Clontarf defeat lets Old Belvedere back in

League leaders beaten by understrength UCD who ran in five tries at Belfield

 

Clontarf lead Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League by just a point following a shock 39-33 defeat by an understrength UCD in a rearranged match at Belfield on Saturday.

The defeat puts second placed Old Belvedere right back in the hunt with only two matches remaining. It had been anticipated that Clontarf would prove much too strong for a UCD side missing several top players because of their involvement with the Leinster A side against Munster A on Friday night.

Yet, the students produced an outstanding performance of running rugby to score five tries through Barry Daly, Shane O’Meara, Stephen Murphy, Niall Earls and James Murray.

It took a late fightback for Clontarf to secure what could prove to be a vital losing bonus point.

They had tries from Michael McGrath and replacement Cathal O’Flynn to add to an early effort from Tim McCoy. Importantly, outhalf David Joyce was in good goal kicking form, landing all three conversions and four penalties.

The situation now is that Clontarf will play Lansdowne away and Ballynahinch at home in their last two games. Old Belvedere will face Dolphin at home and Garryowen away in what promises to be an exciting and tense finish to the title race.

UCD’s surprise victory means they have moved up to third place in the table, ahead of Lansdowne who went down 38-18 to St Mary’s College in the other rearranged game on the back pitch at the Aviva Stadium.

It was a vital success for St Mary’s on the basis that they are now almost certainly clear of relegation trouble.

They crossed for six tries with scrumhalf Matthew D’Arcy getting two of them.

The others came from Ciaran Ruddock, Robbie Hudson, Marcus O’Driscoll and Colm McMahon. Lansdowne replied with tries from Willie Walsh, Peter Dooley and Tom Kiersey.