going gets 'tarf

Classy Carbery guides 'Tarf to UBL victory over Cork Con

The Leinster academy out-half had a hand in everything the Dublin club did well at the Aviva Stadium.

Clontarf 28

Cork Constitution 25

Sean Farrell reports from Aviva Stadium

LEINSTER ACADEMY OUT-HALF Joey Carbery provided the spark that helped Clontarf blaze to victory in the Ulster Bank League final this afternoon.

The gifted 20-year-old was the key to breaking a stalemate after 30 minutes; he looked ready to shred the defence at will as Cork Con were hit with three tries in the last 10 minutes of the opening half.

The proud Cork club would battle back though, twice, with tries from Max Abbott, Rob Jermyn and ex-Cork senior hurler Darren Sweetnam turning the second half into a nail-biting shoot-out.

James Ryan and Ben Reilly lead their teams out past the Ulster Bank League Trophy Colm O'Neill / INPHO Colm O'Neill / INPHO / INPHO

In absolutely perfect conditions at the national stadium in Dublin 4, there was a considerable wait for any sunshine rugby to materialise. Instead, the first 30 minutes were dominated by the defensive units set up by Andy Wood and Brian Hickey, each side holding firm and withstanding concerted spells of pressure at either end of the echo-filled stadium.

It was ‘Tarf who grew into the game and began to control the territory. And the pressure they imposed in Cork Con’s final third paid off when a ball was ripped from a choke tackle. The Dublin club used the turnover expertly, Carbery feeding Matt D’Arcy on the killer line to the right corner.

Once Carbery nailed his first conversion from the right touchline, everything unravelled for the Cork Club. From the kick-off, the excellent playmaking centre D’Arcy found space on the right and counter-attacked with venom. His offload found replacement Michael Brown and the first man on his shoulder was the Leinster academy star. The 10 had the option of using the numbers in space to his left, but trusted his acceleration and burned off the last Con defender to cruise under the posts.

Joey Carbery goes over for a try Carbery dives for his try. Colm O'Neill / INPHO Colm O'Neill / INPHO / INPHO

Tomas Quinlan would hit a long-range penalty to put his club on the board, but it was to get worse for Con before half-time. A thrilling set of phases with quick rucking and quick hands ended in the right corner with Carbery giving his pass a beautiful half-second delay before inviting number eight Tony Ryan to crash in and give the north Dubliners a 21 – 3 advantage at the interval.

It looked to be a decisive lead. However, ‘Tarf entered this final with some demons to exorcise after coughing up a 17 – 8 lead to Lansdowne in last year’s decider. Max Abbott forced his way over the try-line to signal a Con comeback shortly after the break. Ryan picked up a yellow card from referee Andy Brace on the same phase and suddenly a Quinlan penalty made the deficit just 21 – 13.

A superb try conjured by thrilling passing between D’Arcy and Sam Cronin was finished off by Mick McGrath, but the Leesiders stormed back again. First, Robert Jermyn bounced off weak tackles to crash in on the left side. Mere minutes later, Robert McGrath was turned over just outside his 22, scrum-half Ryan Foley chipped over the top and the ball bounced perfectly for Sweetnam to touch down despite some overzealous attention from Mick McGrath.

From 18 points down, the mountain facing the Temple Hill club was down to just 28 – 25 win 20 long minutes left to play. But last year’s beaten finalists pinned their rivals in their own half and when Con did escape with two minutes remaining, it was Carbery who snuffed out their late roll of the dice with a superb take of a high ball hoisted into the sun.



Tries: M D’Arcy, J Carbery, T Ryan, M McGrath

Conversions: J Carbery (4/4)

Penalties: J Carbery (0/3)

Cork Con

Tries: M Abbott, R Jermyn, D Sweetnam

Conversions:: T Quinlan (2/3)

Penalties:  T Quinlan (2/3)


15. Evan Ryan
14. Michael Brown
13. Conor O’Brien
12. Matt D’Arcy
11. Mick McGrath
10. Joey Carbery
9. Sam Cronin

1. Ivan Soroka
2. Bryan Byrne
3. Ian Hirst
4. Tom Byrne
5. Ben Reilly (captain)
6. Michael Noone
7. Karl Moran
8. Tony Ryan


16. Aaron Dundon
17. Neil Reilly
18. Vakhtang Abdaladze
19. Peter du Toit
20. David Joyce
21. Rob McGrath
22. Eoghan Browne

Cork Constitution:

15. Darren Sweetnam
14. Aaron Spring
13. Shane Daly
12. Niall Kenneally
11. Rob Jermyn
10. Tomás Quinlan
9. Ryan Foley

1. Gavin Duffy
2. Max Abbott
3. Ger Sweeney
4. Brian Hayes
5. Conor Kindregan
6. Graeme Lawler
7. James Murphy
8. James Ryan (captain)


16. Rory Burke
17. Liam O’Connor
18. Cathal O’Flaherty
19. Sonny Dwyer
20. John Poland
21. Darragh Lyons
23. Liam O’Connell

Referee: Andy Brace [IRFU].

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