Here are the latest results and match reports from this weekend’s action in Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League.
Cork Constitution 19 Young Munster 20
Shane Airey was Young Munster’s goal-kicking hero as his last-gasp penalty secured a prized 20-19 away victory over defending Ulster Bank League champions Cork Constitution.
The Cookies staged a late smash-and-grab raid at Temple Hill, with Munster Academy youngster Daniel Hurley coming off the bench to score a try and out-half Airey following up with the decisive kick right at the death.
Airey’s opposite number Tomás Quinlan had been the game’s dominant figure during the opening hour of a very physical Munster derby, which was watched by a large and enthusiastic crowd.
Some indiscipline from the visitors allowed Quinlan to kick the hosts into a 6-0 lead after nine minutes, his first kick driven over from 40 metres out.
The addition of Munster duo Fineen Wycherley and Robin Copeland to the Cookies’ engine room made for some very physical phases up front, with the Con back row including number 8 Evan Mintern who bagged a brace of tries for Munster ‘A’ last week.
The Leesiders were still ahead at the break, with Quinlan kicking his third penalty and converting winger JJ O’Neill’s try, but two touchdowns from captain Ben Kilkenny – his fourth of the campaign – and James O’Connor had Munsters just 16-12 behind.
Quinlan’s reliable left boot continued to turn penalty awards into points, opening up a seven-point gap early in the second period. Solid Young Munster defence meant Con were unable to kill off Gearóid Prendergast’s resilient side.
The Cookies’ dogged display was rewarded in the final quarter when Hurley found enough space to score out wide, reducing the arrears to 19-17, and with the game there for the taking, Airey’s priceless penalty left Con floored. Young Munster moved up to seventh place in the league table after this result, with the Cork side slipping down to sixth.
Buccaneers 14 Dublin University 30
Michael Silvester’s brace of tries in the final quarter-of-an-hour saw Dublin University seal a well-judged 30-14 win over Division 1A rivals Buccaneers at Dubarry Park.
Trinity outscored Buccs by three tries to one in the second half to make it back-to-back league victories after surprising Young Munster at Greenfields last time out, while Darin Classen’s Pirates remain pointless at the bottom of the table.
Tommy Whittle punished a Buccaneers offside to kick the students into a 6-3 half-time lead, having earlier swapped penalties with his opposite number, Connacht Eagles out-half Luke Carty. Although Buccs appeared to be gaining momentum as Carty kicked them into a 9-6 lead, they suffered a yellow card and then could not capitalise on Whittle’s sin-binning for offside.
Strong defence from Trinity, who welcomed back Germany Sevens international Seb Fromm from injury, was followed by a penalty try for a deliberate knock-on, with Buccs seeing yellow again.
The visitors extended their lead to 20-9 with 19-year-old full-back Silvester’s first try, which was initiated by a superb 50-metre break from hooker Paddy Finlay and replacement James Fennelly provided the assist with a well-weighted chip kick.
Connacht prospect Peter Claffey powered over for a quick Buccs try in response, but Fennelly turned a scrum penalty into three points and further scrum pressure led to a late second score from silky runner Silvester.
Garryowen 27 UCD 20
Garryowen recovered from prop Andy Keating’s red card after half an hour to record a hard-earned 27-20 triumph over UCD at Dooradoyle.
The Light Blues showed impressive character to get back to winning ways in the top flight with skilful full-back David Johnston scoring their two second half tries.
The odds were in UCD’s favour after they took a 17-12 lead into the second half with Garryowen down to 14 men for Keating’s dangerous tackle. Peadar Timmins and Stephen Murphy finished off two well-worked tries for the students, while the hosts relied on four first half penalties from captain Neil Cronin.
Conan Doyle’s charges, who also gave game-time to Munster’s Alex Wootton and Sam Arnold in the back-line, stung UCD after the restart when a persistent spell of attacking ended with Johnston crossing out wide. Cronin’s difficult conversion attempt came back off the post.
The goal-kicking scrum half nailed a penalty soon after, rewarding a strong scrum from his pack, before Nick Peters forced a penalty at the other end and Matthew Gilsenan’s surefooted strike made it 20 points apiece.
Cronin missed an opportunity to move the Limerick back in front, but he was back on target to brilliantly convert Johnston’s 66th-minute score from the touchline. That took the Garryowen skipper’s haul for the season to 47 points.
Cronin and his team-mates remain in third place overall, six points off the summit, while UCD’s third successive defeat leaves them fifth in the standings but just three points outside the top four.
Clontarf 29 Terenure College 17
Division 1A’s early pacesetters Terenure College lost for the first time this season as they went down 29-17 to Clontarf under the Castle Avenue floodlights on Friday.
Centre Matt D’Arcy’s fifth try in as many league games was one of the first half highlights last night as ‘Tarf led 19-9 at the interval. Seán O’Brien and former Navan lock Cormac Daly also crossed the whitewash.
Terenure were first on the scoreboard thanks to a Mark O’Neill penalty, but he missed a second place-kick and O’Brien did really well to evade a couple of tackles and carry a defender with him over the line for his try.
Out-half O’Neill’s left boot made it 6-5 to James Blaney’s men soon after, yet ‘Tarf were now warming to their task and the experienced D’Arcy went in under the posts before Daly’s quick pick-up from a ruck saw him add try number three following a bout of forward pressure.
Tullamore man David Joyce converted both tries, before O’Neill nailed his third successful penalty to close out the first half’s scoring, with Andy Wood’s men 19-9 to the good.
Captain Robbie Smyth was at the end of a rolling maul to register Terenure’s one and only try on the resumption. The pressure was suddenly back on the north Dubliners with their lead now only five points.
Joyce, who had missed an early second half penalty, found the target to steady the hosts at 22-14 and ‘Nure paid the price for knocking on in their 22 as Clontarf quickly cut through for their bonus point score.
It was flanker Adrian D’Arcy who joined his brother on the score sheet, scooping up the loose ball and galloping over to move his side out of reach. O’Neill’s fourth successful penalty was all Terenure could muster in response.
St. Mary’s College 7 Lansdowne 33
Four second half tries propelled Lansdowne to a dominant 33-7 bonus point win over St. Mary’s College as they moved to the top of Division 1A on Friday night.
Mike Ruddock’s men took advantage of leaders Terenure’s defeat at Clontarf to hit the summit, going ahead through Charlie Rock’s 55th-minute try and never looking back.
Clashes between these sides normally have some interesting sub-plots, and this latest encounter was no different. Lansdowne are coached by ex-Wales senior and Ireland Under-20 head coach Ruddock, and in the opposite corner, his son Ciarán led Mary’s into battle.
The late withdrawal of full-back Seán Kearns was a setback for the hosts, but just three minutes in, they broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion as USA international Tim Maupin gathered a terrific cross-field kick from Conor Dean, on the right wing, and used his pace to score a converted try.
Dean, who started for Leinster ‘A’ last week in the British & Irish Cup, failed with a 26th minute penalty attempt. His opposite number, Lansdowne talisman Scott Deasy, also missed a tricky place-kick before the visitors finally opened their account just past the half hour mark.
Some patient build-up play was rewarded when Ireland Sevens international Adam Leavy confidently powered his way through the heart of the Mary’s defence for an impressive levelling score. The match was now finely balanced and the next score would be crucial.
Both sides created decent phases in opposition territory and timely steals by Mary’s pair Adam Coyle and Daragh McDonnell frustrated Lansdowne. Nonetheless, it was the visitors’ lively scrum half, Rock, who succeeded in squeezing over to the right of the posts, a few minutes later.
The headquarters club were very much on the front foot head into the final quarter. Replacement hooker Jack Dinneen supplied the finish touches to a pushover try, converted by Deasy, and fellow replacement Jack O’Sullivan registered the bonus point under the posts after Lansdowne had worked the ball through a central channel.
Mary’s pressed hard for a consolation score in the closing minutes, but it was Dan Leavy’s younger brother Adam who had the final say. The pacy left winger completed his brace thanks to a quick-witted counter attack and an assist from Daniel McEvoy. Deasy tagged on his fourth successful conversion.