Clontarf continued their march towards the Ulster Bank League title with a bonus point victory over Garryowen at Castle Avenue on Saturday.
The Division 1A table toppers laid the groundwork with three converted tries in the first half, the best of them being a 70-metre dash from centre Killian Lett,and surged clear of a determined Garryowen side after the break.Noel Reid and Adrian D’Arcy nabbed a brace apiece and captain Barry O’Mahony also crossed the whitewash, helping ‘Tarf move a point clear of second-placed St. Mary’s whom they meet next time out.
The north Dubliners lost prop Ben Barclay to an early injury, but Kenny Dorian was a more than adequate replacement in the scrum.
‘Tarf took the lead when Lett, one of the division’s leading lights this season, gobbled up a loose ball near his 22 and outstripped the Garryowen cover for a superb solo try.
Richie Lane’s conversion was cancelled out by a penalty from Garryowen centre Declan Cusack, who added another soon after for a 7-6 scoreline and the visitors certainly looked up for the challenge.
But Andy Wood’s men, who boast a 100% home record in this season’s league, pushed on after that and their pack really took over during a short period of dominance.
A penalty try was converted by Lane and a terrific maul drive sent the Light Blues backwards right on half-time, allowing the tricky Reid to glide in for a seven-pointer out wide.
Leinster prospect Reid scooted over for his second try and ‘Tarf’s bonus point score, early in the second period, to effectively end the game as a contest.
Charging flanker D’Arcy got in on the try-scoring act by dummying a couple of Garryowen defenders for the home side’s fifth, which went unconverted after Lane hit an upright.
Garryowen got into the game again after Clontarf scrum half Dermot O’Meara was sin-binned. Their talented centre Corey Hircock made it four tries in two games for himself with a brace in the closing 30 minutes.
However, the division’s front runners were never really troubled and completed their seven-try tally with a second from D’Arcy and a trademark burst from O’Mahony, who thundered through from inside his own half.
Speaking atfer the game, Clontarf boss Wood said: “We made too many mistakes and they were stretching us defensively. But the tries before half-time settled us down. Once the game opened up, we did what we had to do.
“It sets it up perfectly for the St. Mary’s match. I wasn’t surprised that they came back to win against Cork Con, they are a very good side.
“I definitely see the St. Mary’s game as a 50/50 encounter. To be honest, it’s who turns up and who is more accurate on the day.”
Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU)