Belfast Harlequins, bolstered by the return of Provincial players, defeated a determined Thomond side by 31 – 7 at Deramore Park in this opening fixture in the AIL 2. Ireland U20 Captain, Niall Annett, crossed late in the second half to secure the bonus point for the home side.

Thomond started the game well, keeping the home side pinned back with Mark Mulvenny impressive in the centre. The visitors came close ten minute in with a midfield break and were unfortunate when the final pass failed to go to hand.

This close call seemed to rally the home side how worked their way up field and following a break by Michael Allen the Belfast side were awarded a penalty with the Thomond fullback Kevin O’Mahoney infringing under the posts. O’Mahoney was yellow carded for his trouble and Quins scrum half Michel Heaney slotted over the points for a 3 – 0 lead.

The home side pressed home their numerical advantage with a try by the impressive Neil McComb after a series of drives close to the Thomond line. The conversion slid wide leaving the score 8 -0.

Thomond continued to press and following a mix up by the home side the visitors were awarded a five meter scrum towards the end of the first half. The ball was recycled quickly after the scrum and fed to prop Ben Rowley who showed a fine turn of pace to blast his way through the defence and score under the posts. Lucan Bosman added the extras for Thomond, taking the half time score to Harlequins 8 Thomond 7.

Harlequins dominated the second half and two penalties by Heaney pushed the score along to 14 – 7 with the home side beginning to relax. McComb and Graham Jewhurst were constant thorns in the visitors line out and Thomond were unable to break out of their own half for any sustained period.

The home sides pressure was eventually made to count when winger Matthew Holmes forced his way over in the corner for his first score after a series of drives with Annett featuring strongly.  Holmes was sent clear minutes later for his second try of the afternoon with the confident winger celebrating from the 10 meter line as he raced home. Heaney converted and at 26 – 7 the game was over.

There was still time for Annett to force his way through a crowd of defenders for that all important bonus point score which went unconverted and as the clock ran down the tempers rose and a bout of fisticuffs broke out between Miles O’Hagan and Thomond’s Brian Buckley with O’Hagan yellow carded in the last minute of the game.

Thomond were unable to take advantage of their numbers and the game ended Harlequins 31 Thomond 7.

Belfast Harlequins: Miles O’Hagan, Matthew Holmes, Michael Allen, William Stewart, John Higgins, Mark Kettle, Michael Heaney, Robert Logan, Niall Annett, Mark McGrath, Graham Jewhurst, Neil McComb, Danny Annett, Alistair Scott, Alistair Heatlie, Austin Blackburn, Tim Morton, Paul Rea, Keith Pyper, David Creighton.

Thomond: Kevin O’Mahoney, Brandon Grant, Mark Mulvanney, Henry O’Neil, Mark Cosgrave, Lucan Bosman, Anthony Hartley, David Quinn, Mike Long, Ben Rowley, David Foley, Brian Buckley, John Barry, Len Slattery, Diarmuid, Ryan, Ciaran Mooney, Geoff O’Donoghue, John Sheehan, Mark Rowly, Colin Liston.



  1. Belfast Harlequins 31 – Thomond 7 match picture 74 of 92 is of my son, Matthew Holmes scoring a try after sprinting from his own half. Would an 8″ x 6″ print of this be possible?
    John Holmes

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