Tuesday 22 May 2018

Timoney's brace keeps Ulster in hunt

Ulster 36 Glasgow 15

Ulster's Jacob Stockdale celebrates as Nick Timoney dives over for his sides third try. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Ulster's Jacob Stockdale celebrates as Nick Timoney dives over for his sides third try. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Independent.ie newsdesk

Ulster have played so many get-out-of-the-jail cards this season that they will need a new Monopoly set after defeating a stacked Glasgow outfit last night, thanks in the main to Nick Timoney's second try of the game in added time.

That keeps Ulster's ever-so-feint hope of qualifying for the Guinness PRO14 play-offs alive as they could still potentially overhaul Edinburgh for third spot in Conference B.

While Kingspan Stadium was bathed in sunshine, those dark clouds that hovered over a side that just could not replicate some outstanding performances this season cleared midway through the second half.

PRO14 play-offs are still on the menu, and the spectre of not sitting at the top table of European rugby is not as bad as feared. With fourth place now secure, Ulster cannot be caught by Benetton, and they can now look forward to a vital play-off in Belfast against the Ospreys in two weeks' time for the pleasure of playing in the Champions Cup.

Ulster travel to Munster next Saturday as the PRO14 winds down its league programme. A win in Thomond Park will see the northerners pip Benetton.

Ulster were not helped by the loss of skipper Iain Henderson who was a late withdrawal when his wife gave birth to a baby girl last night.

Ulster's Tommy Bowe is congratulated by his teammates. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Ulster's Tommy Bowe is congratulated by his teammates. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

But it mattered not a jot early on as Ulster controlled the game with their player of the season Cooney dictating matters from the base of the scrum. He knocked over the opening penalty in the fifth minute and then brazenly broke off the back of a scrum five metres out to dot down and added the extras. So after 12 minutes, it was Cooney 12, Glasgow zilch and things looking promising.

Ulster lost number 8 Jean Deysel to a leg injury in the 16th minute, then lost the ball to a fumble immediately afterwards, cue a Glasgow fightback. Finn Russell banged over a penalty in the 19th minute then added the conversion to a try by flanker Callum Gibbins after hooker Frazer Brown blasted through some abject tackling in midfield. Then centre Alex Dunbar had a try ruled out by the TMO five minutes later.

Ulster found their mojo again with Cooney banging over a couple of penalties to regain the lead at half-time.

Unfortunately, Cooney, who took a knock before the break, did not re-appear after the break and it was Glasgow who got the scoreboard ticking in the second half with Gibbens driven over from a line-out.

Ulster's Tommy Bowe with his daughter Emma during a farewell walk around the Kingspan Stadium. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Ulster's Tommy Bowe with his daughter Emma during a farewell walk around the Kingspan Stadium. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Good approach play allowed McCloskey to charge through a release an excellent pass to Timoney who crashed over with Johnny McPhilips popping over the touchline conversion. Then Reidy got in on the act on the hour with McPhillips converting and adding a penalty five minutes later.

Scorers - Ulster: Cooney try, 3 penalties, conversion; Timoney 2 tries, Reidy try; McPhillips penalty, conversion. Glasgow: Russell pen, conversion, Gibbins 2 tries.

Ulster: C Piutau; L Ludik, L Marshall (Bowe, 69), S McCloskey, J Stockdale; J McPhillips (Curtis, 73, J Cooney (Marshall, 40); A Warwick (McCall, 54), R Herring (Best, 62), R Kane (O'Toole, 62); A O'Connor (Diack, 77), K Treadwell, N Timoney, S Reidy, J Deysel (Ross, 16).

Glasgow Warriors: S Hogg; T Seymour, H Jones (Grigg, 30), A Dunbar (Horne, 66), L Masaga; F Russell, A Price (Pyros, 62); A Allan, F Brown (Turner, 66), S Halanukonuka (Z Fagerson, 41); S Cummings, T Swinson Peterson, 62); R Harley (Smith, 66), C Gibbins (capt), M Fagerson.

Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa).

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