Sport Rugby

Monday 19 February 2018

Joyce star man as Clontarf keep Young Munster at bay


David Joyce, Ballinahinch
David Joyce, Ballinahinch
Michael McGrath, Clontarf, is tackled by Derry O'Connor, Young Munster
Ben Reilly, Clontarf, in action against Mark Doyle, Young Munster

AIL DIVISION 1A: David Joyce had a dream outing for table-toppers Clontarf at Clifford Park as he scored 16 points as the visitors finished strongly to ensure that the challenge of Young Munster was kept at bay.

The home side trailed 9-3 at the interval with Joyce landing three penalties, but Brian Haugh had his second for Young Munster six minutes into the second half.

A try in the corner by Sam Cronin opened a bit of daylight between them, but a Haugh penalty kept a bonus point alive for Young Munster. A penalty try and a try by Joyce inside the final seven minutes wrapped up the vital win for 'Tarf.

In a dress rehearsal of their upcoming Bateman Cup final, Cork Con took the spoils at Temple Hill.

A try from Darragh Lyons midway through the first half proved crucial for the winners. Gerry Hurley extended the home side's advantage with a penalty and two penalties just before half time from James Thornton left it 8-6 in Con's favour at the interval. Two long-range penalties on 64 and 80 minutes by Chris Quinn denied the visitors a losing bonus-point.

Old Belvedere recovered from an early 14-point deficit to rescue a draw against local rivals St Mary's at Anglesea Road.

St Mary's took only 10 minutes to register the first try, with Robbie Hudson touching down in the left corner. The conversion was taken successfully by Gavin Dunne, and five minutes later the visitors had extended their lead, this time Brian McGovern bundling over in the opposite corner. Dunne again converted.

It took them almost half an hour to put some points on the board, as Richie Dunne raced through the Mary's defence after some good hands from captain Danny Riordan. Steven Crosbie added two more points.

The home side continued to claw their way back with a penalty from Crosbie, before Kieran O'Gorman added their second try. Crosbie converted to give Belvedere a three-point lead.

Cathal Marsh tied the game with a penalty for Mary's and some clever thinking by Matthew D'Arcy saw him catch the Belvo defence off guard with a quick penalty take, yielding a well deserved try.

Belvedere went in search for a third try and Danny Riordan found the breakthrough, finishing off across the Mary's line. Crosbie was left with a difficult conversion attempt and failed to find the posts from a tight angle.

A penalty try at the beginning of first-half stoppage-time proved crucial on the Aviva Stadium's back pitch as Lansdowne held off a strong challenge from a struggling Garryowen side to record their sixth Division 1A victory of the campaign.

There was considerable interest in this encounter due to the fact that former Ireland head coach Eddie O'Sullivan has joined the Munster men in an advisory role, and there certainly was a marked improvement in the performance of the division's bottom team.

The defending champions eventually broke the deadlock courtesy of a Scott Deasy penalty on 21 minutes, however, and following an extended spell in the Garryowen '22' towards the end of the half, referee Mark Connolly awarded the hosts a hard-earned penalty try.

Former Cork Con star Deasy was also on hand to secure the bonuses on offer, but with Alan Gaughan converting a late place-kick for Garryowen, there was just seven points (10-3) separating the teams at the mid-way point.

This did offer Garryowen something of a lifeline upon the resumption, and after Gaughan narrowed the deficit to the bare minimum with successful three-point attempts in the 43rd and 54th minutes, a major upset was most definitely on the cards.

Lansdowne coach Mike Ruddock (who is familiar with O'Sullivan from his time with the Welsh national team) managed to rally his troops effectively, though, and a 61st-minute placed-ball effort by the reliable Deasy was enough to propel the holders towards a much-needed triumph, in spite of the best endeavours of a spirited Garryowen.

Dolphin came to Ballymacarn Park with just the one plan, and that was to keep the ball tight – and that's exactly what they did.

Their forwards were much bigger and controlled the encounter in which Hinch never really looked like scoring in the match.

Pressure led to a penalty try after only six minutes which was converted by Eamonn Mills, and just on half-time he added a penalty. The second period had much the same style of play in terrible conditions.

Then, 20 minutes in, Hinch were penalised again and Mills made sure. Any penalties the home team had were never within range of the posts.

Harlequins led by 12-5 at half-time thanks to tries from Michael Heaney and Oliver Loughead, but the home side rallied in the second half with a Martin Staunton try, and two penalties and a conversion from Ben Carty.

Neil McComb's 67th-minute try, converted by Heaney, proved crucial as Harlequins hit back for a narrow victory.

James O'Neill pounced for three tries to give Terenure the points in Annacotty, where conditions were extremely heavy. Two Robbie Burke penalties could not salvage a losing bonus-point for the home side.

Corinthians recorded their ninth win of the campaign thanks to tries from Eoghan Masterson, John Burns and Gary Warde. Niyi Adeolukan, Paddy Lavelle and Jack Kelly touched down for the students.

(Match abandoned)

A re-fixture of this game between Blackrock College and Shannon will be required after an injury to Shannon's Paddy Butler brought an abrupt halt to the proceedings early in the second half.

Irish Independent

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