Win keeps students' title hopes alive

Tries from back rowers Pierce Dargan and Jack Kelly helped Dublin University defeat Dungannon 24-16 at Merrion Road as the students held onto second place in Ulster Bank League Division 1B.

Win keeps students' title hopes alive

Tries from back rowers Pierce Dargan and Jack Kelly helped Dublin University defeat Dungannon 24-16 at Merrion Road as the students held onto second place in Ulster Bank League Division 1B.

Taking place at the Wanderers' home pitch rather than their usual home venue of College Park, this was Trinity's first victory of 2013 after a run of three games without a win.

Given the unusual terrain that the two teams were playing on, it was no surprise that the game was a scrappy affair in the early stages.

David Joyce and Dungannon's Stuart McCloskey both went close to breaking the deadlock for their respective sides.

Joyce was also presented with a kickable penalty 14 minutes in, but his effort from a tight right hand angle drifted past the posts once again.

Trinity were beginning to apply plenty of pressure towards the Dungannon line, however, and they finally got their account up and running on 21 minutes when Dargan enterprisingly picked up a loose ball and touched down underneath the posts.

Joyce made no mistake with the conversion attempt that followed. He was also on target with a conversion on the stroke of half-time after referee David Connolly awarded a penalty try following persistent work by a powerful Trinity scrum.

This offered the hosts an excellent platform, although the Tyrone men did end the half in positive fashion. A successful McCloskey penalty from the right reduced the deficit to 14-3.

A second three-pointer from McCloskey narrowed the gap even further just three minutes after the restart, but Trinity produced what would turn out to be the decisive score of the game 50 minutes into the action.

A long maul by the College side on the right ended with the dynamic Kelly joining Dargan on the scoresheet with a fine finish in the corner. Joyce once again found his range with the extras.

This left Dungannon with a mountain to climb in the final half hour of play, but they did give themselves a lifeline in the 56th minute when second row Mark Jenkinson reached over on the right at the end of a sweeping move across the Trinity line.

McCloskey was wide of the mark with his conversion though, and with Joyce kicking a penalty on the hour mark, Trinity still had a comprehensive 13-point cushion moving into the final quarter.

Dungannon once again displayed tremendous character, and crossed the whitewash for a second time courtesy of the influential Ali Birch with 11 minutes remaining.

This tested the resolve of Trinity, but try as they might, Dungannon were not able to muster up the opportunity that might have offered them a bonus point at the very least.

Dublin University had enough in reserve to seal their seventh triumph of the current league campaign.

UCD ran out comfortable 26-3 bonus point winners over Bruff at Kilballyowen Park. They got the result despite being reduced to 14 players twice in the second half, while Bruff had a player in the sin-bin for the last 10 minutes.

UCD led 7-0 at the interval after excellent winger Barry Daly grabbed a 15th minute try which James Thornton converted. Bruff were back in contention when out-half Brian Cahill kicked a penalty.

But the Belfield outfit wrapped up the points with three second half tries. Replacement Jordan Coghlan touched down in the 63rd minute, number 8 Danny Kenny did likewise five minutes later - running in an intercept from halfway - and flanker Conor Gilsenan dotted down five minutes from time.

In the day's other Division 1B game, Buccaneers and Blackrock College shared out an incredible 10 tries as they drew 36-all at Dubarry Park.

Buccaneers led 21-10 at half-time after Luke Satchwell crossed for their third try. They annexed the bonus point with centre Alex Hayman dotting down twice, but Blackrock battled back for a share of the spoils with Rob Keogh converting four of their five tries.

On Friday night, leaders Ballynahinch claimed a 36-3 Ulster derby win over third-placed Belfast Harlequins.

They ran in three first half tries from Adam Craig, Stuart Morrow and Robert Greer. Craig grabbed a second when he went over for the bonus point try and Robin Harte rounded off the proceedings with a late touchdown.

Malone registered their fourth win of the league run by getting the better of Ballymena at Gibson Park.

Tries from Shane Kelly, Michael Barker (2) and Josh Pentland did the trick in a 26-5 triumph.

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