Young Munster edge out Cork Con to clinch fifth win in row
Cronin brothers give Garryowen win over UCD while Trinity rallies against Buccaneers
UCD’s Jamie Glynn is tackled by Garryowen’s Neil Cronin in Garryowen’s 17-0 triumph at Belfield. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
The 20-year-old Munster Academy pair bookended the second half with crucial scores and impressed in open play as Young Munster climbed into fifth place in the Division 1A table after their fifth successive victory. Cork Con, who had led 11-8 thanks to a Gerry Hurley try, have now lost their last four league meetings with Munster, but remain right in the play-off mix.
Thirteen points clear at the summit, Lansdowne are on the cusp of sealing a home semi-final, while five clubs, including the Munster trio of Young Munster, Con and Garryowen, are covered by just six points and locked in a furious scrap for second place and the two other play-off berths.
Garryowen’s well-drilled maul was the undoing of UCD at Belfield where they triumphed 17-0. Brothers Liam and Neil Cronin combined for 12 points, the former crossing for a try on the stroke of half-time and the latter kicking seven points. Ireland Under-20 hooker Diarmuid Barron came off the bench to touch down from a late second-half maul.
Lost their grip
Bottom side Buccaneers lost their grip on an early 14-point lead as Dublin University emerged as 21-17 winners of the basement battle at College Park. Alex McDonald and Sam Pim cancelled out tries from Cian Romaine and Conor McKeon, with Tommy Whittle’s two penalties after the break proving decisive for Trinity who have climbed out of the bottom two.
Meanwhile, talented young centre James Hume made a try-scoring debut for Banbridge in their terrific 29-14 bonus-point victory away to Division 1B leaders Ballynahinch. Captain Adam Ervine (2) and Nick Hayes also touched down for Bann. Coming back from a leg fracture, Hume has been added to the Ireland Under-20 Six Nations squad.
The title race in the second tier is certainly hotting up, with Bann and Shannon just a point behind ‘Hinch. Second-half tries from Paul Kiernan and John Poland guided fourth-placed UCC to a hard-fought 22-19 win at Old Wesley, while Connacht outhalf Steve Crosbie kicked 14 points, including all four conversions, in Old Belvedere’s 34-19 defeat of Dolphin.
Ballymena lifted themselves out of the bottom two with a confidence-boosting 26-8 success against Johne Murphy’s Naas. Clive Ross’s 72nd-minute try secured the bonus point after his young backrow colleague Azur Allison’s score, 23 minutes in, had started a run of 19 unanswered points for Ballymena.