Malone impress at home against Blackrock
By Stephen Barbour
Spectators were treated to another impressive performance of running rugby from this talented Malone Side.
Match report by George Millar
Spectators were treated to another impressive performance of running rugby from this talented Malone 1st xv squad as they stretched their lead to 12 points over second place Highfield on Saturday at Gibson Park. Visitors Blackrock College find themselves positioned in the bottom four as they fight for every point to retain their place in Div 2A.
As a contest this game was over in the first 15 minutes. Blackrock had exerted the early pressure but once this Malone team made the break through in their first attack with a try from winger Rory Campbell followed by another from Michael Cartmill with both converted by Campbell it was a case of how quickly would they continue to force the pace and secure the bonus point. When backs coach Josh Pentland added the third followed by a second for Rory Campbell the bonus point had been secured inside 25 minutes. Malone full back Jack Owens was replaced by Andy Bryans as a precaution following a knock to the knee. Impressive Ulster Academy prop Peter Cooper added to his scoring record this season touching down for the 5th try with Campbell converting two to put Malone 33 – 0 up at half time.
Malone made a number of changes with Graham Curtis replacing Connor Spence, Lee Barlow replacing Ben Halliday and Ryan Clarke replacing Joe Dunleavy. Blackrock were first out of the blocks scoring a try to reduce the Malone lead to 33 – 5. Despite missing a penalty opportunity Malone replacement Andy Bryans took centre stage scoring a quick fire hat trick of tries in 15 mins with Campbell converting all three. Blackrock did add a second try during this period with Malone increasing their lead to 54 – 10 with 15 mins left. Malone had made further changes with Dave Cave replacing Dan Kerr, Stuart Doddington replacing James McAllister and Connor Spence replacing Josh Pentland. Blackrock did not give up and scored two further tries to secure a valuable losing bonus point for scoring four tries to leave the final score 54 – 22 in favour of the league leaders.
This win was built on a totally dominant display by the Malone pack in the first half to provide the opportunities for this talented Malone backline. One very interested spectator was former Ireland player David Curtis who was over to see his son Graham coming on to play in the second half. Once again winger Rory Campbell had an outstanding game scoring two tries and converting seven to finish with 24 points. Such is the depth in the squad with players pushing and challenging for a starting place another example was Andy Bryans coming off the bench to score three tries.
Malone team : 1. Ben Halliday, 2. Danny Kerr, 3. Peter Cooper, 4. James McAllister, 5. Michael Shiels, 6. Dave Cave, 7. Ross Todd (Captain), 8. Joe Dunleavy, 9. Connor Spence, 10. Callum Smith, 11. Michael Cartmill, 12. Nathan Brown, 13. Josh Pentland, 14. Rory Campbell, 15. Jack Owens, 16. Lee Barlow, 17. Ryan Clarke, 18. Stuart Doddington, 19. Graham Curtis, 20. Andy Bryans. Neil Alcorn was a late cry off due to illness and was replaced by Stuart Doddington.
With four rounds left in the UBL and a crucial game away to Galwegians on the 3rd March coaches Paddy Armstrong, Josh Pentland, Mark Taylor and Chris Henry will ensure the team continue to focus on one game at a time before they complete their fixtures with home games against Cashel and Nenagh Ormond and Highfield away.
Malone 1st xv have a rearranged Ulster Premiership game a way to Ballymena on Thursday night at Eaton Park with a 7.45PM kick off.
Davy Heron and his second team were delighted to get a run out away to Ballymena seconds in the 2nd xv league winning 43 – 0 . Malone points scorers were Jonny Ogilby 2 x tries, Daniel Henry, Connor Kelly, Callum Jeffrey, Davy Irvine and Ryan Spence 1 x try each with Bruce Duff kicking 4 x conversions.
Malone team: 1. Ricky Greenwood 9Captain), 2. Connor Kelly, 3. Philip Eadie, 4. Tiarnan Dillon, 5. Aaron McKecknie, 6. Daniel Henry, 7. Tom Dullage, 8. Jonny Ogilby, 9. Callum Jeffrey, 10. Bruce Duff, 11. Jamie Ashenhurst, 12. Davy Irvine, 13. Ryan Spence, 14. Jack McMurtry, 15. Jack Knox.
Malone seconds begin their defence of the McCrea Cup with a home quarter final against Academy on Saturday the 24th February with a 2.30PM kick off at Gibson Park.
All support will be welcome.
Malone 3rds made the long journey to the North West coming away from the Craig Thompson stadium with a 33 – 10 win over City of Derry seconds. The win moved them back to the top of Ulster Rugby provincial League 2 with leaders Rainey OB seconds losing 35 – 19 away to Grosvenor seconds. Rainey are still well placed to win the league. They have two games in hand and are four points behind Malone 3rds.
Malone 4ths drew 5 – 5 away to Ophir 1st xv to remain in 5th place in Provincial league 4.