Pens: Matt D’Arcy 3
Ian Hanly; James O’Donoghue, Stephen O’Neill, Harrison Brewer, Harry Moore; , Kevin O’Neill; Gary Hamilton, Robbie Smyth, Oisin Heffernan, Fergal Walsh, Kevin O’Dwyer, Robert Duke, James O’Neill (capt), Kyle McCoy.
Replacements used: Kevin Buckley for Smyth, Jonathan Barretto for Hamilton (both 61 mins), Mark O’Neill for O’Donoghue (78).
Max McFarland; Michael Brown, Colm O’Shea, Matt D’Arcy, Conor O’Brien; Evan Ryan, Sam Cronin (capt); Ivan Soroka, Bryan Byrne, Royce Burke Flynn, Tom Byrne, Ben Reilly, Karl Moran, Adrian D’Arcy, Tony Ryan.
Replacements used: Ariel Robles for Brown (40+2 mins), Conor O’Keeffe for T Byrne (56), Dermot O’Meara for Cronin (59), Cronin for Moran (65), Ian Hirst for Soroka (67), Moran for O’Meara (73).
Given their status as reigning champions, the north Dubliners had good reason to eb confident heading into this clash. However, the injury-enforced absence of dependable out-half David Joyce was a significant blow for them and having succumbed to a 14-9 defeat to Terenure at the same venue in November, they knew winning at Lakelands Park would be a tough task.
Indeed, only five points separated the teams (16-11) when they met at Castle Avenue just two months ago, and with a solitary point splitting them in the final Division 1A, another close encounter was expected.
D’Arcy, Ireland’s Club international captain this year, missed his first two shots at the posts and Terenure began to make inroads as their back-three of Ian Hanly, James O’Donoghue and Harry Moorehandled more ball out wide.
Yet, despite the best efforts of Terenure out-half James Thornton, who was short with an 18th minute penalty, and the aforementioned Ryan, who cut through midfield on a notable break in the closing stages, the teams played out a scoreless first half.
It was D’Arcy who finally opened the scoring with a well-struck 51st-minute penalty. He failed to convert a subsequent effort and ‘Nure’s powerful lock Fergal Walsh was held up on a drive for the visitors’ try-line, just past the hour mark. Clontarf also went close as replacement Ariel Robles almost grounded a Ryan dink into the right corner and number 8 Tony Ryan was denied too from close range.
The hopes of last year’s Division 1B winners took a real hit with yellow cards for lock Kevin O’Dwyerand scrum half Kevin O’Neill in the closing stages. Indeed, O’Neill went close to scoring a try before his exit from the pitch for a high tackle on Max McFarland.
O’Dwyer did return to the ‘Nure pack for the conclusion of the contest, but thanks to a routine D’Arcy penalty deep into injury-time, Clontarf’s back-to-back title ambitions remain alive.
Referee: Stuart Gaffikin (IRFU)