AIL Roundup: Division 2B Week 8

While Greystones and Galway Corinthians have pulled clear of the remaining pack, 2B remains as one of the most competitive leagues, two points separate third and seventh.

Dungannon 21-28 Sligo, Stevenson Park

Sligo recorded a third successive win against a battle hardened Dungannon, to leave them a point off the top four.

The hosts took the lead after 8 minutes with Sean O’Hagan crossing for a try, the conversion from Ben McCaughey enough for a 7-0 lead. Sligo responded well to going behind, Euan Brown notched a penalty, before converting Cal Goddard’s try for a 10-7 lead, Brown’s boot was far from finished, almost like clockwork he added another penalty but failed convert Matthew Earley’s try that pushed Sligo 18-7 clear at the break.

The hosts were down to 14 men as Sligo pounded and got their third try off the afternoon with Ross Hickey picking front he back of the scrum and dotting down to score, Brown composed to add another successful kick, Sligo were well ahead by this stage 25-7.

Back came Dungannon, Andrew McGregor started their comeback with their second converted try after 54 minutes, McCaughey switched from kicking to try scoring to put them four behind with another converted try. Pressure was mounting on Sligo, but a late Brown penalty saw them control the tempo in the dying minutes to pick up the win.

Enniscorthy 18-19 Rainey Old Boys, Alcast Park

Rainey Old Boys came from behind in the second half to pick up a much needed win against Enniscorthy, the hosts will be left kicking themselves as they remain bottom but no win under their name this season.

Michael McCusker powered over for an early 5-0 lead for the visitors, the Wexford side replied through Peadar O’Mahoney as his converted effort moved them 7-5 ahead, Rainey were down to 14 men temporarily with a yellow card shown, Jack Kelly landed a penalty to move the further ahead, however Rainey crossed for a converted try to lead 12-10 at the interval.

After the restart Tom Ryan went over to out Scorthy back ahead 15-12,  the visitors would hit a hammer blow adding another converted trey minutes later, going four clear 19-15 as a penalty from the hosts made it a one point game late on, they were unable to hit a late score for the win, but the losing bonus point keeps them in the chase.

Galway Corinthians 54-14 Belfast Harlequins, Corinthian Park

Galway Corinthians kept their title hopes alive with a convincing high scoring win over fourth placed Belfast Harlequins, putting a gap between them and the rest of the pack.

After a nervy opening half an hour on the West Coast, two quick tries from Finn McNulty and Matty Devine had Corinthians ahead 14-0. John Devine completed their hat trick of first half tries to put them 21-0 clear by the break. The visitors did get over for a converted try early in the second half, but the comeback was short lived Mark Boyle adding the bonus point try for a 28-7 lead.

Harlequins got over for their second converted try as they tried to chip away at the deficit, but the Galway side just kept scoring with no reply to the onslaught, Finn and Devine both added their second tries, before Finn completed his hat trick to keep the board kicking over, Oran McNulty completed the scoring with the final try of the day, while Cathal Forde was impactful with the boot all afternoon kicking seven from eight.

Malahide 7-35 Greystones, Estuary Road

Greystones remain unbeaten after a convincing display saw them brush aside the challenge of Malahide at the weekend.

They started bright from the off and by the 14th minute were ahead 14-0, Dave Baker getting under the posts for their second try. It was all Greystones in the opening half Jack Dooley made it 21-0 after 25 minutes, before Michael “Dougie” Douglas secured the bonus point for a 28-0 lead on the stroke of half time.

It remained the visitors on top into the second half, as they went in for their fifth try, Dan Mannion marking his return from injury with a try, Killian Marmion had an exhibition from tee with 5/5 converted, Malahude would cross for a late consolation try but Greystones look to unbeatable going into the last weekend before the Christmas break.

Wanderers 31-31 Galwegians, Merrion Road

Galwegians produced a stunning second half comeback to salvage a draw against Wanderers in a highly dramatic contest at Merrion Road.

Wanderers nosed ahead 7-0 early on but were pinned back as Wegians got over but the kick went wide, a superb team move saw them land the second try minutes later to move 14-5 clear. A close range Wegians scrum on their own line saw Wanderws cross for their third after a strong powerful drive, the visitors would reply however as they touched down from a tap go penalty to trail 21-12 at the interval.

Wegians kept going and after the restart got the opening score of the half crossing into the corner to reduce the gap to 21-17. The hosts edged ahead with a three pointer from the tee, before their maul got them over for a bonus point try to lead 31-17. The contest was far from over, Shane Mallon got Wegians on the board with a classy finish to make it 31-24, pressure was on Wanderers and they would eventually crack as the Galway side got over to level. In the dying minutes they had two penalties, one in their own half the other in front of the posts, both however went wide as victory eluded them.

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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