Cashel kicked off the inaugural Energia Community Series with a shock 36-30 win over Shannon, who reside a division above them in the Energia All-Ireland League.
Opening Munster Conference 1 with a 10-try thriller, the Tipperary club’s lineout maul was a serious weapon. Robin Foot and captain Cathal Ryan had pushover tries, with Ciaran Ryan’s 23rd-minute score having them 19-13 ahead at half-time.
Despite player-coach Darragh Lyons’ sin-binning, Cashel added three second half tries, one of which was a maul-earned penalty try. Shannon’s young guns managed to salvage two bonus points after Ikem Ugwueru, Ronan Coffey and Ben Daly all crossed in a late flurry.
Highfield came from 19 points down to draw 22-22 with a youthful Garryowen, ensuring an encouraging start for new head coach Conor Quaid. A stirring comeback included two tries from winger Paul Stack and a late pushover effort from their workhorse pack.
Cork Constitution had too much firepower for Old Crescent in a 54-19 bonus point win, while Ireland Club international prop Colm Skehan returned from a near two-year injury lay-off in Young Munster’s 43-14 victory at home to Division 1A rivals UCC.
In the Connacht Conference, there were braces for Jack Noone and Matthew Devine in Galway Corinthians’ 41-20 defeat of Ballina. Out-half Euan Brown touched down twice for Sligo who won 33-14 at Buccaneers.
Rob Russell, Ronan Quinn, who had a first-half try double, and debutant lock Harry Sheridan starred as Dublin University moved straight to the top of Leinster Conference 1. Trinity ran in five tries to convincingly beat hosts Old Belvedere 37-14.
Hooker Dylan Donnellan picked up two tries in Clontarf’s 27-19 bonus point win at St. Mary’s, with experienced scrum half Angus Lloyd impressing off the bench. Another former professional, Craig Ronaldson, enjoyed a try-scoring debut with Naas as they toppled Terenure College 19-12.
Old Wesley also claimed a Division 1A scalp when downing UCD 18-14, the highlight being Nathan Randles’ try created by two brilliant one-handed offloads from forwards Cronan Gleeson and Sam Pim, and a between-the-legs pass by full-back Tom Kiersey.
In Ulster, late tries from Rhys O’Donnell and Conor Phillips helped Ballynahinch to win 29-17 away to Malone. Rainey Old Boys leaked an alarming 63 points to City of Armagh, while out-half Ritchie McMaster’s accurate place-kicking steered Queen’s University past Banbridge – 23-14.
Energia Community Series – First Round Results:
Buccaneers 14 Sligo 33
Galway Corinthians 41 Ballina 20
Galwegians – Bye
Leinster Conference 1:
Naas 19 Terenure College 12
Old Belvedere 14 Dublin University 37
Old Wesley 18 UCD 14
St. Mary’s College 17 Clontarf 29
Lansdowne – Bye
Leinster Conference 2:
Blackrock College 22 Greystones 43
Wanderers 25 Enniscorthy 10
Navan v Skerries, Balreask Old (match cancelled – two points to both teams)
Tullamore v MU Barnhall, Spollanstown (match cancelled – two points to both teams)
Munster Conference 1:
Cork Constitution 54 Old Crescent 19
Highfield 22 Garryowen 22
Shannon 30 Cashel 36
Young Munster 43 UCC 14
Munster Conference 2:
Bruff 32 Sunday’s Well 14
Dolphin 38 Midleton 14
Nenagh Ormond 31 Clonmel 8
UL Bohemians – Bye
Ulster Conference 1:
City of Armagh 63 Rainey Old Boys 14
Malone 17 Ballynahinch 29
Queen’s University 23 Banbridge 14
Ulster Conference 2:
Ballymena 19 Dungannon 40
Belfast Harlequins 31 Bangor 0
Omagh Academicals v City of Derry, Thomas Mellon Playing Fields (match cancelled – two points to both teams)