Friday 19 January 2018

Joyce keeps his cool as Clontarf pass Lansdowne test

David Joyce
David Joyce


Clontarf remain top of the table following a hard-fought win over defending champions Lansdowne at Castle Avenue yesterday.

Clontarf played most of the rugby in the first half, with captain Ben Reilly dominating the lineout, and took the lead through a David Joyce penalty. Lansdowne responded with a Scott Deasy penalty less than five minutes later, but both sides failed to register any more points in a rather uneventful first half.

The home side began brighter following the restart, and their early dominance was rewarded when Joyce added a second penalty from close range.

However, the visitors soon levelled, Deasy kicking a sublime penalty from wide on the left. Shortly after Joyce had kicked his third penalty, the visitors had winger Cian Aherne yellow-carded.

Clontarf seized their opportunity with a much-deserved try courtesy of Michael McGrath. Joyce added the extras, extending the lead to 10 points with 15 minutes left.

Lansdowne responded with a try through Mark Roche to bring it within three points, but Clontarf held on for what might be a crucial victory in the title race.

Full back Darren Hudson scored two first-half tries as St Mary's College took full points from Garryowen at Dooradoyle, but the Dubliners failed to get a fourth try after being reduced to 13 players at one stage of the second half.

In all, St Mary's had three players binned during a contest which they dominated with skipper Darragh Fanning getting their third try following a great break by Gavin Dunne who converted all three tries and also landed a penalty.

Jamie Gavin kicked five penalties for Garryowen, who have yet to win a game in the league this season.

Old Belvedere remain second following a comfortable win at Musgrave Park. Belvo raced into a 12-0 lead inside 17 minutes with tries from Sean Crosbie and Peter Robb and a Crosbie conversion.

Dolphin dominated the rest of the half and tries from Darren Sweetnam and John Quill brought them back to 12-10 at the break. A try by Jack Conan early in the second half and a penalty by Shawn Berne sealed victory for Belvo.

Young MuNster were deserving winners at Temple Hill in this Munster derby, coming from behind to triumph fairly handily.

Conor Desmond gave Con the lead with a try which Johnny Holland converted. Two penalties from Brian Haugh got Young Munster back to within a point by the interval.

Haugh put the Limerick side ahead with his third penalty and converted a try by Colin Liston. Holland then secured a bonus point for Con with a late penalty.

TWENTY-TWO points from the boot of out half Ritchie Lobb proved crucial at Belfield, as Ballynahinch held off a strong second-half fightback from UCD to secure a massive victory.

Two penalties from Lobb, as well as a converted try by second-row John Madden, helped Ballynahinch to a 13-0 cushion with just 15 minutes gone.

UCD fought back through Niall Thornton, but Lobb gave 'Hinch a commanding 19-6 interval advantage.

Full-back David McIlwaine put Ballynahinch further ahead, but the Students forced their way back into the reckoning when a five-pointer by Andy Boyle was quickly followed by a Thornton place-kick.

Two more Lobb kicks eased the pressure on the visitors. UCD finished strongly with tries from Kieran Moloney and Donagh Lawler, but Ballynahinch held on.

Corinthians jumped into second place after coming from 3-0 down at half-time to defeat Malone with a converted try from John Burns and a late penalty from Finn Gormley.

UL Bohemian mounted a stirring fightback from 21-7 down in the second half to stun Blackrock. Impressive tries from Mick Carroll, Jan Simon-Byrne and Davy Rowan put the hosts in command. However, Eoin Sweeney's second try cut the deficit, and touchdowns from John Sutton and Sam Sterling, plus two conversions from replacement David Johnson, took Bohemians up to third place in the table.

Liam Cambridge kicked an injury-time penalty to deprive Dungannon of a losing bonus point, after Kenny McCombe had crossed for the only try of the afternoon.

Irish Independent

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