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Moynihan kicks 14 points as Cork Con see past Clontarf, while Dublin University edge UCC

A round-up of today’s AIL Division 1A action.

Lansdowne’s Tom Roche in action against Shannon on Saturday.
Lansdowne’s Tom Roche in action against Shannon on Saturday.
Image: Ben Whitley/INPHO

DIVISION 1A

CORK CON 34

CLONTARF 24

IT WAS BUSINESS as usual for Cork Constitution’s Ireland Club XV players as they helped the Division 1A leaders register a 34-24 bonus point win over play-off rivals Clontarf at Temple Hill this afternoon.

Cork Con had seven players involved in Ireland’s Dalriada Cup title-winning campaign against Scotland over the past fortnight, and six of them started against ‘Tarf today afternoon, including impressive 23-year-old out-half Aidan Moynihan who kicked a handsome 14 points against the 2014 and 2016 league champions.

Stung by Dublin University in the last round, Clontarf were looking to bounce back and also avenge a late home defeat to Con from December. However, Brian Hickey’s men stole a march on them with two early tries, Ireland Club XV captain Niall Kenneally proving unstoppable on a charge to the line and winger JJ O’Neill weighing in with his seventh try of the season.

Aidan Moynihan Cork Constitution's Aidan Moynihan. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Moynihan converted both and added a penalty before Clontarf’s patient lineout maul was rewarded when a timely surge sent young lock Brian Deeny over near the left corner. Con had the upper-hand in open play with Munster’s Duncan Williams showing his experience from scrum half. A nice move put full-back Liam O’Connell over to give the table toppers a 24-5 lead to take into the break.

Credit to ‘Tarf head coach Andy Wood, he got the best possible start out of his players on the resumption. They crossed for back-to-back tries – both well finished by winger Cian O’Donoghue and scrum half Peter Hoy – to move back within a converted score of their hosts. Moynihan responded off the tee with a penalty for a 27-17 scoreline heading into the final quarter.

Clontarf raised their hopes once more with a bonus point try from powerful centre Sean O’Brien who swatted his way past a couple of defenders. David Joyce’s conversion left just three points between the sides, but again Con had the answers and replacement scrum half Jason Higgins found enough of a gap to snipe over. Brian Hickey’s men now have a home semi-final well within their reach, leading third-placed ‘Tarf by a full 17 points with six rounds remaining.

Cork Constitution scorers: Tries: Niall Kenneally, JJ O’Neill, Liam O’Connell, Jason Higgins; Cons: Aidan Moynihan 4; Pens: Aidan Moynihan 2

Clontarf scorers: Tries: Brian Deeny, Cian O’Donoghue, Peter Hoy, Sean O’Brien; Cons: David Joyce 2
HT: Cork Constitution 24 Clontarf 5

CORK CONSTITUTION: Liam O’Connell; JJ O’Neill, Alex McHenry, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Aidan Moynihan, Duncan Williams; Gavin Duffy, Max Abbott, Dylan Murphy, Brian Hayes, Conor Kindregan, Joe McSwiney, Kevin Sheahan, Luke Cahill.

Replacements: Brendan Quinlan, Patrick Casey, Ross O’Neill, Jason Higgins, Jack Costigan.

CLONTARF: Jack Power; James McKeown, Sean O’Brien, Matt D’Arcy, Cian O’Donoghue; David Joyce, Peter Hoy; Ivan Soroka, Declan Adamson, Niall Carson, Brian Deeny, Ben Reilly, Tony Ryan, Adrian D’Arcy, Michael Noone (capt).

Replacements: Connor Johnson, James Hurley, Cormac Daly, Mark O’Sullivan, Conor Kelly.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 31

UCC 29

UCC out-half James Taylor’s last-gasp penalty attempt fell agonisingly short as Dublin University emerged as 31-29 bonus point winners of a rip-roaring student derby in the All-Ireland League’s top flight today.

It was four tries apiece in this mile-a-minute College Park contest, with Trinity out-half James Fennelly having a crucial impact off the bench. He converted their bonus point score from Ireland Under-20 squad member Giuseppe Coyne before landing a key penalty from UCC’s 10-metre line with eight minutes remaining.

James Taylor celebrates scoring a try UCC's James Taylor. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Tony Smeeth’s youngsters, who overcame Clontarf in the last round, held on in a nail-biting finish to stay within reach of the top four. They trail Clontarf and Garryowen (36 points each) by four points, while the two hard-earned points they picked up the capital keeps UCC three points ahead of second-from-bottom Young Munster.

Trinity wore down the UCC defence for an opening 12th-minute try, scored by flanker Johnny McKeown who scrambled in under the posts. Number 10 Michael O’Kennedy converted and also added the extras to a 16th minute score from lock Ryan Baird, another of their Ireland Under-20 representatives, who burrowed over from a close-in ruck for a 14-0 lead.

UCC’s attack clicked in the 22nd minute when centre Peter Sylvester was put through a gap on the right and he passed back inside for supporting scrum half John Poland to go over closer to the posts. Taylor converted and tagged on a penalty to reduce the arrears to four points, which is how it stood at the break as the sides swapped two more converted tries.

Trinity captain Colm Hogan picked his moment to step off his left and break in between two UCC forwards, shrugging off flanker Brian O’Mahony’s attempted tackle to run in a third converted try. The Corkmen answered back with a similar effort from Cian Bohane who brilliantly evaded two defenders and showed a clean pair of heels to his Ireland Students team-mate Hogan.

UCC turned the 21-17 deficit into a 22-21 lead courtesy of openside Cian Fitzgerald’s 53rd-minute touchdown. Promising loosehead Coyne rumbled over to provide Trinity’s reply on the hour mark. Fennelly converted and fired home that all-important penalty, and despite Sylvester slicing through for UCC’s bonus point try, converted by Taylor, it was Smeeth’s charges who were celebrating at the final whistle.

Dublin University scorers: Tries: Ryan Baird, Colm Hogan, Niall O’Riordan, Giuseppe Coyne; Cons: Michael O’Kennedy 3, James Fennelly; Pen: James Fennelly

UCC scorers: Tries: John Poland, Cian Bohane, Shane O’Hanlon, Peter Sylvester; Cons: James Taylor 3; Pen: James Taylor

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Colm Hogan (capt); Cian Crotty, James Hickey, Philip Murphy, Ronan Quinn; Michael O’Kennedy, Rowan Osborne; Giuseppe Coyne, Dan Sheehan, Azis Nasar, Arthur Greene, Ryan Baird, Johnny McKeown, Max Kearney, Niall O’Riordan.

Replacements: Joe Horan, Bart Vermeulen, Paddy Nulty, Conor Lowndes, James Fennelly.

UCC: Rob Hedderman; Michael Clune, Cian Bohane, Peter Sylvester, Matt Bowen; James Taylor, John Poland; Shane O’Hanlon, Paidi McCarthy, Bryan O’Connor, Cian Barry, Andrew Davies, Brian O’Mahony, Cian Fitzgerald, Daire Feeney (capt).

Replacements: Harry Jephson, Daragh Fitzgerald, Mark Bissessar, Lee McSherry, Adam O’Connor.

GARRYOWEN 32

TERENURE COLLEGE 31

Bottom side Terenure College came desperately close to claiming back-to-back wins in a Division 1A clash which came to life in the second half and finished in a tense 32-31 bonus point victory for a semi-final-chasing Garryowen side.

The teams shared out eight tries in a free-scoring final 40 minutes at Dooradoyle where Munster winger Alex Wootton’s 78th-minute score, converted by Ireland Under-20 squad member Ben Healy, saw the Light Blues prevail in a very close finish. Terenure still took home two points to stay five behind Young Munster at the bottom of the table.

It was a cagey affair early on with James Thornton and Peadar Collins exchanging penalties inside the opening 20 minutes. Garryowen had the wind behind them but they could not break the try deadlock and an injury to Jamie Heuston, approaching half-time, saw Wootton switch to full-back. He was unable to prevent Terenure winger Erik Witjen from touching down, five minutes after the break.

Alex Wootton Munster's Alex Wootton was on target. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Garryowen hit back within five minutes, Wootton’s pacy break from his own 22 paving the way for Diarmuid Barron to score in the corner and cut the gap to 10-8. The experienced Mike Sherry was brought on for the final half-an-hour, and versatile young forward Barron took his league haul to seven tries so far as the Limerick men hit the front for the first time.

Converted tries from Harrison Brewer and Mark O’Neill sandwiched a Healy penalty as Terenure seized a 24-18 lead with 15 minutes remaining. The tit-for-tat exchanges continued with leaky defences giving way as Cian O’Shea (70 minutes) and Sam Dardis (72) swapped converted scores. The fourth-placed Light Blues had more in reserve, though, as Wootton outstripped the tiring ‘Nure rearguard and teenager Healy knocked over the vital conversion.

Garryowen scorers: Tries: Diarmuid Barron 2, Alex Wootton, Cian O’Shea; Cons: Ben Healy 3; Pens: Peadar Collins, Ben Healy

Terenure College scorers: Tries: Harrison Brewer, Erik Witjen, Sam Dardis, Mark O’Neill; Cons: James Thornton 2, Sam Dardis, Mark O’Neill; Pen: James Thornton

GARRYOWEN: Jamie Heuston; Liam Coombes, Peadar Collins, Dave McCarthy, Alex Wootton; Jamie Gavin, Rob Guerin; Mike O’Donnell, Liam Cronin, Andy Keating, Kevin Seymour, Dean Moore (capt), Sean O’Connor, Diarmuid Barron, Tim Ferguson.

Replacements: Mike Sherry, Jack Mullany, Sean Rennison, Cian O’Shea, Ben Healy, Mikey Wilson.

TERENURE COLLEGE: Tim Schmidt; Sam Dardis, Adam La Grue, Stephen O’Neill, Erik Wijten; James Thornton, Jamie Glynn; Conor McCormack, Robbie Smyth, Jack Aungier, Michael Melia (capt), Stephen Caffrey, Harrison Brewer, Paddy Thornton, Eoin Joyce.

Replacements: Adam Clarkin, Tiarnan Creagh, Matthew Caffrey, Mark O’Neill, Robbie Carroll.

LANSDOWNE 43

SHANNON 15

Lansdowne completed a season’s double over Tom Hayes’ young Shannon side with a stellar five-try second half performance on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch. Centre Tom Roche, younger brother of Ireland Sevens international Mark Roche, touched down twice in a runaway 43-15 bonus point triumph.

Shannon gave a very good account of themselves in the first half, which finished level at eight points apiece after Jamie McGarry and Daniel McEvoy had swapped tries. Full-back McGarry crossed in the fourth minute, profiting from a deft offload by back rower Kelvin Brown and initial breaks by McGarry himself and Pa Ryan in midfield. His unconverted try cancelled out a Scott Deasy penalty.

Tom Hayes Shannon head coach Tom Hayes. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Ryan ran hard again in the lead up to Fionn McGibney’s 13th-minute penalty which gave the visitors an 8-3 lead. Lansdowne used their strong scrum and maul to launch themselves forward, but they had to be patient with Shannon defending well. With half an hour gone, they finally created space out wide on the right for winger McEvoy to reach over past McGarry and stay top of the division’s try-scoring charts with his eighth try.

It took some dogged defending from Shannon to avoid a further concession before half-time, with a couple of penalties stuck into the corner. A costly knock-on early in the second period gave Lansdowne a five-metre scrum and number 8 Joe O’Brien duly broke through for the hosts’ second try, converted by Scott Deasy. A Shannon pass which went to ground was then turned into a breakway score by winger Peter Sullivan.

It was all Lansdowne in the third quarter as Roche struck from close range for a 53rd-minute bonus point score, extending the lead to 29-8, and a midfield break saw him complete his brace with 14 minutes remaining. Shannon rallied with a penalty try from an advancing maul, but their slim hopes of taking something from the game were extinguished when Lansdowne’s own penalty try, in the 77th minute, sealed a 28-point winning margin.

Lansdowne scorers: Tries: Daniel McEvoy, Joe O’Brien, Peter Sullivan, Tom Roche 2, Penalty try; Cons: Scott Deasy 4, Pen try con; Pen: Scott Deasy

Shannon scorers: Tries: Jamie McGarry, Penalty try; Con: Pen try Con; Pen: Fionn McGibney

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills (capt); Daniel McEvoy, Harry Brennan, Tom Roche, Peter Sullivan; Scott Deasy, Tim Murphy; Martin Mulhall, James Rael, Ian Prendiville, Willie Earle, David O’Connor, Jack O’Sullivan, Aaron Conneely, Joe O’Brien.

Replacements: Adam Boland, Greg McGrath, Jack Dwan, James Kenny, Conor Murphy.

SHANNON: Jamie McGarry; Jack O’Donnell, Pa Ryan, Robbie Deegan, Eathon Moloney; Fionn McGibney, Aran Hehir; Conor Glynn, Jordan Prenderville, Tony Cusack, Ronan Coffey, Jade Kriel (capt), Luke Moylan, Kelvin Brown, Colm Heffernan.

Replacements: Ty Chan, Ciaran Parker, Charlie Carmody, Jack Stafford, Ikem Igwueru.

UCD 33

YOUNG MUNSTER 31

Derry man Conall Doherty drove UCD to their first win in four All-Ireland League matches as they outscored Young Munster 33-31 in an exciting eight-try encounter at the Belfield Bowl.

Full-back Doherty scored a try and landed five kicks for a telling 18-point contribution, with fellow backs Andy Marks (two) and Gavin Mullin also crossing the Cookies’ whitewash. Munster winger Calvin Nash notched the visitors’ second half try but Doherty’s accuracy from the tee guided the students to a narrow and much-needed bonus point success.

Andy Skehan’s youngsters have climbed above Shannon into sixth place in the table, and they laid the groundwork by scoring two early tries to establish a 15-0 lead. However, Munsters, who had lost their last four league games, rebounded well and suddenly found their rhythm through a familiar route – their Alan Kennedy-led forwards.

Conall Doherty is tackled by Jack Kelly UCD's Conall Doherty. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Muscular carries and a strong set piece platform helped them to string together three tries in quick succession, as flanker Conor Mitchell and prop Conor Bartley both made it over the line and the overworked UCD defence gave way again in conceding a penalty try. Crucially, Doherty clawed back lost ground with two late penalties for the students, making it 21-all at the turnaround.

These clubs have a habit of playing out high-scoring affairs. UCD won 31-29 at Belfield last April and came from 15 points down to draw 34-all with Munsters at Tom Clifford Park in December. Today’s rematch saw Skehan’s charges edge it once again, some smart finishing from Marks and Mullin, allied to Doherty splitting the posts with regularity, giving them a vital victory before they take on the division’s top four sides in the coming weeks.

UCD scorers: Tries: Andy Marks 2, Conall Doherty, Gavin Mullin; Cons: Conall Doherty 2; Pens: Conall Doherty 3

Young Munster scorers: Tries: Conor Mitchell, Conor Bartley, Penalty try, Calvin Nash; Cons: Shane Airey 2, Jack Lyons, Pen try con; Pen: Jack Lyons

UCD: Conall Doherty; Andy Marks, Paul Kiernan, Dave Ryan, Tim Carroll; Matthew Gilsenan, Nick Peters; Michael Milne, Bobby Sheehan, Liam Hyland, Emmet MacMahon, Tom Treacy, Jonny Guy, Alex Penny (capt), Ronan Foley.

Replacements: Sean Molony, Evin Coyle, Brian Cawley, James Tarrant, Gavin Mullin.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Alan Tynan; Calvin Nash, Derek Corcoran, Luke Fitzgerald, Darragh O’Neill; Shane Airey, Jack Lyons; Conor Bartley, Ger Slattery, Keynan Knox, John Foley, Alan Kennedy (capt), Conor Mitchell, Dan Walsh, Diarmaid Dee.

Replacements: Shane Fenton, David Begley, Alan Ross, Conor Phillips, Stephen Kerins.

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