Friday 14 December 2018

Coombes grabs double in seven-try cakewalk for Cookies

New Zealand's Nathan Harris on his way to scoring a try against the Barbarians at Twickenham Photo: David Davies/PA Wire
New Zealand's Nathan Harris on his way to scoring a try against the Barbarians at Twickenham Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Young Munster secured the result of the day in Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League with a 51-7 bonus-point thrashing of St Mary's College at Tom Clifford Park. Munster Academy back-rower Gavin Coombes scored two of the Cookies' seven tries in a landslide result.

Scrum-half Rob Guerin's superb first-minute try fired the hosts ahead, with the Young Munster forwards continuing to run the ball as they did to telling effect at Cork Constitution last week. Although Jack Dilger replied for Mary's in the fourth minute, the Cookies' lead stood at 27-7 by the interval.

Shane Airey, who impressed again at outhalf, kicked them back in front from a scrum penalty before west Cork youngster Coombes crossed for the first of his two tries. The 19-year-old was part of an athletic and dominant back-row which included Diarmaid Dee and Dan Walsh, and not even Leinster's Caelan Doris - on as a replacement - could knock them off their stride.

Airey added his second penalty and, with their tails up and lock Mike Madden getting through a huge amount of work at the coal face, the Munster pack forced a penalty try to open up a 20-point gap between the sides for half-time.

It was effectively one-way traffic in the second half and the rout was completed by four more tries from winger Daniel Hurley (45 minutes), Coombes (55), replacement Tom Ryan and winger Tom McHale, the last two being converted by the returning Alan Tynan. His Ireland under 20 colleague, Calvin Nash, was the pick of the home backs, operating at outside centre and looking lively on both sides of the ball.

Talented young flanker Jack O'Sullivan turned in a man-of-the-match performance as unbeaten Lansdowne got the better of Garryowen in a seven-try shootout on the Aviva Stadium's back pitch. O'Sullivan emptied the tank as an ever-willing carrier and tackler, the home pack's hard graft laying the platform for a quartet of tries from centres Harry Brennan and Mark O'Keefe (2) and influential hooker Tyrone Moran - three of which came in a strong second half performance.

Elsewhere, Terenure College bounced back from last week's defeat at Clontarf to see off the challenge of 14-man Buccaneers, emerging as 27-21 bonus-point winners. With Jack Carty's younger brother Luke leading the charge, bottom side Buccs built a 15-5 half-time lead in pursuit of their first win of the league season. However, a Kevin O'Neill try kicked Terenure back into gear and they were able to claim their fifth victory of the campaign.

What has been hugely frustrating for the reigning Division 1B champions this season is their second-half performances. They have fallen away in games and had wretched luck at times. Terenure resumed in better fettle, with replacement Conor Weakliam adding considerable spark to the back-three.

After several phases inside the Buccs 22, it was 'Nure scrumhalf O'Neill who squeezed over for a much-needed try, converted by Jake Swaine. Into the final quarter, O'Neill's half-back partner James Thornton was involved in the build-up to another incisive passage of play which saw lively winger Swaine touch down.

When Buccs replacement Eoghan Maher was given a straight red card 13 minutes from the end, Terenure sensed that there was an opportunity to push on and their bonus-point try arrived moments later through Maher's opposite number, Adam Clarkin, and a terrific Swaine kick stretched the lead to nine points.

Matt D'Arcy crossed for his sixth try in as many league games as Clontarf won a hugely entertaining tussle with UCD, taking home a bonus point in a 31-24 triumph at the Belfield Bowl. The in-form Ireland Club international put his name to 'Tarf's opening score and was heavily involved in another try-of-the-month contender from the north Dubliners, which was finished off by Munster Academy recruit Jack Power to give the visitors a 17-14 half-time lead.

Two more converted tries from Cormac Daly and Rob McGrath proved enough for Andy Wood's men in the second half, although scrumhalf Nick Peters' charge-down try helped to earn UCD a losing bonus point.

Cork Constitution's forward strength was the key to their convincing 28-3 defeat of hosts Dublin University at College Park.

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