Friday 19 January 2018

Clontarf and Con both fall to second successive defeats

Ulster Bank League

Terenure’s Robert Duke scores a try against UCD in the Ulster Bank League game at Lakelands. Photo: Tommy Dickson/INPHO
Terenure’s Robert Duke scores a try against UCD in the Ulster Bank League game at Lakelands. Photo: Tommy Dickson/INPHO newsdesk

Last season's Division 1A finalists Clontarf and Cork Constitution both fell to their second successive defeats of the new campaign yesterday, Clontarf losing 20-18 to Young Munster and Cork Con going down to Garryowen 16-13.

For the visit of champions Clontarf, Young Munster were without Robin Copeland, who has starred for them in recent weeks, but they were able to call on recent Pro12 debutant Dan Goggin. 'Tarf made the stronger start in Greenfields, twice hitting the front through the boot of Rob Keogh and an unconverted try from flanker Karl Moran. A break from Matt D'Arcy then played in winger Keogh for a 35th-minute converted effort. However, Munsters scored two quick-fire tries to nip into a 17-15 lead. Tighthead prop Colm Skehan struck from a well-executed maul.

The Cookies' second try came straight from the restart, the north Dubliners falling asleep as Jack Harrington waltzed in for full-back David O'Mahony to convert and put two points between the sides.

'Tarf dug deep during replacement scrum-half Sam Cronin's sin-binning and although Keogh's 77th-minute penalty edged the visitors back in front, Munsters full-back O'Mahony landed the match-winning kick two minutes later to seal a rousing victory and move Gearoid Prendergast's men level with Lansdowne at the top of the table.

At Dooradoyle, captain Neil Cronin guided his Garryowen team to a three-point win over Munster rivals Cork Constitution. Cronin stepped up to fire home a 72nd minute penalty - his fourth successful kick of an 11-point haul - and make it two narrow victories on the trot.

Constitution gained the upper hand early on, thanks to Tomas Quinlan's fifth-minute penalty and a converted try on the quarter hour from Conor Kindregan.

However, Con's discipline has been poor in the opening rounds and they suffered their fifth yellow card in 200 minutes of rugby when full-back Liam O'Connell was binned for a high tackle. That came five minutes before half-time and Garryowen scrum half Cronin mopped up with a brace of penalty goals for 10-6. Centre Andrew O'Byrne's 55th-minute try continued the Light Blues' resurgence, although Quinlan set up a grandstand finish with a levelling penalty, 10 minutes from the end. Cronin then split the posts and Garryowen held on to take a tight verdict.

Terenure College and UCD both racked up try-scoring bonus points in an eight-try thriller that went 'Nure's way - 31-24 - at Lakelands Park. James Blaney's men lifted themselves off the bottom of the Division 1A table, with flanker Robert Duke's brace of tries helping them to bounce back from a 29-5 drubbing by Lansdowne.

'Nure led 16-7 at half-time, Mark O'Neill and James O'Donoghue getting the plaudits for their interplay in the build-up to winger Robbie Murphy's opening try which went unconverted. UCD were 13 points behind by the 23-minute mark, Jake Swaine landing a penalty and quick turnover ball saw Swaine grubber through for blindside Duke to ground Terenure's second try.

James Ryan led UCD's response, offloading for centre Jimmy O'Brien to speed through the middle and pull back seven points in the 34th minute. A late Swaine penalty gave 'Nure a nine-point cushion to take into the second half. Swaine made it 19-7 early on the resumption, but a multi-phase attack from UCD wore down the home defence for Tom Fletcher to touch down. Ross Byrne could not convert.

Terenure strung together two tries to secure their bonus point with 20 minutes remaining.

While UCD's Peadar Timmins was in the bin, an advancing maul ended with James O'Neill crossing for the hosts. Duke grabbed his second try of the day, five minutes later, getting on the end of a kick through from Stephen O'Neill. Swaine's conversion made it 31-12 before UCD fought hard to take home two bonus points.

Ryan got over for a deserved score, converted by Tim Foley, and then with 'Nure hooker Adam Clarkin yellow-carded, the visitors fed Ireland Sevens international Harry McNulty to finish in the corner. 'Nure prevailed by seven points.

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