Monday 30 January 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Brian Little/INPHO Jacob Stockdale and Stuart Hogg in action.
# late and great
Dramatic late Timoney try keeps Ulster's Pro14 playoff hopes alive against Glasgow
Ulster earned a crucial late bonus point win on Saturday evening as Tommy Bowe bid farewell after his final game at Kingspan Stadium.

Ulster Rugby 36

Glasgow Warriors 15

Adam McKendry reports from Kingspan Stadium

NICK TIMONEY’S LAST minute try to hand Ulster a bonus point 36-15 win over Glasgow Warriors at Kingspan Stadium kept their faint Guinness PRO14 playoff hopes alive.

The flanker crossed with the last play of the game to hand the Ulstermen the five points they needed to ensure they stand a chance of reaching the top three, while at the same time guaranteeing at least a spot in the Champions Cup playoff.

Timoney scored twice in the win, with John Cooney and Sean Reidy also crossing for Jono Gibbes’ side, who now need another bonus point win next week away to Munster while also hoping the Warriors do them a favour by denying Edinburgh anything in their clash at Murrayfield.

The conditions in Belfast lent themselves to running rugby, and that’s what the fans were treated to early as both sides showed considerable enterprise, and it was the hosts who took the early lead as Cooney tapped over a fifth minute penalty.

Tommy Bowe with his wife Lucy Whitehouse and their daughter Emma after his final home game for Ulster Brian Little / INPHO Tommy Bowe with his wife Lucy and their daughter Emma after his final home game for Ulster. Brian Little / INPHO / INPHO

And it was they who got the game’s opening try as well, the Warriors overeager in their decision to take a quick lineout on their own five metre line, getting caught in their own goal area, and from the resulting scrum Cooney sniped over through the challenges of Finn Russell and Callum Gibbins.

The scrum half converted his own score, however the hosts had to deal with the loss of the recently influential Jean Deysel to injury on the quarter hour mark before Russell rewarded some Glasgow pressure with a 19th minute penalty.

That quickly led to a seven pointer for the visitors, Russell converting after captain Gibbins carried the ball over the line three minutes later, the flanker running the support line to Fraser Brown who shimmied through a couple of challenges to break the line.

The Scots were arguably a tad aggrieved when the TMO denied them a second score only four minutes after that, centre Alex Dunbar thundering over a challenge and stretching for the line, only for the TMO to determine he was mere millimetres short of the whitewash.

Sean Reidy scores a try Brian Little / INPHO Sean Reidy scores a try. Brian Little / INPHO / INPHO

Ulster were able to hold out the waves of Glasgow pressure, however, and they had a couple of chances at the other end to score a second try of their own as Cooney was beaten by the bounce of the ball and Luke Marshall was forced out five metres from the line.

They did lead at the interval though, Cooney’s boot reliable as ever and two more penalties had them six points to the good, but that would be the last act for the Dubliner who withdrew at the break having taken a knock.

It would be Glasgow who would strike first in the second half, Gibbins crossing for his and his side’s second score of the game off the back of a huge driving maul six minutes after the restart, however Russell could only watch as his conversion cannoned back off the uprights.

While that score suggested the Warriors were back in the hunt, Ulster quickly took control again and effectively put the tie to bed with two quick scores, the first of which was Timoney’s first of the evening as he was set over in the corner following good work from Stuart McCloskey and Jacob Stockdale.

Then came the third five minutes later, a similar score as Ulster began to find their fluency, passing with confidence and driving at the Glasgow line with intent, and it was Sean Reidy who managed to drive over the whitewash, spinning away from a tackle and thumping the ball over the whitewash.

Alex Allan scores a try Brian Little / INPHO Brian Little / INPHO / INPHO

That meant all that was left to wrap up was whether the fourth try was coming, and it looked like it should with the Warriors out on their feet at this point, but for some reason when faced with a penalty in Glasgow territory, McPhillips opted to kick it through the posts.

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It did take Ulster two scores ahead, but it left a worrying finish for the Irish province, who knew they had to get over once more if they wanted to take the playoff race to the final day. And fortunately, they found it with the last play.

The ball retention was good, the attacking was patient, and the finish eventually came. After the forwards did their job, the ball was flung out the backs and, although the last pass wasn’t clean, Timoney was there to scoop it up, cut inside and crash through a tackle to score.

Academy fly half Angus Curtis pushed his conversion wide, but at that stage nobody cared – the crowd showed their appreciation for retiring stars Tommy Bowe and Paul Marshall, and they can now start their preparations for a do or die clash with Munster next week.

Ulster scorers:
Tries: Cooney, Timoney (2), Reidy
Conversions: Cooney (1 for 1), McPhillips (1 for 2), Curtis (0 for 1)
Penalties: Cooney (3 for 3), McPhillips (1 for 1)
Glasgow Warriors scorers:
Tries: Gibbins (2)
Conversions: Russell (1 for 2)
Penalties: Russell (1 for 1)

ULSTER: 15. Charles Piutau, 14. Louis Ludik, 13. Luke Marshall (Tommy Bowe 69), 12. Stuart McCloskey, 11. Jacob Stockdale, 10. Johnny McPhillips (Angus Curtis 73), 9. John Cooney (Paul Marshall 40); 1. Andrew Warwick (Kyle McCall 54), 2. Rob Herring (Rory Best 62), 3. Ross Kane (Tom O’Toole 62), 4. Alan O’Connor (Robbie Diack 77), 5. Kieran Treadwell, 6. Nick Timoney, 7. Sean Reidy, 8. Jean Deysel (Clive Ross 16).

GLASGOW WARRIORS: 15. Stuart Hogg, 14. Tommy Seymour, 13. Huw Jones (Nick Grigg 31), 12. Alex Dunbar (Peter Horne 67), 11. Lelia Masaga, 10. Finn Russell, 9. Ali Price (Henry Pyrgos 62);1. Alex Allan (Ryan Grant 72), 2. Fraser Brown (George Turner 67), 3. Siua Halanukonuka (Zander Fagerson 40), 4. Tim Swinson (Greg Peterson 62), 5. Scott Cummings, 6. Rob Harley (Matt Smith 67), 7. Callum Gibbins, 8. Matt Fagerson.

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