Table toppers Lansdowne and defending champions Clontarf will have home advantage in the Division 1A semi-finals after a tumultuous final day in the Ulster Bank League.
Next weekend’s semi-final clashes will pit Lansdowne against fourth-placed Cork Constitution, who will defend their Bateman Cup title at Old Belvedere the following Saturday, and Clontarf will host third-ranked Young Munster at Castle Avenue.
With top-scoring winger Daniel McEvoy notching his 11th league try, Lansdowne finished top of the pile on scoring difference following their 40-17 bonus point dismissal of lowly Garryowen who will host Old Wesley in a play-off next Sunday.
Former Ireland Under-20 international Conor O’Brien touched down twice in Clontarf’s action-packed 37-28 bonus point win over UCD, while backs Ned Hodson and Michael Clune bagged braces as Cork Con got the better of St. Mary’s on a 34-27 scoreline.
Dublin University clawed clear of the relegation zone with Tim Maupin’s stunning last-minute try, which started in their own 22, earning them a 27-25 victory over Terenure College. Trinity director of rugby Tony Smeeth, whose young side finished sixth in their first season in the top flight, beamed afterwards: “It was just unbelievable. I can’t describe it really. I didn’t think we were going to win. That was the try of the year that last one. You won’t see many tries better than that in College Park.”
Munster centre Dan Goggin had a try double in Young Munster’s runaway 33-12 bonus point success at relegated Old Belvedere. Teenage out-half Alan Tynan contributed 13 points, including a first half try.
Meanwhile, new Division 1B champions Buccaneers hammered Ballynahinch 40-10 at Dubarry Park. Number 8 and captain Kolo Kiripati kicked a conversion in his final game for the club and prolific winger Jordan Conroy scored his 18th try of a stellar campaign.
Rodger McBurney’s first half try guided Ballymena to a 13-10 home win over Shannon and Division 1B safety, while the losing bonus point ensured an eighth place finish for the Limerick men. Naas relegated Galwegians with a 27-16 defeat in Glenina, Johne Murphy’s side securing a second place finish and a home play-off against UL Bohemians
A second half brace from Paul Harte saw Old Wesley defeat UCC 19-5 and tee up a play-off trip to Dooradoyle, while Barry Keeshan kicked 11 points as relegation-threatened Dolphin upset UL 16-10. David Corkery’s charges will host Malone in the play-offs.
Banbridge were crowned Division 2A champions and secured promotion in some style with a 40-12 triumph at Sunday’s Well. It is Bann first’s league title since their Ulster Qualifying League 1 success of 1998.
Greystones, the league’s leading scorers with 663 points, took the Division 2B honours with a 45-10 win at home to Old Crescent. Paudie Geoghegan and Eoin Marmion scored two tries apiece. Former captain and club centurion Simon Hogan ran in the clinching try for Navan in their Division 2C title shootout with Sligo. Alan Kingsley’s first-time champions won 15-5 at Balreask Old, just six days on from the Navan Under-20s’ historic Fraser McMullen Cup win.
Full results available – http://www.irishrugby.ie/news/39508.php
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE – DIVISIONAL RUNDOWN:
DIVISION 1A –
Division 1A semi-finalists: Lansdowne (1st), Clontarf (2nd), Young Munster (3rd), Cork Constitution (4th)
Division 1A semi-finals: Weekend of April 22-23: Lansdowne (1st) v Cork Constitution (4th), Aviva Stadium; Clontarf (2nd) v Young Munster (3rd), Castle Avenue; Division 1A final: Aviva Stadium, Sunday, May 7
Relegated: Old Belvedere (automatic); Garryowen (Division 1A promotion/relegation play-offs)
DIVISION 1B –
Division 1B champions/Promoted: Buccaneers
Division 1A promotion/relegation play-off semi-finals: Sunday, April 23: Garryowen (9th Div 1A) v Old Wesley (4th Div 1B), Dooradoyle, 2.30pm; Naas (2nd Div 1B) v UL Bohemians (3rd Div 1B), Forenaughts, 2.30pm; Division 1A promotion/relegation play-off final: Saturday, April 29
Relegated: Galwegians (automatic); Dolphin (Division 1B promotion/relegation play-offs)
DIVISION 2A –
Division 2A champions/Promoted: Banbridge
Division 1B promotion/relegation play-off semi-finals: Sunday, April 23: Dolphin (9th Div 1B) v Malone (4th Div 2A), Irish Independent Park, 2pm; Saturday, April 22: Highfield (2nd Div 2A) v Nenagh Ormond (3rd Div 2A), Woodleigh Park, 1.30pm; Division 1B promotion/relegation play-off final: Saturday, April 29
Relegated: Belfast Harlequins (automatic); Sunday’s Well (Division 2A promotion/relegation play-offs)
DIVISION 2B –
Division 2B champions/Promoted: Greystones
Division 2A promotion/relegation play-off semi-finals: Sunday April 23: Sunday’s Well (9th Div 2A) v Old Crescent (4th Div 2B), Irish Independent Park, 4pm; Saturday, April 22: Armagh (2nd Div 2B) v Wanderers (3rd Div 2B), Palace Grounds, 2.30pm; Division 2A promotion/relegation play-off final: Saturday, April 29
Relegated: Thomond (automatic); Bective Rangers (Division 2B promotion/relegation play-offs)
DIVISION 2C –
Division 2C champions/Promoted: Navan
Division 2B promotion/relegation play-off semi-finals: Saturday, April 22: Bective Rangers (9th Div 2B) v Tullamore (4th Div 2C), Donnybrook, 2.30pm; Sligo (2nd Div 2C) v Rainey Old Boys (3rd Div 2C), Hamilton Park, 2.30pm; Division 2B promotion/relegation play-off final: Saturday, April 29
Relegated: Kanturk (automatic); (Boyne (home advantage in Division 2C promotion/relegation play-off)
ALL-IRELAND PROVINCIAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP –
Round Robin champions/Promoted: Malahide
Division 2C promotion/relegation play-off: Boyne v Round Robin runners-up (Omagh or Clonmel), Saturday, April 29