'Quins hold steady for win

Belfast Harlequins' newly-found confidence was on show at Stradbrook today as they shared out an incredible 11 tries with Blackrock in a 43-36 victory.

Blackrock College 36 Belfast Harlequins 43, Stradbrook

Belfast Harlequins' newly-found confidence was on show at Stradbrook today as they shared out an incredible 11 tries with Blackrock in a 43-36 victory.

'Quins, who surprised Shannon last weekend, managed to run six tries past the 'Rock defence to notch only their second win of the campaign.

Number 8 Chris McCarey bagged two, while flanker Colin Atkinson, centre Darren Cave, lock Lewis Stevenson and prop John Andress were also on the scoresheet.

'Quins had their bonus point collected by half-time, leading by 28-21.

'Rock secured two losing bonus points thanks to second half tries from full-back Fionn Carr and flanker Richard Woods.

In only the sides' third ever league meeting in Dublin, 'Rock got the upper hand early on as centre Simon Morrissey, benefiting from a slick back line move, and Leinster lock Adam Byrnes, who charged over from close range, both crossed for converted tries.

But in an excellent 20-minute spell, Andy Ward's visitors struck for four converted tries without reply. McCarey rediscovered some of Ulster Senior league form to power over for the first two scores.

Skipper Atkinson was then mauled over and Ireland Under-21 international Cave slipped through two tackles to chalk up 'Quins' bonus point.

'Rock still had time to drive Leinster's Samoan prop Fosi Pala'amo over for an injury-time try, which Carr converted to leave his side just 28-21 down at the break.

Carr, who has been having an excellent season, stroked over a penalty after 35 metres out after the restart and then bagged his fifth try of the league campaign to nose 'Rock into a 31-28.

It got even better for Emmett Farrell's home side when Woods, who returned from a stint in England in the summer, clambered over in the right corner for 'Rock's fifth try.

Stung into action, 'Quins hit back almost immediately with Stevenson and Andress scoring, and excellent out-half Niall O'Connor adding a penalty and a conversion to complete his 13-point kicking haul.

With form like this, perhaps the Belfast men, who are now only a point behind second-from-bottom UCD, should visit Aras an Uachtarain more often.

Ward and company were invited to meet President Mary McAleese at her Phoenix Park residence last Thursday, after Harlequins' historic agreement this season to allow GAA club St. Brigid's use their pitches and club house facilities at Deramore Park.

HT: Blackrock 21 Belfast Harlequins 28

Scorers: Blackrock: Tries: Simon Morrissey, Adam Byrnes, Fosi Pala'amo, Fionn Carr, Richard Woods; Cons: Carr 4; Pen: Carr

Harlequins: Tries: Chris McCarey 2, Colin Atkinson, Darren Cave, Lewis Stevenson, John Andress; Cons: Niall O'Connor 5; Pen: O'Connor

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