Wednesday 22 November 2017

Five-try win lifts 'Tarf four points clear in Division 1A

Mick McGrath helped Clontarf to victory over Young Munster
Mick McGrath helped Clontarf to victory over Young Munster Newsdesk Newsdesk

Mick McGrath's 10th try of the campaign helped to propel Clontarf past Young Munster on a 42-25 scoreline at Castle Avenue. Clontarf are the new leaders in Ulster Bank League Division 1A after hammering Young Munster in a five-try display and taking advantage of UCD's heavy loss to Cork Constitution.

The north Dubliners ended the opening quarter 17-5 to the good, cancelling out Gary Fitzgerald's fourth-minute try with touchdowns from McGrath, who profited from a strong Collie O'Shea run and offload, and place-kicker Rob Keogh, who booted 14 first-half points.

There was a high penalty count against Munsters and they leaked two more tries before the interval, with forwards Ivan Soroka and Adrian D'Arcy making it 34-8.

With the bonus point in the bag, 'Tarf's rate of scoring dipped on the resumption and after opposing centres Matt D'Arcy and Diarmaid McCarthy were sin-binned, Munsters succeeded in closing the gap and remain third in the table, with 'Tarf now four points clear at the summit.

Yesterday morning's leaders UCD were stunned into submission by Cork Constitution who gave their play-off hopes a huge boost with a 58-15 victory at Belfield. Cork Con completely dominated the second half, picking off try after try as they turned a 13-8 half-time lead into a 43-point annihilation.

Missing a number of frontliners, including late Leinster call-up Peadar Timmins, the students hit the front off a stolen lineout, the ball being moved wide for winger Barry Daly to grab his 10th try of the season. But Con profited from a UCD yellow card to move 13-8 ahead for half-time, with a converted try supplemented by two Johnny Holland penalties in a real end-to-end tussle.

Munster outhalf Holland had a brilliant day scoring-wise, finishing with 26 points courtesy of a try, six conversions and three penalties, while right winger Aaron Spring helped himself to two tries and Max Abbott, Ryan Foley, Tomas Quinlan and Darragh Lyons also dotted down for the rampant Leesiders.

Back-to-back defeats have seen UCD lose their grip on top spot. They now trail Clontarf by four points but are very much on course for the play-offs. Notably, Con have jumped ahead of Garryowen into fourth place, and also have a game in hand.

Resurgent Old Belvedere made it two wins on the trot by overcoming Division 1A's bottom side Ballynahinch 19-14 at Anglesea Road.

Leinster youngster Steve Crosbie converted winger Shane McDonald's 24th-minute try and added a penalty to establish a 10-3 interval lead. The former Ireland Under-20 international kept the scoreboard ticking over with three more penalties,.

Battling Ballynahinch had the gap down to 16-11 at one stage thanks to Chris Quinn's try and penalty, and the goal-kicking winger fired over a last-gasp penalty for a losing bonus point.

Fourteen-man Garryowen dug deep to take the spoils against Terenure College, winning a tight affair 12-3 at Dooradoyle. Second-row Paul McCarroll's sending-off in the 22nd minute could have been the defining moment of the game, but the Light Blues overcame the setback with their back-row of Jordan Coghlan, Conor Oliver and returning captain Josh Hrstich leading by example.

At the Aviva Stadium, Ross Deacon touched down twice as Lansdowne overcame Galwegians 30-24 in a closely-fought game. Scott Deasy's 79th-minute penalty was the final score of a seven-try encounter which saw 'Wegians come away with two bonus points.

The westerners were leading 24-20 with 13 minutes remaining, a penalty try adding to efforts from backs Api Pewhairangi and John Cleary and number 8 Marc Kelly. But Deacon's second of the afternoon, supplemented by Deasy's boot which garnered 15 points in all, keeps sixth-placed Lansdowne in the hunt for a play-off place.

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