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Dublin: 7°C Saturday 27 February 2021

Leaders Con end the year on a high as Garryowen return to top four

Lansdowne are still in the hunt after a win at Trinity.


Aidan Moynihan kicks the winning conversion Cork Con remain top after a dominant display in Dublin. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO



Division 1A leaders Cork Constitution ended 2018 on a high with a convincing 34-14 bonus point victory over bottom side Terenure College at Lakelands Park this afternoon.

After a penalty try helped them to establish a 20-7 half-time lead, Jason Higgins and replacement Patrick Casey crossed for further tries to move Cork Con five points clear of defending champions Lansdowne heading into the Christmas break.

The wintry weather conditions ensured that the game took place on Lakelands’ all-weather surface rather than Terenure’s favoured grass pitch. Constitution had to absorb some early pressure after their flanker Joe McSwiney was sent to the sin-bin for leading with a high elbow into ‘Nure’s Rory Murray.

Aidan Moynihan kicked 14-man Con ahead with a penalty from the 22-metre line, and he doubled the lead beyond the opening quarter with another difficult kick into the wind. Once they were restored to their full complement, Con went about breaking down Terenure’s defensive resistance. Captain Niall Kenneally carried strongly and was hauled down short before prop Gavin Duffy finished off for a 13-0 scoreline.

Mark O’Neill scores a try Mark O'Neill dotted down for the hosts. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The home side clawed back those seven points when they ran a penalty, towards the end of the first half. Scrum-half Mark O’Neill managed to dive over for a try which his half-back partner James Thorton converted. However, Con’s powerful 38th-minute lineout maul was dragged down and earned them a penalty try from referee Jonathan Peak.

That was followed by a stop-start third quarter, during which a series of scrums prevented either side from creating a consistent attacking plan. Terenure did well to cope with a rolling maul on the hour mark, winning a turnover scrum but the pressure told soon after.

Another storming break by outstanding centre Kenneally led to a penalty close to the posts. Moynihan went for touch and the decision paid off with the ensuring maul completed by scrum-half Higgins’ powerful finish from close range. Moynihan converted to give the table-toppers a 20-point cushion.

They secured their bonus point with 12 minutes remaining as Casey rounded off a swift counter-attack for his second try in as many games. Centre Adam Lagrue was one of Terenure’s best performers on the day and his lung-bursting break set up full-back Matthew Byrne for his sixth try of the league season.

Scorers for Terenure College: Tries: Mark O’Neill, Matthew Byrne; Cons: James Thornton 2

Scorers for Cork Constitution: Tries: Penalty try, Gavin Duffy, Jason Higgins, Patrick Casey; Cons: Pen try con, Aidan Moynihan 3; Pens: Aidan Moynihan 2

TERENURE COLLEGE: Matthew Byrne; Erik Wijten, Adam Lagrue, Conor Kelly, Sam Coghlan Murray; James Thornton, Tim Schmidt; Tiarnan Creagh, Robbie Smyth, Jack Aungier, Michael Melia (capt), Matthew Caffrey, Adam Clarkin, Rory Murray, Eoin Joyce.

Replacements: Risteard Byrne, Conor McCormack, Kyle McCoy, Sam Dardis, Mark O’Neill.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Shane Daly; Liam O’Connell, Alex McHenry, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Aidan Moynihan, Jason Higgins; Gavin Duffy, Vincent O’Brien, Brian Scott, Conor Kindregan, Brian Hayes, Joe McSwiney, Kevin Sheahan, Luke Cahill.

Replacements: Patrick Casey, Brendan Quinlan Sean Duffy, Richard Cassidy, Sean French.


Lansdowne's players before the start of the game Lansdowne take to the field at Trinity College. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Promising young back rower Willie Fay picked up his second try in three games as Lansdowne overcame a spirited Dublin University side 17-6 in the final round of the All-Ireland League before the mid-season break.

The defending champions deserve an extra helping of turkey, ham and Christmas pudding after stringing together seven straight wins in response to two opening defeats in autumn. Lansdowne have passed every test since then, their latest success at College Park teed up by tries from former captain Ian Prendiville, Alan Bennie and Fay.

Buoyed by their win at Clontarf last week, Trinity gave it their all in pursuit of another big scalp. They tried to get the triumvirate of Michael Silvester, Jack Kelly and skipper Colm Hogan involved as much as possible, but it was a hard slog on the wet surface and the general play reflected the dull December sky.

The handling and kicking conditions were difficult, but a power surge from the Lansdowne pack earned prop Prendiville the chance to slide over for a 28th-minute try, which was incredibly his first league score. The students’ out-half James Fennelly replied with a well-struck penalty for a 5-3 half-time deficit, taking his haul for the season to 80 points.

Ian Prendarville scores a try Ian Prendarville scores for Lansdowne. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Fennelly doubled his tally to move Tony Smeeth’s youngsters in front, before Mike Ruddock’s substitutions worked a treat. Being able to bring on players of the calibre of Bennie and Harry Byrne was a huge plus for the second-placed visitors, who watched scrum half Bennie snipe over for a trademark score converted by Byrne.

The home side plugged away and were still very much in the hunt until Fay, an Under-20 player last season who has battled back from injury, gave the headquarters club a match-winning cushion late on. Their tactical nous and clinical edge proved the difference, but Trinity can be very happy with their lot, sitting fifth in the table with just four points to make up on Garryowen.

Scorers for Dublin University: Pens: James Fennelly 2

Scorers for Lansdowne: Tries: Ian Prendiville, Alan Bennie, Willie Fay; Con: Harry Byrne

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Michael Silvester; Liam Turner, Jack Kelly, James Hickey, Colm Hogan (capt); James Fennelly, Rowan Osborne; Donnacha Mescal, Dan Sheehan, Thomas Clarkson, Arthur Greene, Jack Dunne, Johnny McKeown, Max Kearney, Niall O’Riordan.

Replacements: Joe Horan, Dylan Doyle, Reuben Pim, Conor Lowndes, Philip Murphy.

LANSDOWNE: Eamonn Mills (capt); Mark O’Keeffe, Harry Brennan, Tom Roche, Peter Sullivan; Scott Deasy, Tim Murphy; Denis Coulson, Ronan Kelleher, Ian Prendiville, Oisin Dowling, Willie Earle, Jack O’Sullivan, Aaron Conneely, Willie Fay.

Replacements: James Rael, Greg McGrath, Tom Murphy, Alan Bennie, Harry Byrne.

UCC 12 GARRYOWEN 14, the Mardyke

Ben Healy Ben Healy kicked Garryowen to victory at the Mardyke. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Munster academy starlet Ben Healy booted Garryowen to a last-gasp 14-12 win over provincial rivals UCC in a game that saw the lead change five times in a nip-and-tuck second half.

The teenage out-half’s expert use of the wind saw him coolly curl over a last-minute penalty as the Light Blues staged another smash and grab raid, just eight days on from their late heroics in their Limerick derby victory over Shannon at Dooradoyle.

Conan Doyle’s men have ended the first half of the season with four wins on the bounce, climbing back into Division 1A’s top four in the process. It was a battle from start to finish at the Mardyke, with UCC back to full strength after resting some players at Lansdowne last week.

This was billed as a possible shootout between two of the league’s most promising young out-halves, UCC number 10 James Taylor and Munster ‘A’ representative Healy. The sides were evenly matched until Taylor kicked the Cork students ahead with a superb 23rd-minute penalty from the 10-metre line.

Garryowen left points behind them when a bout of scrum pressure, five metres out, led to UCC replacement prop Bryan O’Connor being sin-binned. A try remained frustratingly out of the visitors’ reach, though, as UCC defended stoutly and eventually cleared their lines following a Garryowen knock-on.

With a minute left before the interval, the wind caught a clearance kick from Garryowen full-back Dave McCarthy and one his team-mates was whistled up for offside, allowing Taylor to make it 6-0 to Brian Walsh’s charges heading into the second period. Back came Garryowen, notching some momentum-building scores in the third quarter.

Munster’s Sean O’Connor barged over for a 47th-minute try, which was swiftly followed by a Healy penalty to nudge the Limerick ahead at 8-6. Their former captain Neil Cronin, who is now part of the Munster squad, Andy Keating and Sean Rennison all came on as Garryowen looked to kick on and build a winning position.

UCC were having none of it, scrapping for a penalty on the 22 which Taylor fired over to see them lead by the minimum with 15 minutes remaining. Healy hit back with a 70th-minute drop goal before the students came agonisingly close to crossing the whitewash. Despite the best efforts of number 8 Ryan Murphy and John Hodnett, they were held up on two separate occasions.

The home crowd’s hopes were raised again on the 80-minute mark when Taylor dropped back into the pocket to slot over a drop goal that looked like being the decisive score of this absorbing round 9 tie. That was until Garryowen denied their hosts right at the death as Healy, who only made his league debut last month, took his handsome haul to 46 points in four rounds.

Scorers for UCC: Pens: James Taylor 3; Drop: James Taylor

Scorers for Garryowen: Try: Sean O’Connor; Pens: Ben Healy 2; Drop: Ben Healy
HT: UCC 6 Garryowen 0

UCC: Rob Hedderman; Matt Bowen, Cian Bohane, Peter Sylvester, Murray Linn; James Taylor, John Poland; Shane O’Hanlon, Travis Coomey, Rob O’Donovan, Cian Barry, Darragh Moloney, Daire Feeney (capt), John Hodnett, Ryan Murphy.

Replacements: Paidi McCarthy, Bryan O’Connor, Brian O’Mahony, Fergus Hennessy, Michael Clune.

GARRYOWEN: Dave McCarthy; Daniel Hurley, Matt More, Peadar Collins, Cian O’Shea; Ben Healy, Rob Guerin; Niall Horan, Liam Cronin, Ben Rowley, Kevin Seymour, Dean Moore (capt), Sean O’Connor, Darren Ryan, Tim Ferguson.

Replacements: Mike O’Donnell, Andy Keating, Alan Fitzgerald, Sean Rennison, Neil Cronin.

YOUNG MUNSTER 11 CLONTARF 17, Tom Clifford Park

Ben Reilly is congratulated by supporters at the end of the game Clontarf's Ben Reilly. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

A week on from making his Ireland Under-19 debut against Australia, Wexford youngster Brian Deeny scored his first All-Ireland League try as Clontarf got the better of Young Munster, winning 17-11 at a very windy Tom Clifford Park.

Deeny, who has also played underage Sevens rugby for Ireland, touched down in the third quarter and Clontarf played the worsening conditions very well, retaining possession to grind out a well-merited win which keeps them hot on the heels of Lansdowne and Division 1A leaders Cork Constitution.

Looking to bounce back from last week’s rare home defeat to Trinity, third-placed ‘Tarf owed the ball early on at Greenfields with Munsters losing two early lineouts. The visitors used the possession to work centre Conor Jennings over for a try in the corner which David Joyce impressively converted.

The Cookies played to their strengths and a well-worked forwards try in the eighth minute saw hooker Shane Fenton pull back five points. Lock Tom Goggin stood out for his work in contact, helping to set up a close range penalty which Shane Airey landed for an 8-7 lead at the end of the opening quarter.

Matt D’Arcy Matt D'Arcy of Clontarf. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

As the weather became increasingly wet and windy, the errors mounted from both sides but a scrum penalty allowed Joyce to boot the north Dubliners back in front for half-time – 10-8. Airey answered back but flanker Deeny used his long frame to reach over in the 58th minute with Joyce’s conversion widening the gap to 17-11.

Driving rain and a howling wind made it very difficult to build phases and pressure in the right areas of the pitch. Andy Wood’s men kept things tight, using their industrious forwards to hold onto the ball and consign Munsters to their sixth loss of the campaign. They head into the New Year four points above the bottom two.

Scorers for Young Munster: Try: Shane Fenton; Pens: Shane Airey 2

Scorers for Clontarf: Tries: Conor Jennings, Brian Deeny; Cons: David Joyce 2; Pen: David Joyce
HT: Young Munster 8 Clontarf 10

YOUNG MUNSTER: Alan Tynan; Ed O’Keeffe, Calvin Nash, Evan O’Gorman, Darragh O’Neill; Shane Airey, Jack Lyons; Conor Bartley, Shane Fenton, Keynan Knox, Tom Goggin, Alan Kennedy (capt), Conor Mitchell, Dan Walsh, John Foley.

Replacements: Mark O’Mara, Josh Wycherley, Diarmaid Dee, Conor Philips, Clayton Stewart.

CLONTARF: Conor Kelly; Rob McGrath, Conor Jennings, Matt D’Arcy, Michael Courtney; David Joyce, Angus Lloyd; Ivan Soroka, Declan Adamson, Vakh Abdaladze, Cormac Daly, Ben Reilly, Brian Deeny, Adrian D’Arcy, Michael Noone (capt).

Replacements: Paddy Finlay, Ruadhan Byron, Royce Burke-Flynn, Mark O’Sullivan, Michael Brown.

SHANNON 9 UCD 8, Thomond Park main pitch

Teenage out-half Jake Flannery kicked Shannon to a hard-fought 9-8 victory over UCD on Thomond Park’s main pitch this evening, as Tom Hayes’ young side put an end to a frustrating three-match losing run.

Flannery landed three second-half penalties in difficult kicking conditions as Shannon joined a group of three clubs on 21 points in mid-table, lying four points behind fourth-placed Garryowen whom they lost to last week in dramatic circumstances at Dooradoyle.

UCD full-back Conall Doherty opened the scoring in the eighth minute, breaking onto a clever kick over the defence to score in the corner. That proved to be the game’s only try, although Shannon immediately increased their threat with winger Nathan Randles going close from a charge-down with the ball unfortunately going dead.

Scrum pressure saw the hosts go for the corner but the lineout ball was dropped, allowing UCD to kick clear. Indeed, a number of blocked kicks and handling errors thwarted both sides’ progress during the remainder of the first half, leading to some stop-start passages of play and plenty of turnovers.

When play settled down again on the resumption, Shannon centre Robbie Deegan was prominent in the build-up to Flannery’s first penalty success six minutes in. It was a good response to their captain Jade Kriel’s sin-binning just a couple of minutes earlier.

UCD had their own yellow as they ended the match with 14 men, going 6-3 down in the 72nd minute after Flannery, kicking from the left wing, crisply right-footed a testing kick over from inside the 10-metre line. Shannon were caught offside outside their 22 and handed back those three points with Ian O’Kelly nailing his place-kick for 8-6.

Crucially, Shannon bounced back with some big moments in the dying minutes. Replacement Jack O’Donnell broke through midfield and a subsequent UCD lineout was stolen, the pressure yielding a right-sided penalty which Flannery successfully threaded through the posts. A knock-on gave College a last-gasp scrum opportunity but their own knock-on ensured Shannon could celebrate a much-needed triumph.

Scorers for Shannon: Pens: Jake Flannery 3

Scorers for UCD: Try: Conall Doherty; Pen: Ian O’Kelly
HT: Shannon 0 UCD 5

SHANNON: Aran Hehir; Nathan Randles, Pa Ryan, Robbie Deegan, Eathon Moloney; Jake Flannery, Craig Casey; Conor Glynn, Ty Chan, Tony Cusack, Sean Walsh, Jade Kriel (capt), Colm Heffernan, Charlie Carmody, Kelvin Brown.

Replacements: Adam Moloney, Sam Karlsen, Colin Deane, Jack Stafford, Jack O’Donnell.

UCD: Conall Doherty; Tim Carroll, Gavin Mullin, Stephen Murphy, Andy Marks; Ian O’Kelly, Nick Peters; Michael Milne, Bobby Sheehan, Liam Hyland, Tom Treacy, Emmet MacMahon, Alex Penny (capt), Ben Murray, Ronan Foley.

Replacements: Sean Molony, JP Phelan, Brian Cawley, Shane Murphy, James Tarrant.


BALLYNAHINCH 11 MALONE 7, Ballymacarn Park

Scorers for Ballynahinch: Try: Ross Adair; Pens: Johnny McPhillips 2

Scorers for Malone: Try: Penalty try; Con: Pen try con

BALLYNAHINCH: Peter Nelson; Iwan Hughes, Ross Adair, Robin Harte, Aaron Cairns (capt); Ryan Wilson, Rhys O’Donnell; Kyle McCall, Claytan Milligan, Tommy O’Hagan, John Donnan, Campbell Classon, Keith Dickson, Ollie Loughead, Conall Boomer.

Replacements: Conor Piper, Jonny Blair, Thomas Donnan, Johnny McPhilips, Connor Phillips.

MALONE: Rory Campbell; Ben McCaughey, Josh Pentland (capt), Neil Alcorn, David McMaster; Callum Smith, Shane Kelly; Peter Cooper, Adam McBurney, Ross Kane, Matthew Dalton, Jonathan Davis, Michael Shiels, Dave Cave, Joe Dunleavy.

Replacements: Dan Kerr, Ricky Greenwood, Josh Davidson, Connor Spence, Gareth Millar.


Scorers for Banbridge: Tries: Penalty try, Robert Lyttle; Cons: Pen try con, Adam Doherty

City of Armagh: Tries: Andrew Willis, Penalty try; Con: Pen try con; Pen: Ryan Purvis

BANBRIDGE: Adam Doherty; Conor Field, Andrew Morrison, James Hume, Robert Lyttle; Niall Armstrong, Jonny Stewart; Michael Cromie (capt), Peter Cromie, Stuart Cromie, Alex Thompson, Stevie Irvine, Caleb Montgomery, David McCann, Greg Jones.

Replacements: Corrie Barrett, Ross Haughey, Chris Allen, Jonny Little, John Porter.

CITY OF ARMAGH: Tim McNiece; Andrew Willis, Evin Crummie, Chris Colvin (capt), Ryan Purvis; Harry Boyd, Harry Doyle; Paul Mullan, Jonny Morton, Phillip Fletcher, Peter Starrett, Josh McKinley, James Hanna, Robbie Whitten, Neil Faloon.

Replacements: Andrew Smyth, Eoin O’Hagan, James Morton, Jonny Pollock, Shea O’Brien.


Scorers for Buccaneers: Tries: Shane Layden 2, Colm Reilly; Cons: Luke Carty, Colm Reilly; Pen: Luke Carty

Scorers for Ballymena: Tries: Penalty try, David Whann, Michael Stronge; Cons: Pen try con, Tim Small 2; Pens: Tim Small 2
HT: Buccaneers 8 Ballymena 7

BUCCANEERS: Callum Boland; Rory O’Connor, Shane Layden (capt), Michael Hanley, Darragh Corbett; Luke Carty, Colm Reilly; Martin Staunton, John Sutton, Niall Farrelly, Peter Claffey, Ruairi Byrne, Evan Galvin, Rory Moloney, Simon Meagher.

Replacements: Rory Grenham, Liam Winnett, Torin Rensford, Graham Lynch, Dean McMahon.

BALLYMENA: Rodger McBurney; Robert Baloucoune, Matthew Norris, Bruce Houston, Darrell Montgomery; Tim Small, Michael Strone; Nacho Cladera Crespo, Jonny Spence, Chris Cundell, David Whann, Connor Smyth, JJ McKee, Marcus Rea (capt), Clive Ross.

Replacements: Houston Bonnar, Andrew Ferguson, Mark Foster, Sam Millar, Jonny McMullan.

NAAS 8 OLD BELVEDERE 10, Forenaughts

Scorers for Naas: Try: Richard Fahy; Pen: Peter Hastie

Scorers for Old Belvedere: Try: Tom Molony; Con: Steve Crosbie; Pen: Steve Crosbie
HT: Naas 5 Old Belvedere 10

NAAS: Fionn Carr; Rory Cleary, Jordan Fitzpatrick, Johne Murphy, Ben O’Connor; Peter Hastie, Richard Fahy; Jordan Duggan, Graham Reynolds, Conor Doyle, Paul Monahan, David Benn, Ryan Casey, Will O’Brien, Paulie Tolofua (capt).

Replacements: Cathal Duff, Adam Coyle, Cillian Dempsey, Pierce Dargan, Max Whittingham.

OLD BELVEDERE: Daniel Riordan; Jack Keating, Tom Molony, Jamie McAleese, Peter Maher; Steve Crosbie (capt), Paraic Cagney; James Bollard, Ed Rossiter, Roman Salanoa, Jack Kelly, Eoin Sweeney, Eoin O’Neill, Martin Moloney, Tom de Jongh.

Replacements: John McKee, Adam Howard, Luke Crofts, Colin Mallon, Connor Owende, Gerard Hill.

OLD WESLEY 20 ST. MARY’S COLLEGE 9, Energia Park, Donnybrook

Scorers for Old Wesley: Tries: James O’Donovan, Paul Derham; Cons: Rory Stynes 2; Pens: Rory Stynes 2

Scorers for St. Mary’s College: Pens: Conor Dean 3

OLD WESLEY: Rory Stynes; Tommy O’Callaghan, James O’Donovan, David Poff, Paul Harte (capt); Tom Kiersey, Charlie O’Regan; Ciaran McHugh, Ben Burns, James Burton, JJ O’Dea, Iain McGann, Darren Horan, Josh Pim, Paul Derham.

Replacements: Andrew McCrann, Harry Noonan, Mark Rowley, Josh Miller, Conor Barry.

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE: Dave Fanagan; Hugo Conway, Myles Carey, Craig Kennedy, Ruairi Shields; Conor Dean, Paddy O’Driscoll; Tom O’Reilly, Richie Halpin, Michael McCormack, Hugo Diepman, Liam Corcoran, Nick McCarthy (capt), Ronan Watters, Mark Fallon.

Replacements: Stephen O’Brien, Padraig Dundon, Niall McEniff, Max Kennedy, Tim MacMahon.


Cashel 23 Navan 7, Spafield
Dolphin 13 Queen’s University 10, Irish Independent Park
Galwegians 20 Nenagh Ormond 12, Crowley Park
Highfield 66 Blackrock College 31, Irish Independent Park
Old Crescent 10 UL Bohemians 13, Rosbrien (played on Friday)


Sligo 24 Belfast Harlequins 14, Hamilton Park
Greystones 6 MU Barnhall 21, Dr. Hickey Park
Rainey Old Boys 29 Dungannon 0, Hatrick Park
Skerries 5 Sunday’s Well 0, Holmpatrick
Wanderers 14 Corinthians 8, Merrion Road


Bangor 13 Omagh 19, Upritchard Park
City of Derry 7 Ballina 26, Craig Thompson Stadium, Judge’s Road
Tullamore 7 Midleton 14, Spollanstown
Bruff 24 Thomond 7, Kilballyowen Park (played on Friday)
Seapoint 14 Malahide 32, Kilbogget Park (played on Friday)


Ashbourne 25 Clonmel 5, Milltown
Enniscorthy v Wicklow, Ross Road (match postponed due to unplayable pitch)

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