Cork Con claim bonus-point win to stay clear at the top for Christmas
Mike Ruddock’s defending champions beat Dublin University at College Park
Lansdowne prop Ian Prendiville scored his first try in his 102nd appearance for the club in the All-Ireland League Division 1A match against Dublin University at College Park. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Second-half tries from Jason Higgins and replacement Patrick Casey steered Division 1A leaders Cork Constitution to a deserved 34-14 bonus-point win over bottom side Terenure College at Lakelands Park on Saturday.
The wintry weather conditions saw the game take place on Lakelands’ all-weather pitch, with Constitution recovering from Joe McSwiney’s early sin-binning to lead 20-7 at half-time. Two Aidan Moynihan penalties were supplemented by a Gavin Duffy try – via Niall Kenneally’s strong break – and a penalty try for a collapsed maul.
Terenure fullback Matthew Byrne’s sixth try of the season was only a late consolation score as Con had their bonus point secured by the 68th minute. Scrumhalf Higgins touched down off another lineout drive, and prop Casey rounded off a swift counter attack for his second try in as many games.
Brian Hickey’s men head into the Christmas break five points clear of defending champions Lansdowne, who ended 2018 with a well-judged 17-6 victory over Dublin University at College Park. Former captain Ian Prendiville’s long-awaited first league try in his 102nd appearance was the highlight.
Munster Academy starlet Ben Healy expertly used the wind to curl over a last-minute penalty as Garryowen edged out UCC 14-12 at the Mardyke, with James Taylor kicking all of the students’ points. Another prodigious young outhalf, Jake Flannery, did all the scoring in Shannon’s dogged 9-8 defeat of UCD, landing his third successful penalty two minutes from the end.
A week on from making his Ireland Under-19 debut, Wexford youngster Brian Deeny scored his first league try from the backrow as third-placed Clontarf overcame Young Munster 17-11 at Greenfields. Munsters head into the New Year just four points above the bottom two.
Meanwhile, only two points cover the top six sides in Division 1B with St Mary’s College still leading despite their 20-9 loss at Old Wesley. Number eight Paul Derham’s late try sealed the win for Wesley. City of Armagh joined Mary’s on 25 points after striking for a 78th-minute penalty try in a thrilling 15-14 triumph at Banbridge.
Ballynahinch climbed back into the top four after Ross Adair’s try on the stroke of half-time set up an 11-7 derby win over Malone. Scrumhalf Michael Stronge touched down for the second week running in Ballymena’s 27-22 success at Buccaneers, while Old Belvedere crowned prop Adam Howard’s 100th cap with a dogged 10-8 victory at Naas.