Sunday 8 December 2019

Students stretch their lead as late salvo turns the tables on Galwegians

AIL round-up

UCD turned the direction of the game around in the final quarter Stock photo: Getty Images
UCD turned the direction of the game around in the final quarter Stock photo: Getty Images Newsdesk Newsdesk

Fast-finishing UCD hit Galwegians with 20 unanswered points as the Division 1A leaders gained a 33-15 victory at the Belfield Bowl yesterday.

Three unconverted tries from in-form full-back John Cleary, Ed O'Keeffe and Marc Kelly had 'Wegians leading 15-13 early in the second half. However, the students found an extra gear in the final quarter to turn this action-packed Ulster Bank League fixture on its head.

A 72nd-minute penalty from full-back Billy Dardis moved UCD back in front before winger Tom Fletcher finished off an intercept effort for a 21-15 scoreline.

Straight from the restart, Matt Brown's men leaked another try as Brian Cawley gathered it and linked with his second-row partner Emmet MacMahon, who sent replacement Charlie Cregan charging clear to score.

Centre Conall Doherty completed the rout in the dying minutes, chasing down his own kick through. The bonus point success has Noel McNamara's youngsters five points clear of Clontarf at the summit.

Cork Constitution brought Ballynahinch's two-match winning run to a shuddering halt by hammering the hosts 38-3 at Ballymacarn Park. Constitution dominated from start to finish, with Darragh Lyons and Tomas Quinlan using a first-half wind advantage to give the visitors the lion's share of territory.

The result keeps sixth-placed Con within reach of the play-off positions, while bottom side 'Hinch remain two points behind fellow strugglers Terenure.

Lansdowne's man of the match Scott Deasy nailed a 76th-minute penalty to ensure a share of the spoils with Garryowen (16-16) at Dooradoyle.

Garryowen never trailed the defending league champions in a tie that ebbed and flowed throughout, and they will be kicking themselves that they lost their grip on a 13-3 first-half lead.

That 10-point advantage came from winger James McInerney's third try in four games and a further touchdown from Munster Academy recruit Conor Oliver, who started in the back row alongside Dave Sherry and captain Josh Hrstich.

A lone second-half penalty from Gearoid Lyons was enough for Young Munster to close out a 14-11 win away to Old Belvedere.

Half-backs Lyons and Abriel Griesel combined to score all of Munsters' points in a hard-fought encounter at Anglesea Road. The latter's 62nd-minute penalty proved to be the match-winning score. Shane McDonald's boot had brought Belvo level five minutes into the second half, as the hosts desperately scrambled for their first victory in five league outings. Paul Cunningham's men did lead 8-6 after athletic lock Connor Owende finished off a 28th-minute try, but South African scrum-half Griesel's touchdown off a lineout maul gave the Cookies an 11-8 buffer at the break.

McDonald and Lyons swapped further penalties and with defences very much on top, in-form Munsters held on for their seventh triumph in eight matches.

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