Mary's given play-off boost
Blackrock College 9
St Mary's College 26
ST MARY'S continued their push towards a play-off spot with a hard-fought derby victory over Blackrock at Stradbook yesterday.
The Templeville Road side were in control from the moment that right-wing Ronan Doherty skirted around the Blackrock defence for the opening try after just eight minutes.
However, in a game dominated by defences, but it took Mary's until mid-way through the second half before Robin Copeland barrelled over from short range for a second try after some good approach play by Paul Nash and Doherty. When neat hands by Copeland allowed Darragh Fanning to dive over for a third try late on it energised Mary's for a late push for a bonus point but the clock beat the victors, who also dealt the hosts play-off hopes a severe blow.
Scorers -- Blackrock: D Fitzpatrick 3 pens. St Mary's: R Doherty, D Fanning, R Copeland tries; G Dunne 3 pens, con.
CLONTARF all but confirmed their relegation to Division 1B after Garryowen just managed to hold off a late surge by Bernard Jackman's side at Castle Avenue yesterday.
The away side raced to a 15-0 lead with tries from Ronan Murphy and Conan Doyle and two successful strikes from out-half Conor Murray. However, the home side struck back immediately after Doyle's score, with Darragh O'Shea diving over.
Hopes were high when Dufficy converted after Martin Garvey's second-half score but the Limerick men expertly closed out the game deep in the Clontarf half and held on for a vital win.
Scorers -- Clontarf: D O'Shea, M Garvey tries; M Dufficy 2 cons. Garryowen: R Mahony, C Doyle tries; C Murray pen, con.
Cork Constitution 17
Cork Constitution have extended their lead at the top after a deserved win over Shannon at Temple Hill.
Two penalties by Jeremy Manning and a try by Frank Cogan put the home side 11-0 ahead at half-time. A try by Luke O'Dea and a penalty and conversion by Dave O'Donovan closed the gap to a point. A third penalty and and a drop goal from Manning saw the home side take the points.
Scorers -- Cork Constitution: F Cogan try; J Manning 3 pens, dg. Shannon: L O'Dea try; D O'Donovan con, pen.
UL Bohemian 14
UL Bohemian must still be wondering what went so wrong in the final quarter of their game against Dolphin at Thomond Park.
The Cork side scored three tries inside a seven-minute period to give them a flattering win but at one stage the Limerick side led 14-0. Sam Cronin, Danny Barnes, Rory Kenneally and a penalty try gave Dolphin their bonus point. Barry Keesham landed three conversions, kicked a penalty and also dropped a goal. For UL Bohemian Danny Riordan and Kieran O'Gorman had tries both of which were converted by Danny Kelly.
Scorers -- UL Bohemian: D Barnes, D Riordan tries; D Kelly 2 cons. Dolphin: R Kenneally, S Cronin, D Barnes tries; pen try; B Keesham 3 cons, pen, dg.
Young Munster 14
Young Munster are assured of promotion after an exciting win over their nearest challengers UCC at the Mardyke. Andrew Burke put the students ahead with a try, but two penalties from Alan Kingsley had the visitors 6-5 ahead at the break.
A third penalty by Kingsley and a try by Shane Hassett extended the Cookies lead to 14-5. A try by Willie Walsh converted by Burke kept the students in touch, but it was the Limerick side who were celebrating at the finish.
Scorers -- UCC: A Burke, try, con; W Walsh try. Young Munster: A Kingsley 3 pens; S Hassett try.
Buccaneers jumped over both Ballynahinch and Dungannon following their well-deserved victory over Ballynahinch at Ballymacarn Park. The hosts have been having a poor season and look like being relegated, quite a fall after winning so many trophies last year.
They allowed the Athlone team to take a 19-0 interval advantage and although Hinch had much the better of the second half they left themselves far too much to do although they did earn a losing bonus point.
Scorers -- Ballynahinch: M Graham, A Ferris, M Kirkwood tries; R Banbry con. Buccaneers: G Halligan A Hayman, P Harte tries; J Potgeiter 1 pen; A Kennedy 2 cons.
Old Belvedere 22
Dungannon scored all their 17 points in the last 10 minutes but by that stage the league leaders were too far ahead at Stevenson.
The Dublin side had only lost two games in the competition this season and were better in most departments. They scored three tries and the accurate Andy Dunne contributed seven points with two conversions and a penalty.
Dungannon earned a losing bonus point but it looks as though two Ulster teams will be relegated.
Scorers -- Dungannon: P Magee, D Hal try each; J Shiells 2 cons, 1 dg. Old Belvedere M Rantz-McDonald, M Cooney, J Risdon try each; A Dunne 1 pen, 2 cons.
Galwegians came out on top in this mid-table clash at Crowley Park with a two tries-to-one victory. Connacht lock Dave Nolan continued his return from injury with a try and winger John Cleary also crossed.
Tommy Seymour scored Ballymena's try but they had to settle for a bonus point and they fell to their seventh defeat of the campaign.
Scorers -- Galwegians: D Nolan, J Cleary tries; D Clarke 2 cons, 1 pen. Ballymena 16: T Seymour try; L Marshall 3 pens, con.