Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Review

Bottom side Terenure College stunned Division 1A title holders Clontarf with a 13-6 defeat at Castle Avenue last night, inspired by a ferocious defensive display.

Scorers: Clontarf: Pens: Rob Keogh 2
Terenure College: Try: Eoin Joyce; Con: Mark O'Neill; Pens: Mark O'Neill 2

HT: Clontarf 3 Terenure College 10

Terenure number 8 Eoin Joyce crossed for the game's only try close to half-time. Willie Devane's turnover set up scrum half Kevin O'Neill for a sniping run and his offload sent the supporting Joyce over, with Mark O'Neill's conversion making it 10-0 in the wet and muddy conditions.

Handling was proving particularly difficult and fourth-placed Clontarf, who hammered Trinity without conceding a point in the last two rounds, were brought back down to earth by the nuggety visitors.

'Tarf full-back Rob Keogh missed his first penalty attempt of the night and they also had to cope with the early injury-enforced departure of talismanic flanker Tony Ryan.

It was Mark O'Neill who opened the scoring with a penalty on the half hour mark, with prop Oisin Heffernan and flanker Harrison Brewer both playing prominent roles for 'Nure up front. Joyce's converted effort was followed by a late Keogh penalty for a 10-3 scoreline at the turnaround.

With winger Mick McGrath back on the pitch following a spell on the sidelines, the hosts sought to eat into that deficit in the third quarter, but 'Nure knuckled down again and O'Neill popped over one of two penalty attempts to restore the 10-point gap.

Knock-ons prevented 'Tarf from building for a couple of potential tries and their attack really came up against a veritable brick wall in the Terenure defence.

A typically forceful carry from McGrath teed up a second successful penalty from Keogh in the 74th minute, however the hosts' full-back was off target with a further effort as James Blaney's men deservedly held on. Terenure are now only five points in arrears at the foot of the table, chasing down both St. Mary's and Dublin University.

Scorers: Garryowen: Try: Neil Cronin; Con: Neil Cronin; Pens: Neil Cronin 2
Young Munster: Tries: Penalty try, Alan Kennedy, Michael Vaughan, Cian Bohane; Cons: Alan Tynan 3; Pens: Alan Tynan 2

HT: Garryowen 13 Young Munster 10

Centre Cian Bohane struck for the bonus point try in injury-time as Young Munster ran out 32-13 winners over Garryowen in last night's top flight Limerick derby.

The travelling support roared their delight at Dooradoyle as the Munster-capped Bohane made it over late on, adding to a first half penalty try and efforts from Alan Kennedy and Michael Vaughan.

Bill Johnston made a very welcome return from an ankle injury, joining Garryowen captain Neil Cronin at half-back, and it was an encouraging sight from a Munster point of view to see two talented teenage number 10s go head to head - Johnston and fellow Tipperary native Alan Tynan.

Tynan had produced a classy display in Munsters' 19-10 win over leaders Lansdowne last week, and the Cookies' revenge mission - they lost 13-11 to the Light Blues in November - started well with a Tynan three-pointer and that penalty try as Garryowen struggled to cope with the visitors' dominant scrum.

However, Garryowen skipper Cronin was in inspirational form, passing and kicking crisply in difficult conditions and leading by example for his young side. He was ably assisted by surefooted Ireland U-20 international Johnston.

Cronin capped his impressive performance by wriggling over for an opportunist 25th-minute try which he converted himself. Two penalties followed from the boot of the Ireland Club international as the hosts nipped into a 13-10 lead for half-time.

But Munsters showed exactly why they are just a point off the summit by rattling off 22 unanswered second half points. Garryowen, who have fallen to sixth with back-to-back losses, could not hold out as flanker Kennedy crashed over from a lineout maul with Tynan converting.

Yellow cards for Munsters replacement Shane Fenton and Garryowen's Tim Ferguson preceded another well-struck penalty from Tynan, who increased his influence by sending a brilliantly weighted grubber kick through for winger Vaughan to touch down in the 70th minute.

Despite some gritty defending in the closing stages, tiring Garryowen were powerless to prevent Bohane from raiding in for the bonus point try which Tynan converted to complete his 12-point tally.

LANSDOWNE 43 ST. MARY'S COLLEGE 20, Aviva Stadium back pitch
Scorers: Lansdowne: Tries: Daniel McEvoy 2, Josh O'Rourke, Mark Roche, Foster Horan, Max Deegan; Cons: Scott Deasy 5; Pen: Scott Deasy
St. Mary's College: Tries: Ryan O'Loughlin, Paddy O'Driscoll; Cons: Conor Gilsenan 2; Pens: Conor Gilsenan 2

HT: Lansdowne 31 St. Mary's College 6

Lansdowne bounced back from losing to close rivals Young Munster last Saturday with a convincing 43-20 bonus point dismissal of a game St. Mary's side.

Daniel McEvoy, Josh O'Rourke and Mark Roche all touched down inside the opening 19 minutes as Mike Ruddock's men set out their stall on the Aviva Stadium's back pitch.

Right winger McEvoy bagged a brace, racing clear after 7 and 31 minutes to take his season's haul to six tries and help Lansdowne on their way to a 31-6 half-time lead.

Two Conor Gilsenan penalties were all St. Mary's could muster until they took advantage of Charlie McMickan's 71st-minute sin-binning to run in two late consolation scores from backs Ryan O'Loughlin and Paddy O'Driscoll.

Lansdowne were well out of sight by then, former Ireland Under-20 starlets Foster Horan and Max Deegan both touching down in a third quarter which saw St. Mary's suffer their own yellow card.

The headquarters club remain a point clear of Munsters in a fascinating race for the semi-final berths. The pair have opened up a decent buffer on third-placed Cork Constitution who host Dublin University this afternoon.

Mary's, whose resistance was led by tough-tackling centre Paddy Lavelle and lock Cathal O'Flaherty, now face a 'must win' home clash with Garryowen as they look to claw their way back to mid-table.

OLD BELVEDERE 9 UCD 20, Anglesea Road
Scorers: Old Belvedere: Pens: Willie Staunton 3
UCD: Tries: Sean McNulty, Andy Marks, Tom Fletcher; Con: Matthew Gilsenan; Pen: Matthew Gilsenan

HT: Old Belvedere 6 UCD 10

The conquerors of Cork Constitution last week, UCD made it back-to-back victories with a well-judged 20-9 success away to Old Belvedere at Anglesea Road.

It has not been a happy New Year so far for Belvedere with successive losses to St. Mary's and the students, and they were held tryless by last night's visitors who have climbed above them into fifth place.

UCD fell behind to two penalties from Willie Staunton inside the opening 10 minutes, but a ruck ball that squirted free in their half was ruthlessly turned into a College try.

Hooker Sean McNulty started the attack and took the return pass from full-back Andy Marks to finish off a well-executed score from 15 metres out. Matthew Gilsenan converted and also landed the second of two penalty attempts before half-time, rewarding a strong scrum from front rowers McNulty, Jeremy Loughman and Liam Hyland.

That gave Andy Skehan's youngsters a 10-6 advantage at the turnaround and the gap was out to nine points after captain Jamie Glynn broke the defensive line and sent the supporting Marks over in the corner.

Gilsenan's conversion attempt came back off the crossbar and 10 minutes later, the 'Belvo line was breached again. Ireland Sevens international Harry McNulty released Tom Fletcher with a nice inside pass and the winger had the gas to make it over from 30 metres out.

That was enough of a cushion for UCD to maintain their winning form. Belvedere came back strongly in the closing stages as they chased down a bonus point, number 10 Staunton slotting over his third successful penalty and then missing a subsequent attempt off the tee.

A strong run by 'Belvo replacement Eddie Rossiter and a typically well-timed support line from Daniel Riordan saw the latter go over for a try - only for it to be ruled out for a forward pass.

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