from young out-half Paddy Jackson had Dungannon leading by 9-5 at half-time at Stevenson Park.

Jackson, with a stiff wind behind him, fired the Tyrone men in front in the seventh minute, and they went on to dominate the opening quarter.

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The hosts' back-three of Conor Gaston, Craig Gilroy and Chris Cochrane carried a very live threat, while Ulster's Ryan Caldwell and Thomas Anderson impressed up front.

But UL Bohs' defence was watertight, an example being winger Darren Moroney's try-saving tackle as Caldwell looked to convert an overlap.

The Limerick side took the lead on the quarter-hour mark when they built through the phases, creating enough space for Moroney to ghost over for an unconverted try.

UL lost their captain Martin McPhail to a facial injury and the lead changed once again when Jackson landed two more penalties, the second coming after neat build-up play involving prop Adam Duhig, Cochrane and Caldwell.

The Ireland Under-19 international added his fourth successful, early in the second half, after Cochrane was felled by a high tackle.

But UL managed to turn things in their favour in the second half, helped by a stellar collective display from their back row.

A cross-field kick from out-half JJ Hanrahan for Cian Aherne was well defended by Gilroy, however 'Gannon could not hold out and UL number 8 Kieran Essex barged over for a 48th minute try.

Bohs followed up with an excellent individual try from Munster flanker Tommy O'Donnell. He picked up a loose lineout ball and fended off two tacklers on the way to the whitewash.

Hanrahan added the extras and although he missed a subsequent penalty attempt, his replacement Stuart O'Flanagan nailed a kick from the 10-metre line to put Bohs 20-12 in front, with just 11 minutes remaining.

Gaston manage to get on the scoresheet for the second week running, showing good speed and strength to score to the left of the posts. Jackson's superb conversion from the touchline made it a one-point game.

In a dramatic finale, Caldwell was held up a few metres from the visitors' line before O'Flanagan's second penalty steered Bohs home.

Referee: David Connolly (IRFU)