Saturday 24 February 2018

Cork Con grind down 'Rock to earn top spot

CORK CONSTITUTION have moved to the top of the AIB League Division 1A following their hard-fought 18-15 home victory over Blackrock College and St Mary's surprise home defeat to Garryowen.

After a superb opening to their campaign which saw them win their first four matches, St Mary's have now lost three out of the last four. Their 14-16 Templeville Road defeat to lowly Garryowen means they drop to second spot, two points adrift of Cork Con.

Significantly, a Shannon side which included Marcus Horan put their off-field troubles behind them to move into third position with a 32-10 home victory over Dolphin as the battle for the three play-off spots increases. At the moment, Cork Con and Shannon are the two teams moving in the right direction.

Not that things were at all easy for Cork Con against a Blackrock outfit which could easily have snatched a draw at Temple Hill, with Ian Madigan missing a late penalty. Once again, Scott Deasy (two penalties and a conversion) and Richard Lane (two tries) were major contributors for Cork Con. At Templeville Road, a Paul Neville try and a conversion and three penalties from scrum-half Conor Murray enabled Garryowen to edge out St Mary's and move off the bottom of the table.

Shannon were too strong for Dolphin at Coonagh, scoring four tries through Eoghan Gace (two), Stephen Kelly and Fergal Walsh. Dolphin are now five points behind Shannon, although they do have a game in hand.

Clontarf managed an important home win on Saturday, defeating UL Bohemians 21-12 at Castle Avenue. UL Bohs go back to the bottom of the table, with Garryowen having moved ahead of them by virtue of their victory over St Mary's

In Division 1A, Young Munster's 15-16 Anglesea Road victory over Old Belvedere moves them to the top of the table with UCC occupying third spot following a 19-13 home success over Galwegians.

Elsewhere, Ballymena edged out Buccaneers 16-13 at Dubarry Park and Ballynahinch's game against Dungannon was called off because of a waterlogged pitch.

Irish Independent

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