Monday 26 February 2018

Trinity jump clear of danger zone as Ryan seals victory

Jack McDermott
Jack McDermott

Independent.ie newsdesk

Garryowen were the big losers in Ulster Bank League Division 1A yesterday, falling from fifth to eighth place courtesy of a 19-3 defeat at Dublin University.

Only seven points cover the bottom six sides in the table, so Trinity's second win in three games was just the ticket as they climbed into seventh overall.

An initial penalty from the hosts' out-half Jack McDermott on the quarter hour was cancelled out by Garryowen captain Neil Cronin as he punished a high tackle at the 20-minute mark.

McDermott's boot edged the students back in front on the stroke of half-time, and Tony Smeeth's youngsters went on to dominate possession in a rain-lashed second half at College Park. McDermott missed an early penalty on the resumption and unfortunately had to be replaced with a shoulder injury.

The home side tightened their grip on proceedings with a penalty and drop goal from replacement James Fennelly either side of the hour mark, with the Light Blues still starved of possession.

Trinity then wrapped up the victory with pressure exerted from successive five-metre scrums. Number 8 Tom Ryan got the touchdown seven minutes from the end, and Bryan Mollen's conversion sealed a 16-point winning margin.

Leinster prop Andrew Porter scored a crucial try for UCD as they overturned a half-time deficit to defeat second-placed Young Munster 20-13 at the Belfield Bowl.

In a week in which Porter's first senior contract with the province was confirmed, the powerful 21-year-old returned to club duty with UCD and helped them to their first win in three games.

Young Munster were back in action just five days on from their Munster Senior Cup final loss to Cork Constitution and they were missing a couple of key men in centre Cian Bohane and talismanic captain Sean Duggan.

It was a real Jekyll and Hyde first-half performance from UCD who shot into an early 6-0 lead thanks to two Matthew Gilsenan penalties but suffered three yellow cards before the interval.

In windy conditions, Tipperary youngster Alan Tynan kicked a penalty and then added a superb touchline conversion to his half-back partner Rob Guerin's late try. However, there was still time for Gilsenan to answer back with his third penalty success before referee Mark Patton's half-time whistle.

Once restored to their full complement, UCD forced the issue again with their scrum getting on top - Porter showed his versatility on the tighthead side - and skipper Jamie Glynn scampering up the touchline on a day of rare breaks. Sure-footed out-half Gilsenan kicked the home side back in front with another penalty in the rain before his own tap-and-go sparked a frenzied attacking spell - upwards of 20 phases - which ended with Porter barging over for a 64th-minute try.

Tynan made it a four-point game with a fine long-range strike, but despite ending the match with 14 men, Gilsenan completed his 15-point kicking contribution by punishing a tackle without the ball with five minutes remaining.

Andy Skehan's victors are back up to sixth spot in the top-flight standings, while Young Munster face a real battle to hold onto that home semi-final place - Cork Constitution and defending champions Clontarf are now only one and two points behind them respectively.

Leinster lock Ian Nagle was among the try scorers as St Mary's College deservedly won the 'Battle of Dublin 6W', prevailing 20-13 at home to Terenure College.

Nagle featured in Mary's second row for this well-attended local derby, partnering his provincial colleague Rhys Ruddock's older brother Ciaran. The home pack also included Ulster lock Alan O'Connor's younger sibling David.

Four players with provincial experience also featured for the visitors - Conor Finn, Sam Coghlan Murray, Oisin Heffernan and Harrison Brewer - but they were disrupted by an early ankle injury to full-back James O'Donoghue.

Elsewhere, Cork Constitution hit Old Belvedere with 11 unanswered points in the second half of this hard-fought 16-10 victory at Temple Hill yesterday afternoon.

Bottom side Belvedere battled hard throughout, but Luke Cahill's 68th-minute try, sandwiched by Tomas Quinlan's brace of penalties, saw Con deny them in what was a very tight contest. .

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