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Lansdowne 32 Garryowen 22
Talented young flanker Jack O’Sullivan turned in a man-of-the-match performance as unbeaten Lansdowne got the better of Garryowen in a seven-try Division 1A shootout on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch.
O’Sullivan emptied the tank as an ever-willing carrier and tackler, the home pack’s hard graft laying the platform for a quartet of tries from centres Harry Brennan and Mark O’Keefe (2) and influential hooker Tyrone Moran – three of which came in a strong second-half performance.
The bonus-point return keeps Mike Ruddock’s men three points clear of Terenure College at the summit, while Garryowen, who were without the attacking spark of Munster’s Sam Arnold and David Johnston behind the scrum, have slipped from third to fifth.
It was a very positive opening half from the Light Blues, though, as they led 17-10 at half-time. Neatly-crafted tries from backs Péadar Collins (26 minutes) and James McInerney (35), allied to an early penalty from captain Neil Cronin, had them in a promising position at the midpoint.
Brennan had crashed over past two defenders for Lansdowne’s opening try, 20 minutes in, with outhalf Scott Deasy converting to add to his ninth minute penalty. The headquarters club were back level within six minutes of the restart, getting on the front foot for O’Keefe to make it 17-17.
Lansdowne had the bit between their teeth as they began to take the game to the Limerick men, the visitors’ leaking a kickable penalty which Deasy sent through the uprights to nudge the league leaders back in front. Moran’s try from a maul, on the hour mark, was just reward for a thundering third quarter from the hosts.
Their improved play netted the bonus point with 76 minutes on the clock, O’Keefe showing a clean pair of heels to the Garryowen defence to make it 22 unanswered points. With scrumhalf Cronin typifying Garryowen’s never-say-die attitude, they closed the gap with a last-minute try from number eight Tim Ferguson but the bonus point remained frustratingly out of reach.
LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills; Daniel McEvoy, Harry Brennan, Mark O’Keefe, Foster Horan; Scott Deasy, Alan Bennie; Martin Mulhall, Tyrone Moran, Ian Prendiville (capt), Josh O’Rourke; Jack Dwan, Jack O’Sullivan; Charlie Butterworth, Willie Earle.
Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Greg McGrath, Aaron Conneely, Charlie Rock, Adam Leavy.
GARRYOWEN: Liam Coombes; Andrew O’Byrne, Dave McCarthy, Péadar Collins, Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham; Bill Johnston, Neil Cronin (capt); Niall Horan, Liam Cronin, JP Phelan; Seán O’Connor, Aaron McCloskey; Mikey Wilson, Jack Daly, Tim Ferguson.
Replacements: Mike Sherry, Nik Hildebrand, Seán Rennison, Darren Ryan, James McInerney.
Terenure College 27 Buccaneers 21
Terenure College bounced back from last week’s defeat at Clontarf to see off the challenge of 14-man Buccaneers, emerging as 27-21 bonus-point winners in Saturday’s Ulster Bank League Division 1A tie at Lakelands Park.
With Jack Carty’s younger brother Luke leading the charge, bottom side Buccs built a 15-5 half-time lead in pursuit of their first win of the league season. However, a Kevin O’Neill try kicked Terenure back into gear and they were able to claim their fifth victory of the campaign.
The Pirates broke the deadlock after kicking a penalty to touch in the seventh minute. A powerful surge from the pack almost produced a try but when the ball was spread out towards the right corner, outhalf Carty was there to score in clinical fashion. He missed the conversion before Nure increased their attacking threat as the first half developed.
Former Leinster Academy star Sam Coghlan Murray was stopped short at the end of a promising 24th-minute move by the hosts. Nonetheless, with the ball worked into a more central position, secondrow Alex Thompson was in the right place to drive over and make it five points apiece.
Darin Claasen’s Buccs side had other ideas and a late rally before the interval produced 10 points. A sweeping move across the backline ended with winger Rory O’Connor sprinting over for a try which was converted by Carty, and the Connacht Eagles number 10 also landed an expertly-struck penalty for a 15-5 advantage.
What has been hugely frustrating for the reigning Division 1B champions this season is their second-half performances. They have fallen away in games and had wretched luck at times. Terenure resumed in better fettle, with replacement Conor Weakliam adding considerable spark to the back three.
After several phases inside the Buccs’ 22, it was Terenure scrumhalf O’Neill who squeezed over for a much-needed try, converted by Jake Swaine. Into the final quarter, O’Neill’s halfback partner James Thornton was heavily involved in the build-up to another incisive passage of play which saw lively winger Swaine touch down out on the right.
Swaine’s touchline conversion dropped short at 17-15, but when Buccs replacement Eoghan Maher was given a straight red card 13 minutes from the end, Terenure sensed that there was an opportunity for them to push on. Their bonus point try arrived just moments later through Maher’s opposite number, Adam Clarkin, and a terrific Swaine kick stretched the lead to nine points.
It was a shootout between Carty and Swaine for the remainder as Buccs fought hard to take home a losing bonus point. Carty initially knocked over a 77th-minute penalty, Swaine cancelled that out with his third successful strike of the day for 27-18, but Carty fired over a last-minute penalty into a tricky breeze to make sure his side did not come away empty-handed.
TERENURE COLLEGE: James O’Donoghue; Jake Swaine, Marc Hiney, Ted O’Donoghue, Sam Coghlan Murray; James Thornton, Kevin O’Neill; Cian Madden, Robbie Smyth (capt), Schalk Jooste; Michael Melia, Alex Thompson; Kyle McCoy, Paddy Thornton, Eoin Joyce.
Replacements: Adam Clarkin, Giorgi Turbalaze, Cathal Deans, Conor Weakliam, Mark O’Neill.
BUCCANEERS: Alan Gaughan; Callum Boland, Shane Layden (capt), Alex Hayman, Rory O’Connor; Luke Carty, Frankie Hopkins; Martin Staunton, John Sutton, Conan O’Donnell; Ruairi Byrne, Peter Claffey; Ronan Farrell, Evan Galvin, Simon Meagher.
Replacements: Eoghan Maher, Niall Farrelly, Rossa Dooley, James Mitchell, Darragh Corbett.
UCD 24 Clontarf 31
Matt D’Arcy crossed for his sixth try in as many league games as Clontarf won a hugely entertaining tussle with UCD, taking home a bonus point in a 31-24 triumph at the Belfield Bowl.
The in-form Ireland Club international put his name to Tarf’s opening score and was heavily involved in another try of the month contender from the north Dubliners, which was finished off by Munster Academy recruit Jack Power to give the visitors a 17-14 half-time lead.
Two more converted tries from Cormac Daly and Rob McGrath proved enough for Andy Wood’s men in the second half, although scrumhalf Nick Peters’s charge-down try – coupled with some strong defensive scrummaging late on - deservedly earned UCD a losing bonus point.
A well-worked 24th-minute move, launched from inside the students’ own half, ended with winger Colm Mulcahy notching the game’s first try, converted by Harry Byrne (younger brother of Leinster outhalf Ross Byrne). The family affair continued with Garry Ringrose’s younger brother, Jack, starting on the left wing for UCD.
D’Arcy replied for Tarf five minutes later, scoring an unconverted effort out wide after the visitors had gone through multiple phases in the 22. It was a one-two blow as soon after, a mix-up in the UCD midfield allowed Seán O’Brien through for his second try in the space of a week, with good hands from Daly, Hugh O’Sullivan and Ivan Soroka in the build-up.
The action swung back and forth to both 22s, UCD managing a swift riposte five minutes before the break. Flanker Ronan Foley stole possession at a ruck and galloped over for a converted try and a 14-12 lead. However, fullback Power had the final say of the free-flowing half, following up on a classy break from deep by D’Arcy and good work by Ireland under-19 scrumhalf O’Sullivan to run in a tremendous team try.
Tullamore man David Joyce converted and also added the extras to those scores from young lock Daly and winger McGrath, the former showing impressive timing and strength to strike from close range and give Clontarf the ideal start to the second period at 24-14. D’Arcy had cut open the UCD midfield again before that.
UCD number 10 Byrne then nailed a three-pointer to reward his forwards for a prolonged spell of attacking, but McGrath’s neat footwork saw him dance in under the posts for Tarf’s bonus-point effort. UCD fought their way back to make it a seven-point game, Peters blocking a kick from Sam Cronin to cross the whitewash with little over 10 minutes remaining.
However, last season’s beaten finalists used all their experience and top flight nous to see out a result which sends them back up to third in the table, while UCD, who have won two matches and picked up five bonus points so far, have fallen to seventh.
UCD: Tim Carroll; Colm Mulcahy, Jamie Glynn (apt), Gavin Mullin, Jack Ringrose; Harry Byrne, Nick Peters; Jeremy Loughman, Seán McNulty, Liam Hyland; Brian Cawley, Emmet MacMahon; Jonny Guy, Ronan Foley, Stephen McVeigh.
Replacements: Richie Bergin, Michael Moynihan, Keelan McKenna, Matthew Gilsenan, Ciarán Frawley.
CLONTARF: Jack Power; Rob McGrath, Seán O’Brien, Matt D’Arcy, Cian O’Donoghue; David Joyce, Hugh O’Sullivan; Ivan Soroka, Joe Roe, Royce Burke-Flynn; Cormac Daly, Ben Reilly (capt); Tony Ryan, Adrian D’Arcy, Michael Noone.
Replacements: Jonathan Larbey, Tom Byrne, Vakh Abdaladze, Sam Cronin, Conor Jennings.
Dublin University 3 Cork Constitution 28
Cork Constitution’s forward strength was the key to a convincing 28-3 bonus-point defeat of hosts Dublin University in cold conditions at College Park.
The defending Division 1A champions were stung late on by Young Munster last week and were doubly determined to get back to winning ways in the capital. They used their well-drilled lineout maul to apply the early pressure and force an opening fifth-minute try, scored by Lar Coughlan and converted by Tomás Quinlan.
Try number two followed on the quarter hour mark, again the Trinity forwards giving way as Constitution shoved them off their own scrum ball and pack powerhouse Conor Kindregan grounded the ball for Quinlan to boot the visitors into a 14-3 lead.
An encouraging response from the students saw them enjoy a short purple patch, with captain Michael Courtney and fellow centre Seb Fromm getting on the ball and making yards. The net result was a penalty which Christian Byrne, an early entrant for injured outhalf James Fennelly, turned into three points.
However, Brian Hickey’s men had another seven-pointer on the board by half-time, making ominous ground once more through a midfield maul and flanker Ross O’Neill was able to apply the finishing touches. Quinlan converted for a 21-3 advantage at the turnaround.
Both defences tightened up in the second period and it looked like there were be no further scores until Cork Con registered a late bonus point, replacement Jack McHenry, a brother of Con’s Ireland Sevens cap Alex McHenry, breaking the deadlock with a well-taken try from close range.
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Michael Silvester; Hugh Connors, Michael Courtney (capt), Seb Fromm, Billy O’Hora; James Fennelly, Angus Lloyd; James Bollard, Paddy Finlay, Joe Byrne; Jack Burke, Jack Dunne; Sam Pim, Richard Dunne, David St Leger.
Replacements: Dan Sheehan, Darragh Higgins, Niall O’Riordan, Rowan Osborne, Christian Byrne.
CORK CONSTITUTION: Liam O’Connell; JJ O’Neill, Ned Hodson, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Tomás Quinlan, Jason Higgins; Gavin Duffy, Max Abbott, Ger Sweeney; Brian Hayes, Conor Kindregan; Joe McSwiney, Ross O’Neill, Evan Mintern.
Replacements: Jack McHenry, Brendan Quinlan, Luke Cahill, Gary Bradley, Aidan Moynihan, Lar Coughlan.
Young Munster 51 St Mary’s College 7
Young Munster secured the result of the day in Division 1A with a 51-7 bonus-point thrashing of St Mary’s College at Tom Clifford Park. Munster Academy backrower Gavin Coombes scored two of the Cookies’ seven tries in a landslide result.
The Greenfields venue has recently not been the traditional fortress that it was known as, with UCD and Dublin University both winning there in earlier rounds, but Géaroid Prendergast’s men lay down a marker on Saturday afternoon with a barnstorming performance against their third Dublin visitors of the season.
Scrumhalf Rob Guerin’s superb first-minute try fired the hosts ahead, with the Young Munster forwards continuing to run the ball as they did to telling effect at Cork Constitution last week. Although Jack Dilger replied for Mary’s in the fourth minute, the Cookies’ lead stood at 27-7 by the interval.
Shane Airey, who impressed again at outhalf, kicked them back in front from a scrum penalty before west Cork youngster Coombes crossed for the first of his two tries. The 19-year-old was part of an athletic and dominant backrow which included Diarmaid Dee and Dan Walsh, and not even Leinster’s Caelan Doris – on as a replacement – could knock them off their stride.
Airey added his second penalty goal and, with their tails up and lock Mike Madden getting through a huge amount of work at the coal face, the Munsters pack forced a penalty try to open up a 20-point gap between the sides for half-time.
It was effectively one-way traffic in the second half despite some committed defence from Mary’s who never let their heads drop and who were led well throughout by captain Ciaran Ruddock and Marcus O’Driscoll. A change of referee was forced midway through as Mark Patton had to retire injured.
The rout was completed by four more tries from winger Daniel Hurley (45 minutes), Coombes (55), replacement Tom Ryan and winger Tom McHale, the last two being converted by the returning Alan Tynan. His Ireland Under-20 colleague, Calvin Nash, was the pick of the home backs, operating at outside centre and looking lively on both sides of the ball.
YOUNG MUNSTER: Conor Hayes; Tom McHale, Calvin Nash, James O’Connor, Daniel Hurley; Shane Airey, Rob Guerin; Peter Meyer, Mark O’Mara, Colm Skeehan; Fineen Wycherly, Mike Madden; Diarmaid Dee, Dan Walsh, Gavin Coombes.
Replacements: Ger Slattery, Conor Bartley, Tom Ryan, Alan Tynan, Ben Swindlehurst.
ST MARY’S COLLEGE: Dave Fanagan; Tim Maupin, Darren Moroney, Marcus O’Driscoll, Craig Kennedy; Conor Dean, Paddy O’Driscoll; Brendan Cullinane, Richard Halpin, Jack Aungier; Ciaran Ruddock (capt), Cathal O’Flaherty; David O’Connor, Nick McCarthy, Jack Dilger.
Replacements: Stephen O’Brien, Tom O’Reilly, Caelan Doris, Ryan O’Loughlin, Myles Carey.