Vinnie Murray Plate Final: St Andrew’s College V Salesian College – The Irish Independent – April 4 2019

Salesians succumb to Murphy’s law as captain leads Andrew’s to plate glory

VINNIE MURRAY PLATE FINAL

ST ANDREW’S COLLEGE 29

SALESIAN COLLEGE 7

Daire Walsh

CAPTAIN Nathan Murphy led the way to Vinnie Murray Plate glory with a try and three conversions for St Andrew’s at Energia Park.

Despite a slow start, his side turned on the style in the second half, hitting 22 points without reply.

At the end of a prolonged attack inside the Salesians’ half, Oliver McGannon jinked over the whitewash for the first converted try.

Salesians fired back with a similar effort from loosehead prop James Geraghty and Evan Burke added the extras.

Nevertheless, Nathan Murphy’s stoppage-time penalty ensured Andrew’s had a 10-7 lead at the break.

Salesians were immediately made to pay for this wayward effort, as Nicholas Owens gathered a cross-field kick by skipper Murphy to touch down on the right flank.

Murphy’s seven-point salvo stretched Andrew’s further in front on the hour mark, before Luke Daly sealed matters with a powerful finish.

Scorers – St Andrew’s College: N Murphy try, pen, 3 cons, O McGannon, N Owens, L Daly try each. Salesian College: J Geraghty try, E Burke con.

ST ANDREW’S COLLEGE – S Hamilton (P Guest 69); N Owens, N Murphy, F Ashton (C O’Byrne 69), O McGannon; J McDonnell (A Hoade 45), C Turner; D Molloy, A Deegan (B Walters 69), J Hewson (S Doherty 69); L Daly (D Murray 69), E Sellers; C Walker (O Molloy 25), J McDermott, C Blair.

SALESIAN COLLEGE – C McLoughlin (O Lawlor 45); S Chang (C O’Sullivan 65), S Wall, D Lovely (O Malone 67), C Bowden; E Burke, K Saunders (A Gildea 64); J Geraghty, J Hanley (E Bond 65), O Malone (E Casey 65); F Salu (C Doyle 45), C Purcell (S Ahern 47); R Doyle, C Bond, M O’Neill (W Docherty 39).

REF – T Colton (LRR).

Posted in Schools Rugby | Comments Off on Vinnie Murray Plate Final: St Andrew’s College V Salesian College – The Irish Independent – April 4 2019

Leinster Schools Senior ‘C1’ Hurling Championship Semi-Final: Malahide Community School V St Pat’s, Navan – The Evening Herald – April 4 2019

LEINSTER SH ‘C1’ SEMI-FINAL

Malahide CS class in semi

Daire Walsh

MALAHIDE Community School powered into the Leinster Schools Senior Hurling ‘C1’ Championship final with a comprehensive 7-19 to 1-12 victory against St Pat’s, Navan at Pairc Tailteann last Friday.

The northsiders progressed to the provincial grade as a result of their January 25 county success over St David’s CBS. Thanks to impressive displays by Liam Foley and Darragh McLoughney, they recorded a 2-17 to 1-9 triumph at Alfie Byrne Park.

Both players were once again on song at the spiritual home of Meath GAA, with Foley – a Dublin Colleges hurler – contributing a series of fine scores. Despite Sean Murphy grabbing a goal for the Metropolitans, they were just two points in front at the break.

However, three goal in the space of five minutes on the resumption effectively closed out the game for Malahide. With a breeze at their backs, they continued to increase the gap between themselves and Pat’s.

Foley and Jack Keogh were in scintillating form and while the final outcome was slightly flattering for John Mangan’s side, they ultimately eased through in consummate fashion. They will now face Duiske College of Kilkenny in a mouth-watering showpiece encounter.

Posted in Schools GAA | Comments Off on Leinster Schools Senior ‘C1’ Hurling Championship Semi-Final: Malahide Community School V St Pat’s, Navan – The Evening Herald – April 4 2019

Dublin Schools Juvenile ‘A’ Hurling Championship: Ardscoil Ris V St Aidan’s CBS – The Evening Herald – April 4 2019

DUBLIN JUV ‘A’ HC

Ardscoil still team to beat

Daire Walsh

ARDSCOIL Ris claimed an emphatic 6-21 to 4-5 win at the expense of St Aidan’s CBS in the Dublin Schools Juvenile ‘A’ Hurling Championship at Whitehall last Thursday afternoon.

Despite their best efforts, Aidan’s couldn’t halt the march of their northside neighbours. Ardscoil are traditionally one of the strongest teams at this grade and regained their crown with a comprehensive success over St Colmcille’s CS last April.

After an accomplished performance got them past St Benildus College in the opening game of a four-team round robin, the Griffith Avenue outfit were seven-point victors (5-12 to 2-14) over St Fintan’s HS, Sutton on March 25. They had just three days to prepare for this trip to Aidan’s, but they maintained their winning run in clinical style.

Whereas Tony Lonergan and Ciaran Stacey were stand-outs against Fintan’s, a number of players stepped up to the mark in their third game of the year. Ciaran Sheehy, Joe Kavanagh and Davin Downes were outstanding throughout, while Conor Dolan, Kevin Moran and Ruairi Barclay were others to impressive.

Although each team in this competition is guaranteed a semi-final spot, Ardscoil remain the team to beat.

Posted in Schools GAA | Comments Off on Dublin Schools Juvenile ‘A’ Hurling Championship: Ardscoil Ris V St Aidan’s CBS – The Evening Herald – April 4 2019

Adult Football League Division Two Round-Up (March 31): Dublingaa.ie – April 3 2019

AFL DIV. 2 ROUND-UP: MARCH 31

ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND-UP: MARCH 31

By Daire Walsh

Following another action-packed weekend of club action, St Sylvester’s, Castleknock and Na Fianna ‘B’ lead the way in Division Two of the Adult Football League.

Having dropped out of the top-flight at the end of 2018, Syls’ quest for an automatic return is currently gathering pace. They produced a goal-laden display to edge past Kilmacud Crokes ‘B’ on the opening weekend, before recording an emphatic 3-17 to 0-3 win over Whitehall Colmcille at Collins Avenue.

This placed them in fine spirits for a trip to the Clontarf Road on Sunday. Scoil Ui Chonaill had suffered consecutive defeats to Clontarf and the aforementioned Crokes in advance of this contest and struggled to maintain the formidable challenge of their Malahide counterparts.

With Alex Wright registering three points from play, Syls largely dominated the opening half proceedings. Scoil grabbed a ninth-minute goal through Neil O’Flynn, but breathed a sigh of relief when Dublin senior panelist Andy Bunyan twice denied Wright at the opposite end.

The visitors were 0-11 to 1-4 ahead during the interval and immediately extended their lead when the action resumed. The towering Jack Hazley diverted Seán Daly’s delivery beyond the reach of Bunyan as Syls continued to make hay inside the Scoil ’45’.

Wright, Ross Hazley and Paudie White impressed throughout, though it was Micheál McCarthy who proved to be their stand-out performer on the day. He ended the game with an exceptional of tally of 1-6 (0-2f) – his goal helping Syls to create an insurmountable cushion of 2-15 to 1-4 on the third-quarter mark.

To Scoil’s credit, they persevered in the closing stages of the tie. Conor Dixon and Ruairi Coady found the target in clinical fashion, while they also claimed a second goal deep into stoppage-time.

Having already split the posts off a long-distance free, Bunyan (Dublin’s substitute goalkeeper in last year’s Leinster SFC decider against Laois) converted a penalty to leave their final deficit at six points (2-17 to 2-11).

Sylvester’s were relegated to the second-tier along with Castleknock – who enjoyed a 1-12 to 1-8 victory at the expense of Crokes. This extends their unbeaten run for 2019, with Naomh Mearnog and Clontarf coming off second best to the Somerton Park outfit in the previous rounds.

Just behind Syls and ‘Knock on score difference are Na Fianna ‘B’, after they preserved their 100% success rate in a 2-18 to 1-9 triumph over St Patrick’s, Palmerstown at Glenaulin Park. Just behind the front trio on five points are Round Tower Lusk – 1-10 to 1-9 conquerors of St Mary’s, Saggart on their home turf.

Newly-promoted from Division Three, Lusk have so far defied expectations. They overcame Whitehall Colmcille in mid-February and a hard-earned draw with Naomh Olaf then followed at Pairc Ui Bhriain.

They faced a Mary’s side that had endured a mixed start to their campaign, but they broke the deadlock courtesy of a point by former Sky Blues player Blaine Kelly. Lusk fired back with the opening goal of the contest and despite Kelly and James Timmins holding their own for Mary’s, it was the hosts who brought a four-point cushion into the dressing rooms.

However, Carl Finn grabbed a goal for Mary’s straight from the throw-in to give themselves a realistic chance of success. While Lusk initially responded positively to this set-back, the twin threat of Kelly and Timmins propelled Mary’s back into the ascendancy.

They struggled to push on in the closing stages, though, and Lusk rallied to eventually take maximum points. Elsewhere, Ballyboughal and Naomh Olaf maintained their own unbeaten starts to this year’s league.

Ballyboughal – who still have a game in hand on those above them in the table – were 3-12 to 0-5 victors against Naomh Fionnbarra at Pope John Paul II Park. For the second time in succession, Naomh Olaf had to settle for a share of the spoils at Sandyford – themselves and Whitehall Colmcille proving inseparable (2-13 each).

Following the blow of a heavy opening day reversal to Castleknock, Naomh Mearnog have bounced back in commendable style. A gritty 0-11 to 0-8 win over Raheny showed what they are capable of and they had the measure of Round Tower Clondalkin at Monastery Road last weekend.

Having fallen five points adrift in the early exchanges (1-2 to 0-0), Mearnog rallied to bring a 1-6 to 1-5 buffer into the interval. They pushed forward again after the restart and ultimately ended on the right side of a 2-12 to 2-9 scoreline.

Jamie Walsh (top-scorer with 1-3) and Michael Gibbs bagged the all-important goals for the Portmarnock men, although they were ably-assisted on the day by Shane Kavanagh (0-4), Sean Hawkshaw (0-3) and Alan Doyle (0-2).

In an intriguing derby at St Anne’s Park, Raheny had seven points to spare – 1-10 to 0-6 – over Clontarf.

Posted in Gaelic Football | Comments Off on Adult Football League Division Two Round-Up (March 31): Dublingaa.ie – April 3 2019

Rugby Column Number 149: The Kildare Nationalist – April 2 2019

RUGBY COLUMN – APRIL 2

By Daire Walsh

KILL’S Adam Byrne grabbed a second-half try at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday to help Leinster survive a huge test from Ulster in the Champions Cup quarter-final.

Moments after Jacob Stockdale failed to ground the ball beyond the whitewash, Byrne sprinted over on the right-flank – via Jack Conan’s excellent carry into enemy territory. A Luke Marshall try cancelled out their advantage, before a Ross Byrne penalty eventually guided the holders towards a 21-18 triumph.

While a number of players were ruled out through injury, Adam Byrne’s selection in the back-three was a display of trust by Blues head coach Leo Cullen. Instead of opting for both Rob Kearney and Jordan Larmour in his starting line-up, Cullen named the latter at full-back with the former Naas CBS student assuming the right-wing mantle.

Joining Byrne in the match day squad was fellow Kill native James Tracy – who replaced Sean Cronin on 58 minutes. Though there was a considerable array of talent within the Leinster side, the absence of Jonathan Sexton, Robbie Henshaw and James Lowe was expected to limit their attacking potential.

Ulster had to make do without the services of Will Addison, but it proved to be a dream start at Irish Rugby HQ for the northern province. In unison with Iain Henderson, skipper Rory Best charged down an attempted Garry Ringrose clearance.

This allowed Kieran Treadwell to touch down and John Cooney later converted to give Ulster a seven-point cushion. Ross Byrne fired back with a try of his own, though, and Ulster suffered another set-back when Best was subsequently forced off.

After Cooney and Ross Byrne traded penalties, the deputising Leinster fly-half nudged his side in front. Nevertheless, Ulster were playing with ferocious physicality and intent, which allowed Cooney to secure a 39th-minute penalty in front of the posts.

This enabled them to bring a 13-11 buffer into the dressing rooms and their vocal supporters were in full voice when Stockdale appeared to grab a try on the resumption. Yet, following consultation with TMO Denis Grenouillet, referee Romain Poite halted the Ulster celebrations.

They were left to rue this mistake in the 54th-minute of the action, when Adam Byrne completed a swift break to claim his sixth try of the season. This lead was wiped out by Marshall powering over with 15 minutes remaining, with a seemingly straightforward bonus strike to follow.

However, Cooney couldn’t find the target and this opened the door for Ross Byrne to seal a semi-final spot against Toulouse for Leinster.

On the opposite side of the draw, their arch rivals Munster will face Saracens at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Despite Athy man Joey Carbery suffering a recurrence of his hamstring injury, the magnificent Keith Earls bagged a brace of tries to give the Red Army a 17-13 success at the expense of Edinburgh.

Eadestown’s Tadhg Beirne was once again a powerful presence in the Munster second-row, while Jeremy Loughman (Athy) made a strong contribution off the bench.

Posted in Rugby Column | Comments Off on Rugby Column Number 149: The Kildare Nationalist – April 2 2019

Adult Football League Division One Round-Up (March 31): Dublingaa.ie – April 1 2019

AFL DIV. 1 ROUND-UP: MARCH 31

ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND-UP: MARCH 31

By Daire Walsh

Thanks to their respective victories at the weekend, Lucan Sarsfields, St Maur’s and Ballinteer St John’s find themselves out in front at the top of the Adult Football League Division One table.

With three rounds now completed, the aforementioned trio currently have a 100% success rate in the top-flight. At 12th Lock on Sunday morning, Lucan entertained a Fingallians side that lost out narrowly to Maur’s in their previous league encounter.

Lucan had gotten the better of Cuala and St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh in their opening games of the year, and produced another dominant display on their home patch. Despite the best efforts of their Swords opponents, they eventually claimed an emphatic 2-17 to 1-12 triumph.

The meeting between Maur’s and St Jude’s in Rush was brought forward to Saturday evening and it was a midas touch in attack that helped the hosts to record an eye-catching 6-5 to 1-12 victory. In addition to Ciaran Archer’s impressive haul of 0-4, Ciaran Reddin and Conor McGuire bagged a brace of three-pointers for a rampant Maur’s.

Eoin Fletcher also rattled the net during an explosive opening and while Jude’s kept themselves in touch late on, an Eoghan Conroy goal on 58 minutes finally sealed the two points for the northside outfit.

Marley Park was the venue for a compelling battle between Ballinteer and Cuala – who were in buoyant form as a result of their recent win at the expense of defending champions St Vincent’s. They looked set to register back-to-back successes when they opened up a four-point interval cushion, but a powerful second period surge swung the pendulum in Ballinteer’s favour.

Donal Gormley, Donnacha Carey and Fearghal Duffy all raised green flags as the in-form John’s ran out 3-12 to 1-15 winners. After sharing the spoils in their March 3 showdown at Pairc Ui Murchu (1-10 apiece), Ballyboden St Enda’s and Kilmacud Crokes squeezed past the challenges of Na Fianna and Ballymun Kickhams on Saturday.

The southside rivals currently head up the chasing pack – just one point adrift of Lucan, Maur’s and Ballinteer.

Ballyboden eked out a 2-9 to 1-10 victory at St Mobhi Road, whereas Crokes edged Kickhams by the slenderest of margins (2-12 to 1-14). Dan O’Brien’s two-goal salvo was pivotal on the day, but there were a number of stand-out performers for the Stillorgan men.

Stevie Williams and Craig Dias were in excellent form throughout, with two-time All Star Rory O’Carroll (back from a lengthy spell in New Zealand) proving a reliable presence at full-back.

Meanwhile, Vincent’s got their own campaign back on track with a convincing 0-14 to 0-5 win against Plunkett’s at Pairc Naomh Uinsionn. Prior to their Cuala reversal, the Marino side had defeated Skerries Harps in the opening round.

Their Navan Road counterparts have struggled for form thus far, but with Dublin senior panellist Sean Bugler stepping up to the mark, they made life difficult for the home team early on.

Adam Baxter and Tomas Quinn amassed a brace of points for Vincent’s in the opening half, while Diarmuid Connolly (positioned at centre-half-back throughout) also found the target from long-distance.

Plunkett’s suffered a set-back just before the interval, when former Cavan footballer Gareth ‘Nesty’ Smith was black-carded for a trip on Jarlath Curley. Nevertheless, his preceding point ensured Plunkett’s were only two points in arrears (0-6 to 0-4) at the break.

Vincent’s discovered an extra level on the resumption, though, and largely dominated the remainder of the action. Gavin Burke drove forward from wing-back to clip a couple of excellent scores, with Joe Feeney also got in on the scoring act.

Three successful Quinn frees created further daylight and with Plunkett’s contributing just one point in the second period (a Bugler free), Vins eased over the line.

Like Plunkett’s, Thomas Davis are still looking to open their 2019 league account. The Kiltipper men were extremely competitive on their trip to Skerries Harps, though the hosts ultimately prevailed by 2-13 to 1-15.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Adult Football League Division One Round-Up (March 31): Dublingaa.ie – April 1 2019

Adult Football League Division One: Templeogue Synge Street V St Brigid’s – Dublingaa.ie – April 1 2019

AFL DIV. 1 MATCH REPORT: TEMPLEOGUE SYNGE STREET V ST. BRIGIDS

ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE

TEMPLEOGUE SYNGE STREET 1-8

ST BRIGID’S 0-11

By Daire Walsh

Ger Vickery struck a dramatic 65th-minute point to give Templeogue Synge Street a share of the spoils at the end of a gripping Adult Football League Division One clash with St Brigid’s at Dolphin Park.

Having already claimed a draw against Na Fianna at the beginning of the month, Brigid’s looked set to prevail when netminder Eoin Lysaght edged them in front during the opening moments of stoppage-time. There was a late sting in the tale, however, as Vickery dissected the posts at a right-hand angle to secure Templeogue’s first point of the season.

Whereas Brigid’s had followed up their opening round defeat to Kilmacud Crokes with an encouraging result at home to Na Fianna, their southside counterparts had suffered back-to-back reversals at the hands of Fingallians and St Jude’s.

Ahead of their forthcoming Senior 2 Championship bow against Naomh Mearnog – at Balgriffin on April 13 – Templeogue were able to welcome county star Niall Scully back into the fold. They were minus the services of six-time All-Ireland winner Eoghan O’Gara – who was suspended for this encounter – but the injured Paddy Andrews was a notable absentee in the Brigid’s side.

The hosts had prepared for this game with a challenge victory over Crosserlough of Cavan in Kilnaleck last Sunday week and enjoyed an ideal start on their return to competitive fare. Following excellent build-up play by Luke O’Brien, full-forward Aidan Crean fired over inside the opening 60 seconds.

Scully converted a free at a left-hand angle to supplement this score, before also finding the range on the far side. At the opposite end of the field, the roving Conor McKiernan was providing additional cover to the Templeogue defence.

They pressurised the Brigid’s attack at every available opportunity, but the visitors finally opened their account through a Philly Ryan free on 13 minutes. Ryan is a long-time stalwart of the Russell Park club and swiftly added his second point off a quick counter.

After Collie Carr had restored parity, the industrious Mark Cahill subsequently edged Brigid’s in front. Although Templeogue had struggled to maintain their early dominance, they eventually responded with a third pointed free courtesy of the reliable Scully.

Sean Brew also ventured forward from full-back to lash a loose ball between the posts – offering Templeogue another slender cushion in the process. Nevertheless, Brigid’s discovered another gear in the closing stages of the half.

Mal Tighe levelled matters with a superb effort, while Ryan – via a precise Mark Donnelly pass – grabbed his third score of the half to move Brigid’s 0-6 to 0-5 ahead in time for the interval. The tie remained firmly in the balance on the resumption, though, and Scully cancelled out Templeogue’s deficit with a superb curled strike off his left-foot.

Even though Ryan’s close-range free kept Brigid’s in the ascendancy, they received a hammer blow in the 38th-minute. When corner-back Jack Kelly was adjudged to have controlled Scully’s delivery on the ground, a penalty was awarded to the Templeogue men.

Vickery stepped forward to negotiate the resulting spot-kick and fired clinically beyond the reach of Lysaght. He immediately added to his tally with a long-distance point as Mike Fitzpatrick’s charges sought to create safe distance between themselves and Brigid’s.

Colm O’Driscoll had to be alert to turn away Ryan’s goal-bound shot, but heading into the final-quarter, Templeogue remained three points to the good (1-7 to 0-7). They were marginally pegged back by the ever-dependable Ryan, which in turn halted a 12-minute barren spell in front of goal for Brigid’s.

The former Dublin panellist was once again denied by O’Driscoll, though substitute Lorcan McCarthy reduced the gap to the bare minimum in the 56th-minute. This increased the tension at the Dublin 8 venue and in his final act before making way for Michael Courtney, Carr bagged an equalising point on the hour mark.

Momentum appeared to be with Brigid’s at this juncture and when Lysaght expertly slotted a 40-metre free, they got themselves back in the driving seat. Yet, Templeogue’s persistence ultimately paid off in the dying embers of the action.

Scully picked out Vickery deep inside the Brigid’s rearguard and the latter made sure they avoided a third consecutive reversal on their return to the top-flight. The focus for both teams will now be on the championship for the next few weeks, before they resume their Division One campaigns on May 8.

Templeogue will make the short journey to Pairc Ui Murchu for a showdown wth Ballyboden St Enda’s – Brigid’s play host to Naomh Maur on the same night.

Scorers – Templeogue Synge Street: Ger Vickery 1-2 (1-0 pen), Niall Scully 0-4 (3f), Sean Brew, Aidan Crean 0-1 each. St Brigid’s: Philly Ryan 0-5 (2f), Collie Carr 0-2, Eoin Lysaght (f), Mal Tighe, Mark Cahill, Lorcan McCarthy 0-1 each.

TEMPLEOGUE SYNGE STREET: Colm O’Driscoll; Rob Power, Sean Brew, Sam McGovern; Joe Varley, Mark Swaine, Alex O’Toole; Cillian Keogh, Mark Hayes; Niall Scully, Neil Duffy, Luke O’Brien; Conor McKiernan, Aidan Crean, Ger Vickery. Sub: Eoin O’Donovan for O’Brien (25).

ST BRIGID’S: Eoin Lysaght; Jack Kelly, Alan McCarrick, Alan Daly; Cathal Doyle, Jack Mullins, Niall Davey; Sean Egan, Gerry Troy; Mal Tighe, Mark Donnelly, Mark Cahill; Philly Ryan, Collie Carr, Donal Timoney. Subs: Lorcan McCarthy for Timoney (30+4), Gavin Kane for Davey (half-time), Niall O’Dea for Cahill (47), Michael Courtney for Carr (60).

Referee: Ronnie Malone (St Mary’s Saggart).

Posted in Gaelic Football | Comments Off on Adult Football League Division One: Templeogue Synge Street V St Brigid’s – Dublingaa.ie – April 1 2019

Post-Match Reaction: European Rugby Champions Cup Quarter-Final: Leinster V Ulster – Press Association – March 31 2019

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen not surprised by Ulster performance in European Cup tie

Leo Cullen acknowledged that the next couple of weeks will define Leinster’s season after a hard-earned 21-18 victory over Ulster secured a Heineken Champions Cup semi-final spot.

Ulster gave the defending champions a huge test in this all-Irish quarter-final at the Aviva Stadium, leading early on through Kieran Treadwell’s try with Luke Marshall’s 63rd-minute touchdown bringing the visitors level at 18-all.

However, Ross Byrne completed his 16-point haul for Leinster with a decisive penalty, nine minutes from the end.

Leinster head coach Cullen said: “We know we’re in two semi-finals now (in the Guinness PRO14 and Champions Cup), but it’s about how we build the cohesion and our levels of performance so that, when it comes to the two semi-finals, we give probably a better account of ourselves than we did today.

“We’re always having to chase the game from so early. Once Ulster had the lead, they were able to play that pressure game on us.

“We didn’t respond particularly well to it, I didn’t think. But ultimately we got the job done. It’s pleasing on one hand, but frustrating on the other.”

Ross Byrne and Adam Byrne crossed the whitewash in each half for Cullen’s charges, who battled through to set up an Easter weekend semi-final against either Racing 92 or Toulouse.

Having highlighted their threats leading into the game, the Wicklow man was not the least bit surprised with Ulster’s performance on the night.

“We talked about all the threats that they have,” said Cullen. “(Stuart) McCloskey in the middle of the field gives them go-forward, good direction.

“We even talked about (Jacob) Stockdale going up the left hand side of the field or chipping the ball over the top when he gathered. It all played out, what we talked about.”

Jacob Stockdale was scoring tries for fun for Ulster and Ireland last season – he should have added to this season’s tally on Saturday in Dublin, but the flying winger uncharacteristically dropped the ball attempting to dot it down.

It came as a crucial point of the game as Ulster led Leinster 13-11 early in the second half of an enthralling European Champions Cup tie.

The winger had done all the hard work in beating the Leinster defence but that last crucial act failed him. Leinster then went up the pitch and scoring a try to go 18-13 ahead and eventually they booked a semi-final spot 21-18.

Rather than identifying Stockdale’s blunder as a turning point in the game, Ulster head coach Dan McFarland focused on other areas that contributed to their eventual exit from the tournament.

“I know what you want me to say and I’m not going to say that,” said McFarland. “I was asked four times about Jacob dropping the ball over the line.

“My answer is: there are not many people in the world who could beat that many players, to even get in the position to put the ball down.

“I’m proud of Jacob, he played a great game, did a lot of really good things.

“He’s disappointed, but that’s not the reason we lost the game.

“I’d say the key points in the first half were: our collision work, contact work wasn’t good enough. That’s on me, I’m the coach of that area.

“Leinster stole balls of us, we couldn’t get our attack into the rhythm – when we did we showed really good glimpses.”

Posted in European Rugby | Comments Off on Post-Match Reaction: European Rugby Champions Cup Quarter-Final: Leinster V Ulster – Press Association – March 31 2019

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: Shamrock Rovers V UCD – The Irish Independent – March 30 2019

SHAMROCK ROVERS 3

UCD 1

JACK BYRNE grabbed a brace of goals as the Hoops dug deep to hold on to their seven-point cushion at the summit of the table.

Fresh from his call-up to the Ireland squad, Byrne exerted a major influence for the hosts. He was marginally off-target with an early free-kick, before subsequently breaking the deadlock on 19 minutes.

Following excellent build-up play by former Students midfielder Ronan Finn, Byrne was picked out in a central position and finished well.

Rovers dominated possession for the majority of the opening period, but were hit with an unexpected sucker punch in the 37th minute. Via Neil Farrugia’s pull-back on the left-wing, Yousef Mahdy fired past the helpless Alan Mannus.

Rovers looked to be enduring an evening of frustration but just as they had done against Finn Harps last week, they found a large surge as Byrne turned home Finn’s pass with seven minutes left.

In a final throw of the dice, UCD sent goalkeeper Conor Kearns forward for a corner deep into stoppage-time. However, after Rovers cleared, Aaron McEneff slotted into an empty net.

SHAMROCK ROVERS – Mannus; Bone (Clarke 71), Lopes, Grace, Kavanagh; McEneff, Bolger; Byrne, Finn, Watts (Coustrain 59); Greene (Vojic 78).

UCD – Kearns; Tobin, Collins, Scales, Dignam; McClelland, Molloy, O’Neill, O’Farrell, Farrugia; Mahdy (McDonald 83).

REF – J McLoughlin (Roscommon).

Posted in League Of Ireland | Comments Off on SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: Shamrock Rovers V UCD – The Irish Independent – March 30 2019

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: Shamrock Rovers V UCD – The Evening Herald – March 30 2019

Byrne brace keeps Rovers on track

Shamrock Rovers 3 UCD 1

Jack Byrne grabbed a brace of goals at the Tallaght Stadium to help Shamrock Rovers towards a hard-earned victory over UCD in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

Despite being on level terms with their south Dublin rivals for large stretches, the Hoops dug deep to hold onto their seven-point cushion at the summit of the table.

Fresh from his call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad for their recent internationals, Byrne exerted a major influence for the hosts. He broke the deadlock on 19 minutes.

Following excellent build-up play by former Students midfielder Ronan Finn, Byrne was picked out in a central position. Though UCD Conor Kearns got fingertips to his firm strike, he couldn’t deny the Hoops man his second goal of the campaign.

Rovers dominated possession for the majority of the opening period, but they were hit with an unexpected sucker punch in the 37th-minute.

Via Neil Farrugia’s pull-back on the left wing, Yousef Mahdy fired past the helpless Alan Mannus.

Having earned their first win of the campaign at home to Finn Harps two weeks earlier, UCD were back on course for another morale-boosting result.

In a bid to inject fresh life into their challenge, Rovers boss Stephen Bradley introduced Joel Coustrain, Trevor Clarke and Orhan Vojic off the bench.

This sparked an extended spell of attacking pressure, and Byrne was ideally placed to turn home a Finn pass on 83 minutes.

In a final throw of the dice, UCD sent Kearns forward for a corner deep into stoppage-time.

However, after Rovers successfully cleared their lines, Aaron McEneff slotted into an empty net to seal all three points.

Posted in League Of Ireland | Comments Off on SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: Shamrock Rovers V UCD – The Evening Herald – March 30 2019