AIL Roundup: Division 2B Round 17

Instonians were crowned 2B Champions despite defeat to Corinthians. At the bottom end of the table, Belfast Harlequins struck late to give them a lifeline to avoid the automatic drop. Dungannon confirmed their safety with a home win over Sligo.

Skerries (0T) 3-16 Malahide (1T), Holmpatrick

Justin Leonard was in inspired form from the kicking tee as he struck 11 points in Malahide’s win over Skerries in the Dublin derby on Friday night.

It was a cagey opening half between these two but the opening score did go the way of Malahide as Hugo Phillips crossed for the try. Leonard with the conversion. The game remained 7-0 going to the break.

Ronan Mulcahy got Skerries on the board in the second half, three penalties from the boot of Leonard would decide the contest in favour of Malahide as they look to confirm safety on the final day.

Belfast Harlequins (6T) 38-34 Dolphin (4T), Newforge Sports Complex 4G pitch

A late try from Ben Power gave Belfast Harlequins a massive lifeline for automatic safety as they struck in the burning embers to defeat Dolphin in this relegation clash.

Two tries from Tom Morris gave Quinns the optimum start to proceedings, Charlie Beattie converting the latter for a 12-0 lead. Sam Boyle got Dolphin on the board soon after and Daryl Foley converted for a five point margin. 

A beautiful intercept try by Cam O’Shaughnessy on his own 22 saw the Dolphin man scamper all the way under the posts for their second try, Foley kicked them into the lead at the break 14-12.

Foley added three further points to draw first blood for Dolphin in the second half. Quinns put Dolphin under serious pressure and kept on the attack being held up twice. With 50 gone they were awarded a penalty try as two Dolphin men saw a slice of cheese. Jaz Andress secured the bonus point soon after as the numerical advantage was favouring the hosts. Beattie made it 26-17 from the tee.

Foley cut the gap to six with another penalty as Dolphin still had 13 men on the field, the Belfast side kept up their attacking intent with that advantage in play and Ben Power glided over in the corner.

Dolphin were spirited in the final twenty minutes and a converted Foley try cut the gap to four as Dolphin had their full 15 back on the field. Soon after the Cork side were in again to add their bonus point try and Foley slotted the conversion for a 34-31 lead.

Harlequins summoned one final burst of power and in the end Power went over and that try secured the win for the hosts. It could be huge on the final day as they travel to Malahide, Dolphin host Dungannon.

Dungannon (4T) 32-20 Sligo (3T), Stevenson Park

Dungannon confirmed their safety with a bonus point home win over Sligo who are gearing up for a shot at promotion in the coming weeks.

Euan Brown kicked Sligo into an early 3-0 lead before Ben McCaughey crossed and converted a try to nudge the hosts ahead. Sligo replied as Rob Tiernan crossed in the corner and Brown converted for a three point lead.

Cathal Finneran added a second try for the visitors which went unconverted as they stretched the advantage. Dungannon replied through Daniel Mikolajczyk but the conversion went wide and the gap was reduced to just three points. Sligo replied swiftly and a beautiful Philip Carter try saw the visitors lead by eight as half time loomed.

McCaughey struck a penalty late in the opening half to reduce the arrears to five points at the interval, 15-20. The second half went all the way of the hosts. They dug deep and can plan for 2B rugby again next year.

Sean O’Hagan crossed for an third try for the hosts which levelled the tie before McCaughey added the extras for the two point lead. McCaughey furthered the lead with a penalty before James Girvan crossed for their bonus point try and McCaughey slotted those extras. 

Galway Corinthians (4T) 29-27 Instonians (5T), Corinthian Park

Istonians were crowned 2B Champions as they needed just a bonus point to confirm their coronation and left with two from Corinthian Park. Oli Clark with five tries for the visitors spearheaded their title win.

Sean Nauhgton crossed early for the hosts and his conversion gave a seven point cushion for the hosts. Instonians hit back through a driving maul try from Oli Clark, Corinthians were swift to strike again as John Devine went over and Naughton converted for a 14-7 lead.

Clarke soon added a second try again their lineout maul superb and Clarke broke from the tail and darted over, the conversion again drew wide. Ian Whtten prevented a try in the dying embers for the hosts and Instonians trailed 14-10 at the break.

The Tribesmen drew first blood in the second half, Devine crossing for his second which went unconverted. Instonian kept plucking away and their lineout maul was causing Corinthians some serious issues and Clark soon crossed for his hat trick but the conversion dragged wide. 19-15.

Instonians needed one more try to seal the league and who else but Clarke to add his fourth of the afternoon, Ritchie McMaster converting for the 22-19 lead, their first time leading the tie. Clarke soon added his fifth, yes fifth try of the game to stretch the Instonians lead to 27-19.

Malachy Joe Gavin reduced arrears to a single point as he added the bonus try for the hosts which Nuaghton converted. The outhalf would strike a penalty from halfway to secure the win for his side, Corinthians will have to settle for the play-offs.

Rainey (2T) 17-40 Wanderers (6T), Hatrick Park

Rainey are in threat of a relegation scramble on the final day and need a win over Sligo to secure their safety, after Wanderers inflicted defeat on them at the weekend. 

It was a relatively close first half, the gap 19-10 at the break in favour of the Dubliners, Louis Regan crossed for the hosts which Scott McLean converted along with a penalty in the half. Wanderers however crossed for three tries in the half, Geoff Mullan, Stephen Dunne and Popoai Finau all going over, Caomhan Brennan converting two of those tries.

While Ethan Canavan crossed for a try in the second half which McLean converted, Wanderers struck three further tries in the second period. Conor O’Brien, Finau and Eoin O’Shaughnessy going over for tries which Brennan converted.

Diarmuid Kearney is a freelance Sports Journalist based in Co Kerry. He has more than 5 years experience covering domestic and international soccer for different media organisations, while also working for local and national print and digital organisations covering GAA.

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