Sunday 17 December 2017

Leinster duo fire 'Tarf to date with Con

Clontarf's Evan Ryan, who scored the game's last try, celebrates after the match Photo: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE
Clontarf's Evan Ryan, who scored the game's last try, celebrates after the match Photo: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE Newsdesk Newsdesk

Division 1A table toppers Clontarf ran in four tries to see off the semi-final challenge of UCD 24-10 and move a step closer to their second Ulster Bank League crown in three years.

'Tarf were helped on their way by early tries from Leinster-capped duo Bryan Byrne and Mick McGrath.

Playing on the all-weather surface at Castle Avenue, the north Dubliners broke the deadlock in the eighth minute when hooker Byrne barged his way over to finish off a strong spell of carrying from the forwards. The backs followed suit three minutes later, fast-breaking outhalf Joey Carbery launching a sublime move that ended with McGrath going over in the left corner.

Both scores were unconverted, though, and UCD were within a converted try by half-time, trailing 10-3 after No 10 Ross Byrne was successful with the first of two penalty attempts. .

Approaching the hour mark, 'Tarf grabbed their third try when powerful flanker Michael Noone held off a number of challenges to score on the right. The excellent Carbery added the extras to make it 17-3.

The margin was back down to seven points after Daly touched down with 16 minutes remaining. Byrne's impressive conversion from out wide kept Noel McNamara's youngsters in the hunt.

But, despite losing openside Karl Moran to the sin-bin, 'Tarf maintained their lead. UCD turned down two kickable shots as Byrne went for touch instead, and the home defence eventually stood firm. 'Tarf replacement Evan Ryan sealed the visitors' fate when racing in under the posts in injury-time.

Cork Constitution will contest two All-Ireland senior finals in the coming weeks after a late brace of tries saw them edge out Young Munster 22-16 in yesterday's Division 1A semi-final.

Centre Niall Kenneally's sixth-minute tryhad Constitution leading the Cookies 7-3 at half-time.But this error-strewn encounter turned in Young Munster's favour as goal-kicking centre Lyons landed two more penalties and helped to set up a breakaway try for full-back Craig O'Hanlon. Con were leading 10-9 but had hooker Max Abbott in the sin-bin when Lyons burst clear from his 22 and made 0 metres. Munsters retained possession and managed to put O'Hanlon over in the corner, with Lyons' crisp conversion making it 16-10.

However, the travelling support had to endure semi-final heartbreak again as a combination of Constitution composure and Munsters indiscipline saw the hosts prevail.

With Sean Duggan already binned, Munsters went down to 13 men after a scrum infringement and then a third such offence meant an 80th minute penalty try to Constitution.

Tomas Quinlan tapped over the conversion for a 17-16 scoreline and Brian Hickey's men made certain of their final place with an injury-time try from powerful runner Kenneally.

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