Caolan Dooley’s 30-point kicking masterclass saw Terenure College dethrone Clontarf in a record-breaking 50-24 Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A final win at the Aviva Stadium.




Aviva Stadium

Scorers: Clontarf: Tries: Aitzol Arenzana King, JJ O’Dea, Alex Soroka, Brian Deeny; Cons: Steve Crosbie, Conor Kelly
Terenure College: Tries: Adam La Grue, Craig Adams, Stephen O’Neill, Conall Boomer; Cons: Caolan Dooley 3; Pens: Caolan Dooley 8
HT: Clontarf 10 Terenure College 18

With Adam La Grue, Craig Adams, Stephen O’Neill and Conall Boomer crossing for tries, Terenure avenged last year’s defeat as they won their first ever AIL top flight title, adding to March’s maiden Bateman Cup success.

Limerick man Dooley, the Energia player-of-the-match, landed eight penalties and three conversions, missing just one kick in front of an Aviva Stadium record AIL final crowd of 8,642.

The 23-year-old centre was superb from the tee, continuing his form from the semi-final against Cork Constitution when he kicked 20 points.

Despite the pressure exerted by Clontarf’s dominant scrum, Sean Skehan’s men cancelled out tries from Aitzol Arenzana King and JJ O’Dea with a late brace of their own for an unlikely 18-10 half-time lead.

La Grue stunned the defending champions with a 35th-minute intercept try, and then Adams pounced for another long-range breakaway score, converted by Dooley who had kicked two earlier penalties.

A try from Leinster’s Alex Soroka lifted ‘Tarf at 21-17 down, but Dooley’s ultra-reliable right boot – banging them over from all angles – kept ‘Nure in control of the scoreboard, leaving it 30-17 on the hour mark.

They cut loose for two more tries, replacement Boomer setting up O’Neill and then finishing off a La Grue-inspired break. The only consolation for Andy Wood’s well-beaten side was the sight of replacement Brian Deeny touching down past the 80-minute mark.

Following a minute’s applause to mark the passing of their former club captain David Coleman, Terenure quickly got down to business. A third-minute penalty from Dooley, from just outside the 10-metre line, opened the scoring.

Clontarf signalled their intent by winning two early scrum penalties, an Alan Bennie turnover briefly thwarting them. Flanker O’Dea led their next surge and Arenzana King acrobatically scored one-handed from Steve Crosbie’s skip pass.

The touchline conversion from Crosbie faded wide before a Mick Kearney lineout steal halted Terenure’s progress. Midway through the first half, a neat back-line move had Tadhg Bird bursting into the ‘Nure 22.

Clontarf clinically built through the phases, with Angus Lloyd’s passing putting his team-mates into gaps. Dylan Donnellan carried up close before a big clear-out by Kearney allowed O’Dea to crash over from a ruck.

Dooley’s second penalty quickly cut the gap to 10-6, rewarding scrum half Bennie’s initial break and captain Harrison Brewer’s work at the breakdown. Brewer followed up with another turnover penalty back in the ‘Nure 22.

Brewer and Luke Clohessy continued to frustrate the north Dubliners at the breakdown, and following an overthrown ‘Tarf lineout, La Grue gleefully swooped on a Hugh Cooney pass for his 50-metre run-in.

Although they were struggling to get within reach of the ‘Tarf try-line, Skehan’s charges finished the first half with two tries.

Callum Smith’s kick from deep caused trouble for Tony Ryan, and Adams gobbled up the breaking ball and evaded Cooney’s tackle to romp clear from halfway.

Dooley converted from straight in front and extended ‘Nure’s lead to 11 points early in the second period, albeit that injury had the influential Brewer sitting out the third quarter.

An incisive Matt D’Arcy-led attack, which earned a penalty, allowed ‘Tarf pack to chip away, flanker Soroka having a couple of bites at the line before muscling in beside the posts, with Kearney on the latch. Crosbie converted.

Nonetheless, within six minutes, Dooley had reopened a 10-point lead (27-17) by twice punishing ‘Tarf for no clear release. The title holders’ lineout was also malfunctioning badly, much to the delight of the vocal Terenure support.

When O’Dea failed to roll away after a tackle, another booming strike from Dooley sailed between the posts. The mistakes kept coming from the table toppers, both at lineout time and with ball in hand.

The fresh-legged Boomer then rampaged clear off the back of a scrum, showing some excellent pace. His well-timed pass sent O’Neill over untouched in the right corner, with Dooley adding a textbook conversion.

It was fitting for winger O’Neill to score, having missed last season’s decider through injury when he was skipper.

The ‘Nure faithful were in dreamland now, two more Dooley place-kicks rubbing salt into ‘Tarf wounds, the latter of which came from a scrum infringement.

Lovely hands from full-back La Grue released Adams down the left touchline with three minutes remaining, Boomer getting in to pick from the ruck, dummy inside Bird and score in the corner. Dooley’s final kick was a beauty from right in front of a throng of ‘Nure fans.

Having conceded a half-century of points, ‘Tarf only had pride to play for in the dying seconds. Leinster Academy winger Arenzana King beat a couple of defenders, raiding towards the posts before Deeny profited from quick ruck ball to have the final say.

TIME LINE: 3 minutes – Terenure College penalty: Caolan Dooley – 0-3; 11 mins – Clontarf try: Aitzol Arenzana King – 5-3; conversion: missed by Steve Crosbie – 5-3; 21 mins – Clontarf try: JJ O’Dea – 10-3; conversion: missed by Steve Crosbie – 10-3; 26 mins – Terenure College penalty: Caolan Dooley – 10-6; 35 mins – Terenure College try: Adam La Grue – 10-11; conversion: missed by Caolan Dooley – 10-11; 40+1 mins – Terenure College try: Craig Adams – 10-16; conversion: Caolan Dooley – 10-18; Half-time – Clontarf 10 Terenure College 18; 43 mins – Terenure College penalty: Caolan Dooley – 10-21; 50 mins – Clontarf try: Alex Soroka – 15-21; conversion: Steve Crosbie – 17-21; 53 mins – Terenure College penalty: Caolan Dooley – 17-24; 56 mins – Terenure College penalty: Caolan Dooley – 17-27; 61 mins – Terenure College penalty: Caolan Dooley – 17-30; 66 mins – Terenure College try: Stephen O’Neill – 17-35; conversion: Caolan Dooley – 17-37; 71 mins – Terenure College penalty: Caolan Dooley – 17-40; 76 mins – Terenure College penalty: Caolan Dooley – 17-43; 78 mins – Terenure College try: Conall Boomer – 17-48; conversion: Conall Boomer – 17-50; 80+2 mins – Clontarf try: Brian Deeny – 22-50; conversion: Conor Kelly – 24-50; Full-time – Clontarf 24 Terenure College 50

CLONTARF: Tadhg Bird; Aitzol Arenzana King, Hugh Cooney, Matt D’Arcy (capt), Michael Brown; Steve Crosbie, Angus Lloyd; Ivan Soroka, Dylan Donnellan, Ben Griffin, Fionn Gilbert, Mick Kearney, Alex Soroka, JJ O’Dea, Tony Ryan.

Replacements used: JP Phelan for Griffin (32 mins),Ben Murphy for Lloyd (45), Brian Deeny for Gilbert, Griffin for Phelan (both 50), Conor Kelly for Crosbie (56), Cian O’Donoghue for Brown (71), Darragh Bolger for I Soroka (73), Cathal O’Flynn for Donnellan (76). Not used: Ed Kelly.

TERENURE COLLEGE: Adam La Grue; Stephen O’Neill, Colm de Buitléar, Caolan Dooley, Craig Adams; Callum Smith, Alan Bennie; Marcus Hanan, Levi Vaughan, Adam Tuite, Harrison Brewer (capt), Mick Melia, Adam Melia, Luke Clohessy, Jordan Coghlan.

Replacements used: Matthew Caffrey for Brewer (half-time), Campbell Classon for Hanan, Andy Keating for Tuite (both 50 mins), Conall Boomer for A Melia (58), Brewer for Clohessy (60), Henry McErlean for de Buitléar (71), Robbie Smyth for Vaughan, Conor McKeon for Bennie, Cathal Marsh for Smith (all 76).

Referee: Peter Martin (IRFU)

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Reproduced from Irish Rugby

Ben Brady