Ulster Bank League: Staunton’s accuracy helps Old Belvedere go top

Just four points now separate the top six sides in Division 1A

Old Belvedere have edged their way to the top of the ultra competitive Ulster Bank League Division 1A. Just four points separate the top six sides who can now draw breath during a two-week break in fixtures.

Benefiting from Lansdowne and Young Munster's away defeats, 'Belvo moved from third to first thanks to Willie Staunton shooting Terenure College down 18-15 with a six-penalty salvo on Friday night.

Munsters had Dan Goggin and Cian Bohane in their midfield against Dublin University on Saturday, but the students have a gem of their own in young centre Michael Courtney whose classy injury-time try secured a rousing 32-27 bonus point win at College Park.

Colm Hogan and Courtney both scored their third tries of the campaign as promoted Trinity climbed into second place, a point ahead of the Cookies and two ahead of Lansdowne who lost 31-13 at Cork Constitution.


Backrow Brian Hayes produced a man-of-the-match display as Cork Con cruised to their first victory in three games. Lansdowne lost Tom Daly, Peter Dooley and Max Deegan to Leinster 'A' duty and Con were comfortable winners, scoring three tries. Outhalf Tomas Quinlan kicked 16 points.

Rob Keogh's right boot came to Clontarf's rescue again as his injury-time drop goal edged them past Garryowen (16-14) at Castle Avenue. Matt D'Arcy and Munster's Alex Wootton scored two eye-catching tries from inside their own half.

Enviable run

Second-half tries from forwards Kevin Sheahan and Cathal O’Flaherty steered St Mary’s to a narrow 19-13 win against understrength UCD at Belfield.

Meanwhile, a late penalty from Rick McKenna maintained UL Bohemians’ enviable run at the top of Division 1B, as they claimed a hard-fought 27-23 success against Galwegians in Glenina.

Excellent number 8 Brian Walsh pocketed one of Bohs' three tries, a tally matched by improving 'Wegians who had influential Connacht prop Conan O'Donnell stretchered off in the second half. UL's talismanic scrum half Cathal Sheridan, who has re-signed for Munster in the short-term, also picked up an injury.

Centre James Beattie crossed for two tries as Ballymena came from behind to defeat Dolphin 24-16 at Eaton Park.

Connacht Academy prop Saba Meunargia made a try-scoring return from injury as Buccaneers ran out six-try 49-36 winners over UCC at Dubarry Park.

In another free-scoring contest at Donnybrook Old Wesley and Ballynahinch shared eight tries. Two closing penalties from Wesley winger Barry McLaughlin proved decisive in a 35-32 victory. Shannon remain bottom of the table after tumbling to a 14-10 home defeat at the hands of Naas.