DDSL U17 Premier One: Crumlin United V Marks Celtic – The Tallaght Echo – October 17 2019

Crumlin United U17s make their Mark in Premier One

CRUMLIN UTD………4

MARKS CELTIC………1

By Daire Walsh

Crumlin United bolstered their DDSL Under 17 Premier One prospects with a convincing triumph over Marks Celtic at Pearse Park last Sunday.

Courtesy of close-range finishes from Robert Dragusin and Ollie Kendrick, the hosts found themselves in a commanding position at the break. Joey Reynolds and centre-half Brandon Carey added goals in the second half to ensure that Crumlin comfortably secured the three points on offer.

Marks did manage to fire back through the industrious Cian Stokes and they also finished with an extra man following the dismissal of United substitute Jack Warren for a second yellow-card offence. However, the Springfield men were left with an uphill task and ultimately came off second best to their southside rivals.

Seeking to bounce back from a recent away defeat to Phoenix FC, Crumlin enjoyed a bright start to the action. Deployed in a 3-5-2 formation, they utilised the energy and industry of Kendrick and Madjid Musodi in the wide areas.

Imposing centre-half Adam Kelly had an early header cleared off the line, before Crumlin eventually broke the deadlock on 14 minutes. Reacting fastest to Greg Kavanagh’s corner on the left-wing, Dragusin side-footed to the Marks’ net in clinical style.

This was the perfect tonic for United, who were hoping to extend their unbeaten home league record to three games. Despite their best endeavours around the middle-third, Marks fell further adrift just shy of the half-hour mark.

Ben Wolfe’s long-distance piledriver rattled the underside of the crossbar, but Kendrick was ideally-placed to head home the rebound. Although Marks displayed a great deal of fight as the play progressed, it proved to be a quiet opening period for Crumlin netminder Evan Meehan.

On the stroke of half-time, Ola Alavupe turned away a powerful Josh Devereux strike to keep Marks within touching distance. Yet, the final outcome was effectively placed beyond doubt five minutes after the resumption.

A long ball over the top released centre-forward Reynolds and he made no mistake with a smooth finish to the bottom right-hand corner. The Marks back-four were struggling to contain a rampant Crumlin attack and a fourth goal arrived for the home team on 54 minutes.

Zach Donoghue’s fierce free-kick was parried into the path of Carey, who added his name to the scoresheet in consummate fashion. It was turning into a damage limitation exercise for Mark’s, though they displayed admirable perseverance for the remainder of the contest.

With Crumlin making a host changes to their team – as Marks had done before the break – they looked to capitalise on an element of uncertainty in the opposition half. Stokes was picked out down the left and he fired past Meehan at a tight angle.

While a stirring comeback was always unlikely, Warren’s somewhat unfortunate sending-off presented them with an opportunity to eat further into their deficit. Nevertheless, with Cian Mahon making an impressive impact off the bench, Crumlin eased their way over the line and up to fourth place in the table.

Posted in Underage Soccer | Comments Off on DDSL U17 Premier One: Crumlin United V Marks Celtic – The Tallaght Echo – October 17 2019

Dublin Schools Junior ‘A’ Hurling Championship Round-Up: The Evening Herald – October 17 2019

DUBLIN JHC ‘A’

Eoin advance to ‘A’ final

Daire Walsh

COLAISTE Eoin booked their spot in the Dublin Schools Junior ‘A’ Hurling Championship final with a convincing 5-24 to 2-4 victory over Colaiste Eanna at UCD on Tuesday.

Winners at this grade as recently as 2017, the Gaelscoil will be aiming to regain their title in the coming weeks. On the opposite side of the draw, defending champions Ardscoil Ris and St Benildus College are set to face off for the right to play Eoin in the forthcoming showpiece.

Ardscoil comfortably advanced to the knockout rounds with an emphatic triumph against St Aidan’s CBS last Friday – Ciaran Lambert, Daniel Peel and Ciaran Stacey amongst the goals in Whitehall.

Posted in Schools GAA | Comments Off on Dublin Schools Junior ‘A’ Hurling Championship Round-Up: The Evening Herald – October 17 2019

Dublin Intermediate Hurling Championship Final: Round Tower Clondalkin V Clontarf – The Evening Herald – October 15 2019

STAPLETON THE TOWERS HERO

Paid seals the deal for Clondalkin with stoppage-time winner over Clontarf in close-fought battle

DUBLIN IHC FINAL

ROUND TOWER CLONDALKIN 0-13

CLONTARF 1-9

Daire Walsh

PAIDI STAPLETON struck a dramatic stoppage-time point at Parnell Park last Wednesday to guide Round Tower Clondalkin towards a nail-biting success over Clontarf in the Dublin Intermediate Hurling Championship decider.

Leading 0-9 to 0-5 in the 42nd-minute, Tarf looked set to come out on top of a generally scrappy affair. However, Joey Murray’s superb penalty save from Ronan McDyer sparked Towers into the life during the final quarter.

They subsequently suffered a fresh set-back courtesy of Tom O’Flaherty’s speculative goal, but a late flourish ultimately propelled Feargal McDonagh’s charges over the line. Despite playing with the aid of a strong breeze in the first half, it took a while for the Tarf challenge to really kick into gear.

Following an initial impasse, McDyer broke the deadlock with an expertly-struck pointed free on the halfway line. Liam O’Connor quickly restored parity for Towers, but both sides proved to be wasteful in front of goal during the early exchanges.

Nevertheless, McDyer’s dead-ball accuracy ensured Tarf created some daylight between the teams. Their first score from play eventually arrived on 18 minutes – Brian Forde splitting the posts at the end of a prolonged move.

Much to the relief of Towers, their northside counterparts registered 10 wides throughout the course of the opening period. Though it was largely intermittent, they also developed some encouraging passages of play.

Courtesy of John Mullins and Steven Russell efforts, they stretchered their lead to five points. Mullins later released Niall Enright on goal, but Murray was off his line to avert danger.

McDyer’s fourth of the half was in direct response to Eric Finn’s maiden score of the night. Although they struggled to catch fire, a long-distance O’Connor free kept Towers within touching distance at the break. While a 0-7 to 0-3 cushion was a welcome one for Tarf, a significant backlash was anticipated after the resumption.

Named on the edge of the far square, Dublin senior panellist Paddy Smyth switched to full-back for Tarf upon throw-in. He was a commanding presence for the St Anne’s Park men, but fouled opposite number Stapleton for a free that O’Connor converted.

Unperturbed by the concession of this score, McDyer pointed either side of an O’Connor ’65’ to keep Tarf in the driving seat. Another Finn single kept the Towers dream alive, though their chances of success appeared to diminish when referee Mark Ryan awarded Tarf a 47th-minute penalty.

As the go-to man for the majority of his side’s set plays, McDyer was the ideal choice for this 21-metre effort. Yet, Murray was more than equal to his strike – offering Towers the perfect tonic for the remainder of the action.

An O’Connor brace edged them a step closer in the dying moments, when the pressure on the ‘Tarf rearguard ramped up a considerable degree. Quick thinking from Murray saw Jack Whelan receiving the ball in space on the left-wing for an equalising point.

With momentum behind them, a resurgent Towers edged in front for the first time on 56 minutes. O’Connor’s only point from open play looked set to be a crucial one, until Tarf regained the initiative in fortuitous circumstances.

Deputising for the absent McDyer, O’Flaherty stepped forward to negotiate a tricky free into the wind. The inside forward fell short in his search for a white flag, but it slipped through Murray’s fingers at the final second and into the back of the net.

Rather than being left deflated by this hammer blow, Towers fired back in clinical style. After the reliable duo of O’Connor and Finn levelled matters, Stapleton brilliantly dissected the posts four minutes into time added on.

O’Flaherty had a late opportunity to rescue the game for Tarf, but he couldn’t find the distance off his free and Kevin Byrne pulled a shot wide at an acute angle. There was pure elation on the final whistle and Towers will now face Senior ‘B’ champions Scoil Ui Chonaill next Sunday for the right to represent Dublin in the Leinster IHC.

MATCH FILE

Scorers – Round Tower Clondalkin: L O’Connor 0-8 (6f, 1 ’65′), E Finn 0-3, J Whelan, P Stapleton 0-1 each. Clontarf: R McDyer 0-6 (5f), T O’Flaherty 1-0 (f), J Mullins, B Forde, S Russell 0-1 each.

ROUND TOWER CLONDALKIN: J Murray; E Fitzgerald, G Quinlivan, E Young; A Darby, A Doyle, P McGeever; L O’Connor, A O’Neill; E Finn, E Walsh, J Whelan; P Stapleton, E Moran, B Finn.

Subs: C O’Brien for Walsh (39), L Currivan for Fitzgerald (43), B Keogh for B Finn (50).

CLONTARF: D Patton; K Mangan, P Smyth, A Casey; C McGinn, J Walls, K Byrne; J Mullins, F Maher; B Forde, S Russell, F Maher; R McDyer, N Enright, T O’Flaherty.

Subs: M Higgins for Forde (55), J Higgins for McDyer (56).

MENTORS – Round Tower Clondalkin: Feargal McDonagh, Donal Franks, Sam Walsh, Paul Curran, Ger Kesie. Clontarf: Dave Kane, Mick Kelly, Denis McDaid, Gay Byrne, John Russell.

Referee: Mark Ryan (St Patrick’s, Palmerstown).

WIDES – Round Tower Clondalkin: 9 (3+6). Clontarf: 11 (10+1).

CONDITIONS: Dry overall but also quite breezy.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Eric Finn (Round Tower Clondalkin).

Posted in Hurling | Comments Off on Dublin Intermediate Hurling Championship Final: Round Tower Clondalkin V Clontarf – The Evening Herald – October 15 2019

Celtic Cup Final: Leinster ‘A’ V Ulster ‘A’ – Leinsterrugby.ie – October 13 2019

MATCH REPORT: LEINSTER ‘A’ 31 ULSTER ‘A’ 10

Match Report: Leinster ‘A’ 31 Ulster ‘A’ 10

Leinster ‘A’ sealed back-to-back Celtic Cup titles with a convincing 31-10 triumph at the expense of Ulster ‘A’ at Energia Park this afternoon.

Despite coming under intense pressure in the early stages, Noel McNamara’s youngsters gradually got on top. Oisin Dowling and Dan Sheehan crossed before Rob Russell and replacement Paddy Patterson added further second half tries.

Having claimed the inaugural Celtic Cup with a gutsy 15-8 win over the Scarlets in Llanelli last year, Leinster ‘A’ were hoping to retain the title on home soil.

Their comprehensive 43-14 win over Connacht Eagles last time out was their 14th in succession at this level, and with senior head coach Leo Cullen watching on, they were hoping to extend this excellent run.

With 15 provincial caps to his name, scrum half Hugh O’Sullivan was the most experienced Leinster player on show. He was backed up by Gavin Mullin, Jack Dunne and Dowling, while replacements Michael Milne, Ryan Baird, Patterson and Harry Byrne have also featured for the first team.

Eager to make amends for their most recent performance in Donnybrook – a heavy 55-24 defeat in round four – Ulster ‘A’ denied space to their provincial rivals during the opening minutes.

A series of ferocious tackles frustrated Leinster ‘A’ until out-half Conor Kelly offered them an attacking platform with a superb kick to touch from a long-distance penalty. The hosts were penalised for obstruction at the resulting lineout maul.

The deadlock was broken in the 12th minute when Ulster ‘A’ full-back Ethan McIlroy broke out of defence and released winger Graham Curtis for a smooth score in the left corner. Bruce Houston converted in fine style from the touchline.

Leinster ‘A’ full-back Rob Russell responded with a routine penalty in front of the posts, only for the dependable Houston to cancel that strike out, from the right, at the start of the second quarter.

McNamara’s charges restored parity at 10-all just shy of the half hour mark. A series of five-metre drives edged them towards the Ulster ‘A’ whitewash and Dowling finally broke their resistance with an impressive finish.

Russell levelled with the conversion, and after he hit the post with a 39th minute penalty, the Leinster ‘A’ got it right just on the stroke of half-time. Hooker Dan Sheehan touched down from a well-executed maul. Russell’s kick made it 17-10 at the break.

The holders continued to control the tempo on the restart and they pushed on thanks to a superb individual try from Russell after a gap had opened up on the left side of the Ulster ‘A’ defence.

Byrne, Milne and Baird had been introduced for Kelly, Charlie Ward and captain Charlie Ryan respectively, and out-half Byrne made no mistake with a terrific conversion.

Ulster ‘A’ stepped up their game either side of the hour mark and the pressure led to a 61st-minute yellow card for Dowling. He was soon joined in the sin-bin by tighthead Tom Clarkson, and Leinster ‘A’ soon had to introduce Roman Salanoa for winger Liam Turner.

Just when Ulster ‘A’ looked primed to score their second try, the hosts’ rejigged line-up dug deep to secure a turnover penalty. Following Dowling’s return, Leinster ‘A’ got to grips with the challenge with the finish line in sight.

Back to their full complement on the 80-minute mark, they extended their lead thanks to a clinical Patterson score. Byrne supplied the extras to bring the curtain down on another Celtic Cup success for Leinster ‘A’.

REFEREE: Robert O’Sullivan (IRFU).

MATCH SUMMARY

TRIES: Oisin Dowling, Dan Sheehan, Rob Russell, Paddy Patterson; CONS: Rob Russell 2, Harry Byrne 2; PEN: Rob Russell
TRY: Graham Curtis; CON: Bruce Houston: PEN: Bruce Houston

LINEUPS

Rob Russell; Liam Turner, Gavin Mullin, Tommy O’Brien, Andrew Smith; Conor Kelly, Hugh O’Sullivan; Charlie Ward, Dan Sheehan, Tom Clarkson, Charlie Ryan CAPTAIN, Jack Dunne, Oisin Dowling, Ronan Watters, Ronan Foley. REPLACEMENTS USED: Michael Milne for Ward, Ryan Baird for Ryan, Harry Byrne for Kelly (all 50 mins), Roman Salanoa for Turner (68), Paddy Patterson for O’Sullivan, Brian Deeny for Foley (both 70), Turner for Clarkson (80), Josh O’Connor for Mullin (80+1), Bobby Sheehan for D Sheehan (80+3).
Ethan McIlroy; Angus Kernohan, Ross Adair, Hayden Hyde, Graham Curtis; Bruce Houston, Nathan Doak; Callum Reid, Zack McCall, Andrew Warwick, David O’Connor, Jack Regan, Joe Dunleavy, David McCann, Marcus Rea. REPLACEMENTS USED: Sean Kearns for Curtis (47 mins), Luke Pollock for Hyde (65), Jonny Stewart for Houston (70), Peter Cooper for Reid, Tommy O’Hagan for Warwick, Matthew Agnew for Dunleavy (all 74), Tom Stewart for McCall (77).
Posted in European Rugby, Interprovincial Rugby | Comments Off on Celtic Cup Final: Leinster ‘A’ V Ulster ‘A’ – Leinsterrugby.ie – October 13 2019

Celtic Cup Final: Leinster ‘A’ V Ulster ‘A’ – Irishrugby.ie – October 13 2019

SUNDAY 13 OCTOBER 2019
ROUND 8
ENERGIA PARK, DONNYBROOK
CELTIC CUP
REF: ROBERT O’SULLIVAN
LEINSTER A

31 – 10

HT: 17 – 10

ULSTER A

Leinster ‘A’ Overcome Ulster ‘A’ Challenge To Retain Celtic Cup

Leinster ‘A’ sealed back-to-back Celtic Cup titles with a convincing 31-10 triumph at the expense of Ulster ‘A’ at Energia Park this afternoon.

Despite coming under intense early pressure, the defending champions gradually found a way past their provincial rivals. Oisin Dowling and Dan Sheehan crossed over before Rob Russell and replacement Paddy Patterson contributed additional tries in the second half.

Having claimed the inaugural Celtic Cup with a gutsy 15-8 win over the Scarlets in Llanelli last year, Leinster ‘A’ were seeking to retain their crown on home soil.

Their recent 43-14 victory over Connacht at the Sportsground was their 14th in succession at this level, and with senior head coach Leo Cullen watching on, they were hoping to extend this excellent run.

With 15 provincial caps, scrum-half Hugh O’Sullivan was the most experienced Leinster player on show. He was backed up by Gavin Mullin, Jack Dunne and Dowling, while replacements Michael Milne, Ryan Baird, Patterson and Harry Byrne have also featured for the first team.

Despite suffering a heavy 55-24 defeat to Leinster ‘A’ in round four, impressive form either side of that contest helped Ulster ‘A’ to reach their first Celtic Cup final. Including amongst their team were a number of players with underage international experience.

Winger Angus Kernohan was a key member of the Ireland Under-20 squad for their Grand Slam success earlier this year. He has also made 18 appearances at senior level for Ulster, scoring two tries in the process.

Offering considerable power to the Ulster ‘A’ second row were the imposing figures of David O’Connor and Jack Regan, former products of the Leinster Academy.

A series of ferocious tackles frustrated Leinster ‘A’ until out-half Conor Kelly offered them an attacking platform with a superb kick to touch from a long-range penalty. The hosts were penalised for obstruction at the resulting lineout maul.

The deadlock was broken in the 12th minute when Ulster ‘A’ full-back Ethan McIlroy broke out of defence and released winger Graham Curtis for a smooth score in the left corner. Bruce Houston converted in fine style from the touchline.

Leinster ‘A’ full-back Russell responded with a routine penalty in front of the posts, only for the dependable Houston to cancel that strike out, from the right, at the start of the second quarter.

Noel McNamara’s charges restored parity at 10-all just shy of the half hour mark. A series of five-metre drives edged them towards the Ulster ‘A’ whitewash and Dowling finally broke their resistance with an impressive finish.

Russell levelled with the conversion, and after he hit the post with a 39th minute penalty, the Leinster ‘A’ got it right just on the stroke of half-time. Hooker Dan Sheehan touched down from a well-executed maul. Russell’s kick made it 17-10 at the break.

The holders continued to control the tempo on the restart and they pushed on thanks to a superb individual try from Russell after a gap had opened up on the left side of the Ulster ‘A’ defence.

Byrne, Milne and Baird had been introduced for Kelly, Charlie Ward and captain Charlie Ryan respectively, and out-half Byrne made no mistake with a terrific conversion.

Ulster ‘A’ stepped up their game either side of the hour mark and the pressure led to a 61st-minute yellow card for Dowling. He was soon joined in the sin-bin by tighthead Tom Clarkson, and Leinster ‘A’ soon had to introduce Roman Salanoa for winger Liam Turner.

Just when Ulster ‘A’ looked primed to score their second try, the hosts’ rejigged line-up dug deep to secure a turnover penalty. Following Dowling’s return, Leinster ‘A’ got to grips with the challenge with the finish line in sight.

Back to their full complement on the 80-minute mark, they extended their lead thanks to a clinical Patterson score. Byrne supplied the extras to bring the curtain down on another Celtic Cup success for Leinster ‘A’.

Referee: Robert O’Sullivan (IRFU).

Match Lineups

Home Team

Rob Russell; Liam Turner, Gavin Mullin, Tommy O’Brien, Andrew Smith; Conor Kelly, Hugh O’Sullivan; Charlie Ward, Dan Sheehan, Tom Clarkson, Charlie Ryan (capt), Jack Dunne, Oisin Dowling, Ronan Watters, Ronan Foley. Replacements used: Michael Milne for Ward, Ryan Baird for Ryan, Harry Byrne for Kelly (all 50 mins), Roman Salanoa for Turner (68), Paddy Patterson for O’Sullivan, Brian Deeny for Foley (both 70), Turner for Clarkson (80), Josh O’Connor for Mullin (81), Bobby Sheehan for D Sheehan (83).

Away Team

Ethan McIlroy; Angus Kernohan, Ross Adair, Hayden Hyde, Graham Curtis; Bruce Houston, Nathan Doak; Callum Reid, Zack McCall, Andrew Warwick, David O’Connor, Jack Regan, Joe Dunleavy, David McCann (capt), Marcus Rea. Replacements used: Sean Kearns for Curtis (47 mins), Luke Pollock for Hyde (65), Jonny Stewart for Houston (70), Peter Cooper for Reid, Tommy O’Hagan for Warwick, Matthew Agnew for Dunleavy (all 74), Tom Stewart for McCall (77).

Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Oisin Dowling, Dan Sheehan, Rob Russell, Paddy Patterson; Cons: Rob Russell 2, Harry Byrne 2; Pens: Rob Russell

Away Team

Try: Graham Curtis; Con: Bruce Houston; Pen: Bruce Houston

 

Posted in European Rugby, Interprovincial Rugby | Comments Off on Celtic Cup Final: Leinster ‘A’ V Ulster ‘A’ – Irishrugby.ie – October 13 2019

All-Ireland League Division 1A: Terenure College V Young Munster – Irishrugby.ie – October 12 2019

Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A: Round 2 Review

TERENURE COLLEGE 30 YOUNG MUNSTER 23, Lakelands Park
Scorers: Terenure College: Tries: Robbie Deegan, Tim Schmidt, Jamie Glynn, Sam Dardis; Cons: Mark O’Neill 2; Pens: Mark O’Neill 2
Young Munster: Tries: Jordan Stewart, Alan Kennedy; Cons: Evan Cusack 2; Pens: Evan Cusack 2, Charlie O’Doherty
HT: Terenure College 22 Young Munster 7

Joe Schmidt’s 23-year-old son Tim got among the tries as Terenure College withstood a spirited second half performance from Young Munster to secure a 30-23 bonus point win in a compelling Division 1A clash.

Continuing where they left off against newly-promoted Ballynahinch last week, Terenure had scores from Robbie Deegan, Schmidt, Jamie Glynn and replacement Sam Dardis. A late Charlie O’Doherty penalty saw Munsters emerge with a losing bonus point for the second game running.

‘Nure broke the deadlock in the fourth minute when centre Deegan cut through in fine style from the right flank. Schmidt, who has been deployed as a full-back of late, sidestepped his way over in the 17th minute, making it 12-0.

Out-half Mark O’Neill extended the lead with a penalty during the second quarter, and the Cookies fell further adrift near the half hour mark. The hosts worked the ball towards the right wing again where scrum half Glynn bagged the third try of the game.

The introduction of Paul Allen and his robust approach helped to galvanise Young Munster’s challenge. They pressed from a series of five-metre scrums close to the posts, leading to the sin-binning of Terenure tighthead Liam Hyland.

The visitors’ persistence finally paid off when number 8 Jordan Stewart peeled off the back of a scrum for a converted score. The gap was down to 22-7 at half-time, and with Munsters increasing the tempo on the restart, an Evan Cusack penalty made it a 12-point contest.

An O’Neill close-range kick cancelled that out, but a ‘Nure clearance was charged down straight into the arms of Munsters captain Alan Kennedy who sprinted over for a clinically-taken try. Cusack’s conversion reduced the arrears to eight points with half-an-hour remaining.

The Limerick men bombarded the ‘Nure line with a succession of driving mauls, the hosts holding firm until second row Mike Murphy was sin-binned. Cusack landed a 71st-minute penalty to set up a grandstand finish.

To Terenure’s credit, they wrestled back control with replacement Dardis touching down in the left corner. James Thornton’s missed conversion left the door open for Munsters to take a point back home, though, with scrum half O’Doherty knocking over a cracking penalty from the 10-metre line.

TERENURE COLLEGE: Tim Schmidt; Matthew Byrne, Robbie Deegan, Stephen O’Neill, Jake Swaine; Mark O’Neill, Jamie Glynn; Campbell Classen, Robbie Smyth, Liam Hyland, Mike Murphy, Michael Melia, Niall O’Sullivan, Paddy Thornton (capt), Eoin Joyce.

Replacements: Dewald Bernard, Tiernan Creagh, Niall Lalor, James Thornton, Sam Dardis.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Jason Kiely; Derek Corcoran, Harry Fleming, Luke Fitzgerald, Nicky Irwin; Evan Cusack, Charlie O’Doherty; Eoin O’Neill, Mark O’Mara, Conor Bartley, Alan Kennedy (capt), John Foley, Fintan Coleman, Darren Ryan, Jordan Stewart.

Replacements: Ger Slattery, Paul Allen, Mike Madden, Evan O’Gorman, Keelan Stephenson.

Posted in Senior Club Rugby | Comments Off on All-Ireland League Division 1A: Terenure College V Young Munster – Irishrugby.ie – October 12 2019

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: Shamrock Rovers V Finn Harps – The Irish Independent – October 12 2019

Greg Bolger cracker breaks down sturdy Finn Harps resolve in Tallaght

Shamrock Rovers 1 Finn Harps 0

Greg Bolger’s stunning 79th-minute finish helped Shamrock Rovers to squeeze past the challenge of Finn Harps at Tallaght Stadium.

Ollie Horgan’s visitors looked set for their third consecutive scoreless draw until Bolger finally broke their resistance in the final-quarter of a scrappy Premier Division affair. However, given they are six points clear of basement side UCD with a vastly-superior goal difference, the Donegal men are virtually guaranteed of a spot in a forthcoming relegation/promotion play-off.

Harps striker Nathan Boyle was close to finding a breakthrough early on, but Hoops netminder Alan Mannus comfortably turned away his strike.

Rovers were the stronger team thereafter. Ronan Finn delivered an enticing cross into the area on 23 minutes and Aaron Greene was inches away from making a connection. Despite the growing influence of Graham Burke and Brandon Kavanagh in the Hoops’ attack, they remained deadlocked at the break.

Harps’ rigid 5-3-2 formation made life difficult for Stephen Bradley’s men, for whom teenager Neil Farrugia was making his debut on the left-flank.

Mark McGinley came to Harps’ aid in the 57th-minute when he tipped Finn’s effort at an acute angle onto the post. He later produced an outstanding double save from Dylan Watts and Burke, but from the ensuing corner, midfielder Bolger unleashed an unstoppable left-footed strike into the roof of the net.

SHAMROCK ROVERS – Mannus; S Kavanagh, Grace, Lafferty; Finn, B Kavanagh (McEneff 72), Bolger, Watts, Farrugia (Abulu 76); Burke, Greene (Cummins 85).

FINN HARPS – McGinley; Deasy, Ascroft, Smith, Todd, Russell; R Harkin (Doherty 80), G Harkin, Timlin (O’Reilly 69); Boyle (Place 85), McNamee.

REF – D Tomney (Dublin).

Posted in League Of Ireland | Comments Off on SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: Shamrock Rovers V Finn Harps – The Irish Independent – October 12 2019

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: Shamrock Rovers V Finn Harps – The Irish Times – October 12 2019

Shamrock Rovers 1 Finn Harps 0

Greg Bolger’s stunning 79th-minute finish helped Shamrock Rovers to squeeze past the challenge of Finn Harps at Tallaght Stadium.

Harps striker Nathan Boyle was close to finding a breakthrough early on, but Hoops netminder Alan Mannus comfortably turned away his eventual strike at a tight angle.

Harps’ rigid 5-3-2 formation made life difficult for Stephen Bradley’s men, for whom teenager Neil Farrugia was making his debut on the left flank.

However, the dependable Mark McGinley came to Harps’ aid in the 57th-minute when he tipped Ronan Finn’s effort at an acute angle onto the post. He later produced an outstanding double save from Dylan Watts and Graham Burke, before Bolger fired to the roof of the net off the ensuing corner.

This was enough to give Rovers their 21st league win of the campaign and with Cork City getting the better of UCD on Leeside, Harps appear destined for a promotion/relegation playoff.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Mannus; S Kavanagh, Grace, Lafferty; Finn, B Kavanagh (McEneff, 72 mins), Bolger, Watts, Farrugia (Abulu, 76 mins); Burke, Greene (Cummins, 85 mins).

FINN HARPS: McGinley; Deasy, Ascroft, Smith, Todd, Russell; R Harkin (Doherty, 80 mins), G Harkin, Timlin (O’Reilly, 69 mins); Boyle (Place, 85 mins), McNamee.

Referee: D Tomney (Dublin).

Posted in League Of Ireland | Comments Off on SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: Shamrock Rovers V Finn Harps – The Irish Times – October 12 2019

Women’s All-Ireland League Launch: Niamh Byrne (Railway Union) – Irishrugby.ie – October 11 2019

Byrne: Railway Really Excited To Begin League Title Defence

Railway Union captain Niamh Byrne has admitted her side will have a ‘target on their back’ as they prepare to begin the defence of their Energia Women’s All-Ireland League title this weekend.

When Railway Union first entered the competition back in the autumn of 2014, it was their south Dublin neighbours Old Belvedere and league record-breakers UL Bohemians who were the dominant forces in domestic Women’s rugby.

However, last April, John Cronin’s Railway team made the long-awaited breakthrough when they were crowned league champions from the first time, registering a 13-8 final victory at Energia Park where UL missed out on their third successive league crown.

Led by Byrne from the centre, Railway get their campaign up and running tomorrow with an away trip to Suttonians who, alongside Belfast club Malone, are one of two newcomers to the Energia Women’s All-Ireland League for the 2019/20 season.

“We will hopefully be able to keep that energy going, keep playing the expansive style of rugby that got us into the top-four last year,” admitted Byrne, speaking at the recent Energia AIL launch in Donnybrook. “Of course, when you win any league or any cup, the target is on your back. Hopefully we’ll be able to prove to all the teams that we can still do it.

“Really excited to get into the league and the cup this year. We’re looking for a strong season and hopefully to keep our title. We’re really excited to go and play Suttonians. We obviously have never played them in the AIL. They’ve played in Division 1 (in Leinster) with our seconds team, so it’ll be interesting to see how that goes.”

Even though the trainee chartered accountant was born in Dublin and currently resides in the capital, the infancy of her rugby career can be traced back to Westmeath. Following a nine-year stay in Connecticut, she subsequently relocated to the midlands with her family.

“I began playing rugby in Mullingar with the Under-18s and then I came up to Railway to play senior rugby when I moved for college. My family just moved around and I’ve no idea how we ended up in Mullingar, but we ended up there for a few years. That’s where it all began.

“The boys in my school were setting up the girls team in Mullingar and they dragged me down the first night. The second night I went running to training. I really enjoyed it.”

In a team filled with international stars – six were included in Ireland’s Women’s Six Nations squad this year, while Grand Slam winner Larissa Muldoon is also a key figure in the starting XV – Byrne was extremely humbled to be named Railway skipper for the 2018/19 season.

It proved to be ideal timing for the Trinity College graduate as she guided the Sandymount outfit to the promised land of a much-coveted league title. The presence of Muldoon, Lindsay Peat and Aoife McDermott ensured it was a simple transition on the field of play, but she was acutely aware of her responsibilities behind the scenes at Park Avenue.

“It was a pretty good season as captain! A big honour, a little bit intimidating, but definitely a very easy team to captain. Very helpful. You always have people giving you great advice because they’re very experienced. I grew into it a bit, I think. It took a little time,” acknowledged Byrne.

“I got the call asking me to be captain. I played a season at seconds when I first came up to Railway and then began to play a bit of it. Ended playing in the AIL with the firsts, so I had a good feel for the club and that’s probably why. And I was there week in, week out. You’re always welcoming people who’ve never played or people who are coming from different clubs.

“You have to try as captain to balance out the super, high-performing internationals with the new girls and get a good mix. That probably was one of my key roles this year. Make sure everybody is welcome and playing the best rugby they can in a good environment.”

Railway’s commitment to attacking rugby has served them well up to this point, and a 31-0 demolition of Tullow in the Women’s All-Ireland Cup last Saturday showed that they are hell-bent on continuing in this vein.

Byrne bagged a try in that victory, supplementing scores from Keelin Brady (2), Lisa Callan and Christine Coffey. As one of several players in the Railway back-line with experience of Sevens rugby, Byrne believes the current style perfectly compliments the resources that director of rugby Cronin has at his disposal.

“I think every club has their signature style of playing. Our coaches have decided that with the Sevens experience a lot of our back-line would have and the handling skills of our team, that we can play that expansive style. We’ll try and play an alternative style of rugby, I guess.”

What was most remarkable about Railway’s maiden league triumph was the fact that their final position in the table was actually lower than the previous two seasons. Whereas they claimed second place in both the 2016/17 and 2017/18 campaigns – securing home semi-finals against Old Belvedere in the process – Cronin’s charges finished up third before last season’s play-offs.

Old Belvedere had the measure of them in their back-to-back meetings last December, yet Railway defied the odds to record an emphatic 29-7 semi-final win at Anglesea Road in mid-April. They went a step further in nearby Donnybrook a fortnight later.

Railway’s aim heading into tomorrow’s opening round will be to seal another top-four finish, with Byrne adding: “That will be our goal going into the first game against Suttonians. At least if you get top-four, you make it much easier if you can just stay there for the season and try and get a home semi-final out of it. That would be the goal.”

Posted in Senior Club Rugby, Women's Rugby | Comments Off on Women’s All-Ireland League Launch: Niamh Byrne (Railway Union) – Irishrugby.ie – October 11 2019

Guinness PRO14: Munster V Cheetahs – The Irish Times – October 12 2019

Cheetahs put a convincing end to Munster’s unbeaten start in Bloemfontein

South African side run in six tries to continue perfect start to the Pro 14 season

Cheetahs 40 Munster 16

Six days on from their comprehensive victory over Ulster, the Cheetahs inflicted fresh damage on an Irish province in Bloemfontein on Friday night as Munster suffered a first defeat of the season.

Despite beginning their mini-tour of South Africa with an impressive triumph over Southern Kings last weekend, Munster came off second best to their impressive southern hemisphere counterparts.

The Cheetahs enjoyed a perfect start to the contest as powerful loosehead prop Ox Nche crossed over for a converted try on 10 minutes. Munster subsequently worked their way back into contention with a brace of Tyler Bleyendaal penalties, only for flanker Junior Pokomela to grab a second try for the free-flowing Cheetahs.

Nevertheless, another place kick from the reliable Bleyendaal ensured Munster were just three points in arrears (12-9) at the break.

The Cheetahs were eager to maintain their 100 per cent record in the new campaign, however, and pulled further in front on the resumption. After the hosts had turned over their opponents, the ball was worked out wide for winger William Small-Smith to touch down in clinical fashion.

Ex-Ulster scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar made no mistake off the resultant conversion and Munster’s chances of success effectively evaporated when Joseph Dweba secured a fourth try for the rampant Cheetahs.

This sealed a third consecutive bonus point for the South Africans, who added an additional five-pointer through Jasper Wiese on 71 minutes.

Munster looked set to end on a high note when Dan Goggin bagged their opening try of the evening, but Rhyno Smith had the final say for the Cheetahs.

CHEETAHS: R Smith; W Small-Smith, B Janse van Rensburg, L Fouche, A Volmink; T Schoeman, R Pienaar; O Nche, J Dweba, L de Bruin; S Manjezi, W Steenkamp; G Olivier, J Pokomela, H Venter.

Replacements: J Wiese for Olivier (h/t), C Blommetjies for Small-Smith, S Koen for Pokomela (both 57 mins), R Venter for Dweba, B Venter for Nche, N Fouche for De Bruin, JP du Preez for Manjezi (all 67), T Meyer for Pienaar (72).

MUNSTER: M Haley; D Sweetnam, D Goggin, R Scannell, S Daly; T Bleyendaal, N McCarthy; J Loughman, R Marshall, S Archer; F Wycherley, B Holland; J O’Donoghue, T O’Donnell, A Botha.

Replacements: A Mathewson for McCarthy (49 mins), K O’Byrne for Marshall (50), J Cronin for Loughman, K Knox for Archer, G Coombes for O’Donnell (all 55), JJ Hanrahan for Bleyendaal (61), C Nash for Haley (64), D O’Shea for Wycherley (72).

Referee: M Adamson (SRU).

Posted in League Of Ireland | Comments Off on Guinness PRO14: Munster V Cheetahs – The Irish Times – October 12 2019