Chris Lilly’s late try snatches the spoils for St Mary’s

UCD undone by a late sucker punch from visitors at Belfield




Chris Lilly was the hero for St Mary’s College in Belfield last night as his 75th minute try gave the visitors a hard-earned triumph in a fiercely contested Friday Night Lights encounter with a much-fancied UCD outfit.

The hosts had displayed great attacking intent during the early exchanges, and after outhalf James Thornton had opened the scoring with an eighth-minute penalty, Sam Coghlan-Murray was on hand to cross over in the right corner for a converted try following excellent approach play by inside centre Stephen Murphy.

St Mary’s were struggling to exert pressure on their south Dublin rivals in the opening quarter, but they finally opened their account after 25 minutes when Gareth Austen drove over after right-wing Steve Toal-Lennon had opted to kick to touch on the left flank.

The dynamic No 14 was also on hand to comfortably secure the bonuses following this score, which meant that the St Mary’s deficit had been reduced to three (10-7) by the interval.

With momentum still on their side upon the resumption, Mary’s sensed that the points were there for the taking, and a brace of successful penalties by the dependable Toal-Lennon moved the visitors into the ascendancy for the very first time just past the hour mark.

UCD were finding it difficult to stem the Mary’s tide, but the 61st minute arrival of Niall Earls to the field of play was massively significant as his two terrific long-range penalties restored UCD’s lead as the final ten minutes of action approached.

With the play becoming extremely tight, it looked like UCD might hold out for their fifth league triumph of the season. However a supremely crafted five-pointer by Lilly five minutes from the end ultimately gave the 2012 champions a much-needed victory.

Scorers: UCD: S Coghlan-Murray try, N Earls 2 pens, J Thornton 1 pen, 1 con. St Mary’s College: G Austen, C Lilly try each, S Toal-Lennon 2 pens, 1 con.

UCD: A Boyle; S Coghlan-Murray, A Kelly, S Murphy, B Daly; J Thornton, J Glynn; K Moloney, R Byrne, L Hyland; B Cawley, E MacMahon; J Coghlan, E Joyce, P Timmins. Replacements: R Shanley for Glynn (22), A Clarkin for Byrne (30), R Harrison for Moloney (half-time), B Cawley for Murphy (61), N Earls for Thornton (61), Murphy for Daly (64).

ST MARY’S COLLEGE: C Hogan; S Toal-Lennon, R Hudson, M Sexton, C Lilly; P Brophy, M D’Arcy; C McMahon, D Fawsitt, B McGovern; D Frawley, C Ruddock; G Austen, B O’Flanagan, K Sheahan. Replacements: R O’Loughlin for Sexton (28-33 & 46), M Fallon for Sheahan (66), A Lyons for McGovern (66).

Referee: E Hogan-O’Connell (IRFU).