Division 1A’s leading trio pulling away from the chasing pack

Cork Constitution are new leaders after ending Clontarf’s six-match winning streak with a 16-13 victory

Clontarf’s Michael Courtney tackling Aidan Moynihan of Cork Constitution in their Division 1A clash at Castle Avenue, Dublin. Photograph:  Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Clontarf’s Michael Courtney tackling Aidan Moynihan of Cork Constitution in their Division 1A clash at Castle Avenue, Dublin. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

 

Division 1A’s leading trio of Cork Constitution, Clontarf and Lansdowne have opened up a gap on the rest of the chasing pack, with the defending champions Lansdowne in third, now seven points clear of fourth-placed Dublin University.

Cork Con are the new leaders after ending Clontarf’s six-match winning streak with a stirring 16-13 victory at Castle Avenue, Dublin. Trailing by 10 points, the boot of Aidan Moynihan kept them in contention, and replacement Joe McSwiney’s converted try drew them level before Moynihan landed a decisive injury-time penalty.

Workhorse flanker Aaron Conneely helped himself to a brace of tries as Lansdowne made it five wins on the trot with a 32-15 bonus point success against Shannon on Thomond Park’s back pitch. Ross Byrne’s younger brother Harry kicked 10 points for the visitors.

Ben Healy’s four penalties steered Garryowen to a 17-16 triumph over Terenure College. Fresh from scoring 22 points last week, the teenager’s right boot proved invaluable at Lakelands, with the Light Blues holding on as James Thornton narrowly missed a last-minute touchline conversion.

A late missed conversion denied UCD the win in an epic 11-try contest with Young Munster in Greenfields. Instead the students earned a share of the spoils with a 34-all draw having been 15 points down at one stage. UCD’s Ronan Foley notched his fourth try of the campaign, and Munster’s winger Darragh O’Neill his fifth.

Top flight

UCC recorded their first win in the top flight at the seventh time of asking, getting the better of Dublin University (28-14) in front of a large Mardyke crowd. Closing tries from James Taylor (71 minutes) and Matt Bowen (78) sealed the deal for UCC in what was their Colours match.

Meanwhile, only two points separate the top five sides in Division 1B, with Malone still at the summit despite losing 21-11 to Ulster rivals Banbridge, who had tries from Stevie Irvine (70 minutes) and Andrew Morrison (78).

A 27-16 win at Old Wesley has moved Ballynahinch back into the top four with Ulster’s Peter Nelson kicking 17 points.

Second-row Connor Smyth touched down twice to take his season’s tally to four as bottom side Ballymena claimed a much-needed 28-14 victory over Old Belvedere, while Buccaneers did likewise with an impressive 24-17 dismissal of Armagh. Former leaders Naas lost 23-8 at home to St Mary’s, whose maul delivered two of their three tries.

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