We have a full list of results and reviews from week one of the AIL Ulster Bank Rugby which seen big wins for UCD, Terenure & Clontarf.
Ulster Bank League: UCD 23 – 20 St Mary’s
A penalty try in the last five minutes gave UCD an opening night 23-20 win at the Belfield Bowl in the Ulster Bank League. The students fought back from 20-9 down with 15 minutes to go to snatch what seemed an unlikely victory at times. Mary’s felt agrieved with two players sin-binned, particularly with UCD’s out-half Ross Byrne avoiding a yellow for a deliberate pull back which saw Mary’s given a penalty try before half-time. The penalty try at the death another bone of contention for the traveling faithful who will see it as three points lost rather than a point gained.
With Leinster’s Cathal Marsh at out-half St Mary’s looked in control early on. But their decision to turn down four kicks at goal to kick for the corner saw them cough up possession. Gavin Dunne did get an opportunity to go for the posts on the 20 minute mark but his effort from 40 metres was wide of the posts. Bobby Byrne’s UCD side had been let off the hook and Ross Byrne punished Mary’s with two penalties on 24 and 28 after infringement inside the 22. In a frantic final five minutes of the half Mary’s finally turned the screw.
First Mary’s Full-back Gavin Dunne and Byrne traded penalties, the latter coming after Ryan O’Loughlin was sin-binned before the visitors nudged ahead before the break. Mary’s winger Marcus O’Driscoll broke down the left flank and looked set to score after a beautiful chip ahead but Byrne pulled him back. While referee Andy Brace walked under the posts to give a penalty try, UCD and Byrne escaped what should have been a yellow card offense. Dunne’s conversion gave them a 10-9 lead at half-time.
And in the 10-minute period after the break where Mary’s might have hammered home their advantage had Byrne been sin-binned, instead the out-half had the chance to kick UCD back in front. But in the 49th minute as was the case three minutes later, Byrne was off target from long range. Mary’s were dealt a further blow when referee sin-binned back row Mark Fallon but on his return Peter Smyth’s side kicked on.
With UCD under pressure, defending an attacking scrum deep inside their own half, replacement second row Keelan McKenna touched down to inch Mary’s 15-9 in front. Dunne added the conversion and a penalty with 16 minutes remaining to give Mary’s breathing space at 20-9.
But if UCD’s first year back in the top division last year was anything to go by, they were never beaten until the final whistle and they were rewarded. Their pack was brilliant and when prop Liam Hyland touched down got in with 12 minutes to go and Byrne converted, the gap was four going into the final 10 minutes. And the final score of the game mirrored the controversy which had preceeded it in the game. With four minutes remaining, UCD’s pack mauled closer and closer to the Mary’s line. With the students coming up just short the referee awarded a penalty try for deliberately collapsing the maul. Byrne slotted over the conversion and UCD held on for a hard fought win.
15 Andrew Boyle; 14 Tom Fletcher, 13 Stephen Murphy, 12 Jordan Coghlan, 11 Barry Daly; 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Bobby Holland.
1 Gordon Frayne, 2 Risteard Byrne, 3 Liam Hyland, 4 Gavin Thornbury, 5 Emmet MacMahon (capt), 6 Donagh Lawler, 7 Josh van der Flier, 8 Shane Grannell.
Michael Moynihan for Frayne (5-9 mins, blood sub), James Harrison for Hyland (33-40), Liam Bourke for Boyle (60), Moynihan for Frayne, Harrison for Hyland (both 71), Brian Cawley for Thornbury (71).
15 Gavin Dunne; 14 Chris Lilly, 13 Ryan O’Loughlin, 12 Robbie Hudson, 11 Marcus O’Driscoll; 10 Cathal Marsh, 9 Robbie Glynn.
1 Brian McGovern, 2 Rory O’Donovan, 3 Rob Sweeney, 4 Mark Donnellan, 5 Ciaran Ruddock, 6 Richie Sweeney, 7 Barry O’Flanagan, 8 Kevin Sheahan (capt).
Sean McCarthy for O’Donovan (half-time), Tom O’Reilly for Rob Sweeney (54 mins), Keelan McKenna for Donnellan (59), Mark Fallon for Richie Sweeney (60).
Ulster Bank League: Clontarf 37-19 Young Munster
Clontarf got the defense of their Ulster Bank League title off to a winning start with a comprehensive 37-19, bonus-point victory over Young Munster at Castle Avenue. But it wasn’t the foregone conclusion that the result suggests with the Munster side leading 14-3 in the first half. But a brilliant fightback saw the brother of newly capped Leinster back Mick McGrath, Rob McGrath touched down to help get Champions to an opening day victory.
Connacht centre Shane O’Leary opened the scoring with a penalty but was quickly cancelled out by a penalty from ‘Tarf’s David Joyce inside 15 minutes. It got better for the Munster when O’Leary crossed for a try just after the 25 minutes mark. O’Leary split the posts with a second penalty and Ben Martin added a monster kick from half way to give Young Munster a 14-3 lead after 35 minutes.
But Clontarf became Champions on the back of fighting back from the brink of defeat and a try from Jimmy Hawkshaw brought them to within four points of Young Munster. A Joyce penalty on half-time narrowed the gap to a single point at the break; 13-14 to the visitors.
And within 10 minutes of the restart Clontarf were in front with two tries in the space of five minutes with first Pete du Toit and then Martin Garvey touching down to give Clontarf a 23-14 lead inside the opening 10 minutes of the half. Despite missing both conversions, Clontarf remained in control with Rob McGrath running in under the posts to get his name on the scoreboard for a 30-14 lead.
But Clontarf almost let Munsters back in the game with Conor O’Keefe and Karl Moran both sin-binned. Young Munster took advantage with Barry Gibbons crossing to close the margin to 30-19, but it was as good as it got for them.
Brian Keelan put icing on the cake in the dying minutes scoring after David Hegarty put him through to score to give Clontarf the best start to the defense of their title. Bigger tests await for ‘Tarf but getting past the hurdle of Young Munster is sure to give them confidence.
Ulster Bank League: Terenure College 32 – 20 Ballynahinch
Tries from Shane Donovan, Niall Lalor and Kyle McCoy saw Terenure College kick started life in Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League with a 32-20 victory over Ballynahinch at Lakelands. Hinch tries from Ross Adair and Richard Reaney looked to have put them in pole position at 14-20 after half-time but the home side fought back with Stephen and Mark O’Neill scoring five penalties between them.
After Stephen O’Neill missed his first kick at goal, Chris Quinn gave the away side a fifth minute lead, but O’Neill added two more in the next five minutes to give newly promoted Terenure 6-3 lead. But in a very tight opening 25 minutes Hinch could have been level with Quinn converting one from three penalties between the 13th and 23 minute mark.
Terenure’s backline had threatened to kick into action up to that point and finally made the breakthrough when wing Shane Donovan sent a Hinch player toward the dirt with a superb hand-off before he touched down on 28 minutes. Stephen O’Neill missed the conversion for a 11-6 lead. O’Neill added another penalty on 33 minutes before the home side had Fergal Walsh sin-binned with five minutes left in the half.
But Hinch who showed glimpses of class in their first season in the top flight last year bounced back on half-time with a try from Ross Adair, which Quinn converted as the men from Down trailed 14-13 at the half.
And after the restart Hinch took advantage of their chances, with Richard Reaney crossing for a try eight minutes into the half. Quinn converted for a 14-20 lead for the visitors.
But Terenure showed class to upstage their opponents. First Niall Lalor crossed the whitewash after they gathered in the lineout and mauled over for a try. With O’Neill off target with the conversion, Terenure trailed 19-20 on 55 minutes.
Three minutes later a turnover for the home side saw Robert Duke give Kyle McCoy the chance to touch down under the posts and the forward obliged. O’Neill made no mistake from the conversion as Terenure looked in control at 26-20 lead.
In the final quarter Hinch’s Aarson Cairns and Terenure’s McCoy saw yellow but the home side pushed on with two penalties in a three minute spell on 67 and 70 from first half replacement Mark O’Neill.
Terenure showed they will be no pushovers this season and with Stephen and Mark O’Neill able to kick goals, they should be able to match any of their more prestigious rivals this season.
Old Belvedere 24 – 8 Cork Constitution; Angelsea Road
Old Belvedere put the disappointment of missing out on last year’s Ulster Bank League title firmly behind them with a comprehensive 24-8 victory over Cork Con at Angelsea Road. Con fought back from 14-0 down to trail 14-8 with just under 10 minutes to play but their hosts had the required class, adding to their tally with a penalty and a penalty try.
Missing both Leinster Academy centre Steve Crosbie and the supreme kicking of Josh Glynn, they got off to a good start with stand-in outhalf Aidan Wynne converting two penalties in the opening 10 minutes. Paul Cunningham backline looked sharp and but for a few mistakes should have pulled further clear.
But where last year, when they created chances but lost out in games at the end, Belvo kicked on and got their reward just after the half hour. Jack O’Beirne touched down after Belvo went through the phases. While Wynne was off target with the conversion he did nail a penalty on the stroke of half-time to give Belvo a 14-0 lead at the break.
Cork Con came out fighting in the second half and when number eight Luke Cahill managed to burst over the line, but Gerry Hurley was off target with the conversion. But minutes later they received a setback when second-row Cathal O’Flaherty was sin-binned for infringing.
Both sides were guilty of coughing up possession and poor handling errors until a Hurley penalty with ten minutes to play looked to give Con a lifeline, cutting the margin to 14-8. But Belvo had other ideas and after Wynne knocked a 35 metre penalty in the dying stages, they breathed a sigh of relief.
It got better for Belvo when referee Mark Connolly awarded a penalty try for a deliberate knock-on as Belvo looked set to add to their tally. Wynne converted the penalty for an opening day victory. Cork Con will need to improve significantly if they are to battle for a top four finish while Old Belvo with a few returning players will definitely be in the top four come the end of the season.
15 Danny Riordan 14 Richard Dunne (Shane McDonald 80), 13 Rory O’Loughlin (Rory Kavanagh 80) 12 Peter Robb 11. David Mongan 10 Aidan Wynne 9 Aaron Sheehan.
1 Adam Howard (Peter O’Regan 55), 2 Actual O’Flynn, (Killian O’Neill 67), 3 Declan Lavery, 4 Alan Trenier, 5 Jack Kelly, 6 Jack O’Beirne (James McWilliams-Grey, 7 Kieran O’Gorman, 8 Jonathan Slattery (C)
15 Michael Keyes; 14 Garret O’Suilleabhain (Ryan Foley 58), 13 Ned Hodson, 12 Niall Kenneally, 11 Rob Jermyn, 10 Darragh Lyons, 9 Gerry Hurley.
1 Gavin Duffy, 2 Andrew O’Driscoll, 3 Chris Corkery, Cathal O’Flaherty, Graeme Lawlor, James Murphy, James Ryan, Luke Cahill.
Ulster Bank League: Lansdowne 37-6 Dolphin
Lansdowne kicked off their season with an emphatic 37-6, bonus try win over Dolphin at the Aviva Stadium. The opening day of the season should have seen Dolphin with home advantage but due to their pitch not being ready, Lansdowne got the advantage and with Scott Deasy controlling the game at halfback, Leinster Academy players Ian Fitzpatrick and Cian Kelleher were let off the leash. And after an initial difficult opening 15 minutes with the sides neck-in-neck, Lansdowne got the break and let loose in the second half with Kelleher, Kiwi scrum-half Adam Griggs and Fitzpatrick all scoring tries.
Lansdowne were dominant in the first half and opened the scoring inside 10 minutes with Scott Deasy splitting the posts with Keeshan leveling on the quarter hour. And despite having the most of the possession, Lansdowne just couldn’t break down the Dolphin defence. The visitors turning the ball over on inside their 22 to prevent Lansdowne from running riot.
But Lansdowne class told on 17 minutes when ian Fitzpatrick cut inside the Dolphin defense to touch down. A break down the right touchline saw scrum-half Adam Griggs spread the ball wide left and Fitzpatrick cut inside to touch down. Deasy nailed the conversion for a 10-3 lead.
Dolphin kept ticking away and after more solid defending inside their 22, Keeshan got his second penalty after initially sending a drop goal wide. Referee Dudley Phillips called play back for a penalty and Keeshan made no mistake 22 minutes in; 10-6 to Lansdowne. But the Lansdowne backline was at times great to watch, boasting Leinster Academy and Irish U20s full-back Cian Kelleher, former Connacht wing Mark Roche, former Irish youth Tom Daly were set in motion by former Munster out-half Scott Deasy. Deasy stretched the lead to 13-6 points
with another penalty on 25 minutes after Dolphin were penalised for not rolling away at the ruck.
They should have added to their lead on the half hour when Peter Dooley looked to have crossed the try line, but was held up. Scrum-half Adam Griggs played the ball back inside to captain Ron Boucher and when he was held short, Dooley came close. Phillips issued prop Dave Byrne yellow for infringing in the buildup. After initially knocking on, Lansdowne then conceded a penalty and Keeshan cleared. On the stroke of half-time Lansdowne another penalty from Deasy, as Dolphin infringed at the breakdown, saw the home side lead 16-6 at half-time.
After the restart Lansdowne got their backline going with Griggs snipping in under the posts six minutes after the restart. A great break Boucher looked set to give them their second try, but when he was held up, Griggs took the ball quickly and dived over the line. Deasy’s conversion saw them lead 23-6.
It got better for Lansdowne when Leinster’s Kelleher rounded off superb passing with Deasy and Tom Daly involved in a wrap-around which then saw Deasy find Kelleher out wide. The full-back gave a hand-off to the Dolphin defender before running in closer to the posts. Deasy’s penalty gave them a 30-6 lead and Dolphin offered little in response. A Keeshan penalty kicked for the corner summed up their luck with the ball going dead.
In defense Mark Roche was phenominal in denying what looked like a certain try from Dolphin wing Steve Dinan while Fitzpatrick was sin-binned with just over 10 minutes to play. Replacement Jack Dilger was the second Lansdowne player to be sin-binned when he played the ball on ground and Dolphin were back inside the 22. But Lansdowne were dogged in defense and were rewarded with a bonus point in the injury time.
A quick throw five metres out from the Dolphin line was gathered by Boucher and he sent replcement Dylan Donnellan over to score in the corner. Scott Deasy continued his meticulous kicking to give Lansdowne a 37-6 victory.
15 Cian Kelleher, 14 Mark Roche, 13 Tom Farrell, 12 Tom Daly, 11 Ian Fitzpatrick, 10 Scott Deasy, 9 ADam Griggs.
1 Peter Dooley, 2 Tyrone Moran, 3 Adam Boland, 4 Brian Moylett, 5 Stephen Gardiner, 6 Rhodri Jones, 7 Aaron Conneely, 8 Ron Boucher.
16 Ian Prenderville, 17 Dylan Donnellan, 18 Jack Dilger, 19 Patrick O’Driscoll, 20 Conor McKeon.
15 Eamonn Mills, 14 Dinan, 13 Daniel Horgan, 12 Dennis Hurley, 11 Shane McAulife, 10 Barry Keeshan, 9 Sturt Lee.
1 Peter McCabe, 2 Dave Byrne, 3 James Rochford, 4 Brian Quill, 5 David O’Mahony, 6 Rob Herily 9c),
16 John Leary, 17 Cian O’Sullivan, 18 James Vaughen, 19 Killian O’Keefe, 20 John Gleeson, 21 Rob Reardon, 22 Conor Flanagan, 23 Damien Attridge.