Monday 24 July 2017

Gilroy's debut double inspires Ulster to bonus-point triumph

Cardiff Blues 15 Ulster 37

Craig Gilroy: Impressive performance. Photo: Sportsfile
Craig Gilroy: Impressive performance. Photo: Sportsfile

Mike Brown

Craig Gilroy capped his Ulster debut with a try in each half to inspire his side to a bonus-point triumph over Cardiff Blues and up to third in the Magners League.

Ulster had not beaten Cardiff in seven attempts and lost their last four games. Their poor run looked set to continue after they trailed 15-8 at half-time but they turned it around with a devastating second-half performance, scoring 29 points without reply.

Gilroy started the fightback with his second try before Adam D'Arcy, Willie Faloon and Paddy Wallace all touched down.

Gilroy said: "I wanted to go out and prove myself and make sure I didn't screw up on my debut. To get two tries is a big bonus.

"After losing the last few games it's a big win. We have worked hard in the last two weeks and it really came together for us."

Cardiff opened the scoring after 15 minutes through Casey Laulala, with Ceri Sweeney converting. But Ulster hit back within two minutes when Gilroy squeezed in the corner. Cardiff failed to deal with an Ian Humphreys touch finder and were turned over. The ball was spread wide and expertly off-loaded by Robbie Diack to Gilroy who raced clear. Humphreys failed to convert but added a penalty minutes later to put Ulster in the lead.

Sweeney hit back with a penalty after D'Arcy was sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on to go back in front and the hosts extended that lead when Tom James made it 15-8 at half-time.

But Ulster came out fighting in the second half and Humphreys slotted an early penalty. Moments later, they struck again. Gilroy pounced on a grubber and stepped past Chris Czekaj and Sweeney to touch down beneath the posts. Humphreys converted and just one minute later D'Arcy got in on the act with a try of his own to give the Ulstermen a 23-15 lead.

With 10 minutes to go, Faloon grabbed the vital bonus-point try after a Paul Marshall break before Wallace rounded it off with Ulster's fifth try.

Cardiff Blues -- C Czekaj; R Mustoe, C Laulala, D Hewitt, T James; C Sweeney (G Davies 71), T Slater; T Filise, T R Thomas (G Williams 67), S Andrews, J Down (B Griffiths 19), Paul Tito (capt), M Paterson, M Molitika, X Rush (B White 30).

Ulster -- A D'Arcy; C Gilroy, N Spence (A Trimble 46), I Whitten (P Wallace 46), S Danielli; I Humphreys, P Marshall (I Porter 76); P McAllister (B Young 50), N Brady (A Kyriacou 71), BJ Botha (G Cronin 72), J Muller (capt, T Barker 35), D Tuohy, P Wannenburg, R Diack (W Faloon 47), C Henry.

Ref -- G Clancy (Ireland).

Irish Independent

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