Brown's brace helps 'Tarf close gap
Winger Michael Brown bagged a try in each half as Clontarf ran out 18-12 winners over Cork Constitution at Temple Hill in Ulster Bank League Division 1A. With leaders UCD losing at Terenure the previous night, 'Tarf closed the gap at the summit to a single point as they avenged an October defeat to Cork Con.
Two early penalties from out-half Joey Carbery set them on their way. Brown's 22nd-minute converted try came from lineout possession and neat hands in the backs.
Darragh Lyons' penalty on the half-hour opened Con's account as they trailed 13-3 at the interval. Two more penalties from the number 10 had the Leesiders within four points just six minutes into the second half. However, crisp interplay between backs and forwards created the opening for Brown's 64th-minute score, and Con could only respond with a Lyons penalty two minutes from the end.
Galwegians caused one of the shocks of the day at Crowley Park as they beat play-off chasers Garryowen 30-17. The third-from-bottom westerners won for the first time in five outings, with winger John Cleary grabbing a brace of tries.
Number 8 Anthony Ryan finished off free-flowing build-up play for the opening try in the 11th minute, but Neil Cronin's penalty cut the gap to 5-3. However, a turnover from the restart saw Cleary break free to go over, and Shane O'Leary nailed a superb touchline conversion. Try number three came from hooker Jack Dinneen, whose big hand-off saw him power over from the 22-metre line. O'Leary converted and landed a drop goal before Garryowen out-half Andrew O'Byrne seized on a loose ball to dot down just before half-time.
The Light Blues reduced the arrears further thanks to a lineout maul try from replacement front-rower JP Cooney on the hour mark. But back came 'Wegians, grabbing their bonus-point score within five minutes as Cleary finished off a break by Adam Leavy. A second drop-goal from outhalf O'Leary in the 74th minute made certain of the win for Matt Brown's charges.
Young Munster dug deep to see off Ballynahinch's challenge on a 7-6 scoreline in Greenfields, the third-placed side opening up a nine-point lead on Garryowen, who hold the fourth and final play-off place, and David Corkery's side sit just three points off the summit.
Old Belvedere put a run of four straight league defeats behind them with an excellent 26-15 win over Lansdowne. Belvo showed impressive resilience as they bounced back from leaking a try to Lansdowne captain Scott Deasy after just 40 seconds. The headquarters club still led 15-13 at the turnaround, with Deasy's Ireland Club XV colleague Mark Roche going over for their second try.
However, the visitors drew confidence from centre Steve Crosbie's first-half touchdown, and the Leinster prospect played a pivotal role for them in the second half. Crosbie knocked over a penalty from 45 metres out for a 16-15 lead, and although he missed a couple of difficult place-kicks, the former Ireland under 20 international registered his fourth successful penalty with four minutes left.
Just as Lansdowne attempted to hit back, Belvo outhalf Willie Staunton picked off a stray pass for a decisive breakaway try. Replacement Charlie Rock converted to seal a morale-boosting result for Paul Cunningham's men.
Sunday Indo Sport