Tuesday 12 December 2017

Club round-up: Moloney strikes to end leaders' unbeaten record

Dave Kearney tackles his brother Rob during training this week at Belfield, UCD
Dave Kearney tackles his brother Rob during training this week at Belfield, UCD

Dermot O'Mahony

As the first half of the Leinster League drew to a close on Saturday, Monkstown caused the biggest shock of Division 1A to date when they knocked off hitherto unbeaten Enniscorthy 13-12 away at Ross Road.

Having seen off their nearest challengers Gorey and De La Salle Palmerston in their previous two games with come-from-behind wins the leaders were ambushed on their own patch by the Dublin 4 side.

The upshot of their shock defeat is that the Wexford club's five-point lead has been whittled down to two points, with the top four clubs now separated by a mere four points.


Monkstown came flying out of the traps on Saturday and were eight points up inside five minutes as lock forward Mick Carroll barged over for a try before out-half Pete Condon added a penalty.

Enniscorthy out-half Ivan Poole superbly converted his own try from the touchline five minutes before the break to reduce the deficit to 8-7 at half-time.

Centre Killian Lett edged the home side in front with a try ten minutes into the second half but No 8 Kieran Moloney capped the league's major shock with the winning touchdown eight minutes from the end.

The win consolidates Monkstown's fifth place in the table but it was also a major boost to the three teams immediately ahead of them.

Second placed Gorey eked out a solid 21-14 win away to Clondalkin at Gordon Park with first-half tries from scrum-half Stephen Horan followed by a pair from No 8 Jordan Ahern being the bedrock of their victory as they led 18-6 at the interval before holding on for the win.

De La Salle Palmerston produced a stunning second-half comeback against Kilkenny at Foulkstown as they turned a 21-5 deficit at the break into a remarkable 34-28 win in a game in which both sides secured four-try bonus points.

Centre Gavin Beere's first-period touchdown for the Kilternan side - who are now a point behind Gorey in third - was added to by five-pointers from scrum-half Massey Tuhakaraina, No 8 Josh Eden-Whaitiri, full-back Andrew Norton and replacement flanker Mick Morrin.

Ashbourne, who have won five on the bounce after losing their opening two games, are a point further back in fourth spot after their nervy 33-28 win away at bottom club Suttonians in Station Road.

The county Meath club had looked in total control at half-time as they led 22-5 thanks to an opening try from scrum-half Conor McNally and a pair from No 8 Simon Deevy.

But the home side, desperately seeking their maiden win of the campaign, surged back to lead by six before Deevy completed his hat-trick to allow winger Casey Dunne slot two late penalty goals to wrap up maximum points.

The big game tomorrow is the visit of Ashbourne to Clonattin to take on Gorey where the visitors will be trying to reverse their opening-day 22-9 defeat.

Elsewhere, Enniscorthy will be anxious to quickly get back to winning ways at home to Suttonians.

De La Salle Palmerston will try to keep their title hopes alive when visiting Clondalkin, while Monkstown travel to Kilkenny to prove that last week's victory was not a one-off.

Irish Independent

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