Terenure College top of league after sinking Dublin University
Ulster Bank League round-up: Cork Constitution begin title defence by beating Clontarf
Garryowen’s Neil Cronin in action during his side’s 7-13 loss to St Mary’s College. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho
Trinity’s dramatic 27-25 win over the same opponents at the end of last term saved their top-flight status, but Terenure exacted revenge on Saturday with unanswered tries from Leinster prop Oisin Heffernan, Michael Melia, Sam Coghlan Murray and Stephen O’Neill.
Cork Constitution launched their title defence with an impressive 30-18 bonus point dismissal of Clontarf in a repeat of last May’s final. Ireland Sevens squad member Shane Daly scored a second-minute opener at Temple Hill and provided the assist for Tomas Quinlan’s closing try in the 60th minute.
Buccaneers’s first game back in the top flight after a 10-year absence ended in a 19-10 defeat to Lansdowne, last season’s table toppers. Conor McKeon and Charlie Rock, a debutant for Lansdowne, both came off the bench to score tries at Dubarry Park, with the visitors’ outhalf Scott Deasy kicking 14 points from the tee.
St Mary’s College scored the only points of a tightly-contested second half to run out 13-7 winners over Garryowen at Templeville Road. Flanker Mark Fallon weighed in with a 46th-minute try and outhalf Sean Kearns added a subsequent penalty as Mary’s new head coach Peter Burke enjoyed a winning start.
Ireland Sevens stars Jimmy O’Brien and Harry McNulty bagged two of UCD’s five tries as the students signalled their intent for the season ahead with a brilliant 39-20 bonus point win at Young Munster. The 20-year-old O’Brien’s score was an early contender for the IRFU’s new Try of the Month award, while McNulty touched down during a devastating run of three tries in nine second-half minutes.
Meanwhile, Naas are the early pacesetters in Division 1B after young backs Fionn Higgins and Michael Skelton scored two tries apiece in their 30-20 away victory over Dolphin. Player-coaches Johne Murphy and Barry Keeshan kicked 10 points each for their respective sides, the legendary Dolphin outhalf moving his league points-scoring record to 1,618 points.
Eddie O’Sullivan chalked up the first league win of his tenure as Old Belvedere head coach as they began the long road back from relegation with an encouraging 13-6 success against Brian McLaughlin’s Ballynahinch. Outhalf Pat Hughes crossed in the 68th minute for the game’s only try.
It was a tale of two halves at Donnybrook where Ulster’s Callum Patterson (try) and Brett Herron (11 points) inspired Ballymena’s 21-18 comeback victory over hosts Old Wesley, while prop Tony Cusack’s 76th-minute try saw Shannon overcome UCC 20-16 in an entertaining Munster derby.
Newly-promoted Banbridge opened their win account at the first attempt in Division 1B, as winger Tom Caesar’s last-minute try saw them beat UL Bohemians 20-13 in Limerick. Former Ulster and Connacht scrumhalf Ian Porter captained Bann and led by example with a 15-point haul.