Relief for Wood as Clontarf find form
Clontarf 35 UL Bohemian 10
AFTER defeats in their opening two games, Clontarf at last got their Division 1 A challenge under way with a bonus-point success over UL Bohemian at Castle Avenue.
Anything less and Clontarf may have had to forget about any ambitions of capturing the title. As it is, they have moved from second last up to sixth in the table.
There's still quite a bit to be done as they trail the leaders Lansdowne by eight points. But at least last season's runners-up have a vital win under their belts.
"We were under a lot of pressure." said coach Andy Wood. "But we knew what had to be done and we delivered."
Wood was entitled to feel pleased, especially as his team kept their composure to grab the bonus point with a fourth try from centre and captain Evan Ryan in injury-time. Earlier, Clontarf had made life difficult for themselves by conceding a try from a block down in the opening minute.
Mossie Lawlor's score and a further try from No 8 Sean Rennison kept a UL Bohs side, missing their emerging Munster star JJ Hanrahan, very much in contention.
Clontarf responded with a try from flanker Adrian D'Arcy, converted by Richie Lane, and three penalties by Lane to lead 16-10 at half-time.
Although UL Bohs now had the advantage of the wind, it was Clontarf who dominated the second half. They upped their intensity to secure two more tries through wing Mick McGrath and full-back Tom McCoy, the second of which was converted by Lane.
That pushed them 28-10 clear going into the closing stages. With UL Bohs flanker Ian Condell yellow carded, Clontarf then struck for the vital bonus point with a fourth try through Ryan in injury-time.
Lane converted to bring his personal contribution to 15 points. UL Bohemians coach Colm Tucker had no complaints.
"When you don't match up physically there are going to be problems. That game was a huge lesson for us," he said.
"Previously, we had acquitted ourselves well, losing narrowly to St Mary's and beating Cork Con. But we just didn't turn up as a team or as individuals today.
"Clontarf were much hungrier. Next Friday night's local derby against Garryowen at Thomond Park is now going to be huge."
Clontarf -- T McCoy; R Lane, N Myron, E Ryan (Capt), M McGrath; M D'Arcy, S Cronin; B Barclay, C O'Flynn, R Burke-Flynn; B Reilly, C O'Keeffe; S Crawford, A D'Arcy, M Garvey. Reps: F Cogan, T Considine, D O'Meara.
UL Bohemians -- B Martin; D Moroney, M McPhail, M Lawlor, R Whyte; T Rafferty, C Sheridan; G Walsh, S Henry, A Simpson; E Kelly (Capt), D Foley; C Kindregan, I Condell, S Rennison. Reps: T Burke, J Sutton, D Frawley, B Walsh.
Ref -- S Gaffakin.