Garryowen relegated from top tier
Defeat to St Mary’s seals fate, Ballynahinch record third consecutive bonus-point win
Barry Lee of Galwegians with Colin Mitchell of Rainey Old Boys at Crowley Park. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy / Inpho
Garryowen’s relegation from Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League was confirmed when they were beaten 40-26 by St Mary’s College at Templeville Road.
They put up a good performance in the first half, scoring three tries to lead 19-12 but St Mary’s upped the pace after the interval. The home side crossed for six tries in all, two of them coming from Marcus O’Driscoll.
Unfortunately for Garryowen, the team immediately in front of them Ballynahinch have pulled well clear with a series of bonus-point victories. The latest of them came at Ballymacarn Park where they got the better of UCD 29-14.
After trailing at the interval, Ballynahinch hit back with three second half tries to secure their third bonus-point win on the trot. Their outstanding number eight Michael Graham crossed for two of their six tries.
More than likely, Ballynahinch will find themselves involved in a promotion-relegation match against the Division 1B runners-up Buccaneers.
They still have a slim chance of avoiding that situation, trailing Dolphin by four points and Young Munster by five, but they face a really tough final fixture away to Clontarf next Saturday.
Young Munster had to be satisfied with a losing bonus point after losing 24-23 at home to Cork Constitution. Constitution scrumhalf Gerry Hurley finished with 14 points, kicking four penalties and converting a try from Darragh Lyons.
Terenure College, having already gained promotion, now look likely to go through their Division 1B campaign with a 100 per cent record.
Their 17th successive victory of the season saw them demolish bottom side Dungannon 44-10 at Stevenson Park, Alex Dunlop getting two tries.
Buccaneers made certain of second spot with a hard earned 24-23 home win over another of the leading challengers UL Bohemians. Kolo Kiripati scored two of their four tries.
Corinthians saw their promotion ambitions end when they unexpectedly lost 21-13 at home to Belfast Harlequins.
The Ulster club’s victory means that either Blackrock College or Malone will go down along with Dungannon.
Blackrock are the more likely to be relegated after losing 26-12 to Dublin University at Stradbrook.
Malone pulled four points clear of them by surprisingly trouncing Shannon 27-7 at Thomond Park.
Galwegians and Ballymena have been promoted from Division 2A with Nenagh Ormond and Skerries gaining automatic promotion from Division 2B.
It was also a good weekend for Wanderers who will return to senior rugby, in the shape of Division 2B, after winning the All-Ireland round-robin qualifying series.