AIL round-up: Clontarf and Terenure College to meet for second year in Division 1A decider

Reigning champions Clontarf edged out Young Munster 13-12 in a tense tussle at Castle Avenue

Clontarf’s Dylan Donnellan celebrates scoring a try during the Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A semi-final against Young Munster at Castle Avenue. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Clontarf and Terenure College will meet in a repeat of last year’s Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A final when this season’s title race is decided at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, May 7th.

The Dublin rivals, the top two finishers in the table, won through to the decider in contrasting style, with reigning champions Clontarf edging out Young Munster 13-12 in a tense tussle at Castle Avenue.

The Lakelands Park faithful roared Terenure on to their second successive final appearance which was sealed by a 30-12 victory over Cork Constitution. Caolan Dooley kicked 20 points and Adam La Grue and Jordan Coghlan claimed a try each.

Cork Con gave themselves a mountain to climb when falling 18 points behind in wet conditions. Two early Dooley penalties gave Terenure the upper hand, the first coming from a scrum penalty on the 10-metre line.


‘Nure’s backs gave a glimpse of their attacking class in the 22nd minute when quick hands releasing fullback La Grue for the left corner. Number eight Coghlan crossed six minutes later, with Con’s defence missing sinbinned centre Niall Kenneally.

Jonny Holland’s men were unable to convert some late pressure into points before half-time, but replacement James Murphy barged over in the 49th minute – followed by an Aidan Moynihan conversion – to reduce the arrears to 18-7.

Young Munster’s Fionn Gibbons with Michael Courtney of Clontarf during the sides' clash at Castle Avenue on Saturday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘Nure, who are gunning for a League and Cup double, turned to goalkicking winger Dooley to settle things down again. His reliable right boot banged over two more penalties to leave 17 points in it with 13 minutes remaining.

Con did rally again with a Cathal O’Flaherty try in the corner, but a late brace of Dooley kicks – the last one from far out – ensured Seán Skehan’s side got the job done in clinical fashion.

Meanwhile, fourth-place finishers Young Munster fell agonisingly short of dethroning Clontarf who relied on hooker Dylan Donnellan’s 22nd try of the season to reach their third straight league final.

The sides were locked level on six points apiece at the break, as fullback Tadhg Bird and Conor Hayes landed two kicks each. The slippery ball made for a tight forwards-dominated contest and there was little in it.

A second Bird kick reward the home scrum on the half-hour mark, and Munsters did leave points behind them despite levelling. A costly knock-on robbed them of a try-scoring position, while Hayes had two misses from the kicking tee.

The Cookies led 9-6 entering the final quarter, as Hayes was able to fire over brilliantly from 40 metres out to reward Ronan O’Sullivan’s breakdown work.

Both teams had to cope with yellow cards, the hosts losing Steve Crosbie and Munster Academy centre Fionn Gibbons was also binned. ‘Tarf seemed to react the better, winning a couple of scrum penalties to put themselves back on the front foot.

It was their ball-carrying power that propelled Donnellan over in the 63rd-minute, his quick tap and surge to the line continuing his incredible try-scoring run.

The Galway-born frontrower, who previously played for Biarritz Olympique and Yorkshire Carnegie, was also Division 1A’s top try scorer last year with 19 tries.

Young Munster’s David Begley reacts after his side's loss to Clontarf at Castle Avenue on Saturday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Bird tagged on a crucial conversion, and despite Hayes taking his tally to a dozen points with just over 10 minutes remaining, Munsters ran out of time as ‘Tarf booked a return trip to the Aviva.

Shannon moved within 80 minutes of retaining their top-flight status after beating Old Wesley 24-6 in the promotion/relegation playoff semi-final.

Trailing to two Ian Cassidy penalties, Shannon replied with two tries, including a Jordan Prenderville maul effort. A final play score from Josh Costello made it a four-try success.

Former captain Chris Banon used an 8-9 scrum move with Miah Cronin to score a decisive 50th-minute try for Highfield, who ended Old Belvedere’s hopes by winning 19-17 at Ollie Campbell Park. They will travel to Thomond Park for the final.

Banbridge will be playing Division 2A rugby next season after losing 20-18 to MU Barnhall in their playoff clash. 15 unanswered first-half points set the tone for the Blue Bulls whose promotion hopes hinge on a May 6th final against Blackrock College at Stradbrook.

A converted try from Peter Quirke, with five minutes remaining, saw Blackrock squeeze past Nenagh Ormond on a 10-8 scoreline. James Blaney’s men are striving for back-to-back promotions after coming up from Division 2B last season via the playoffs.

There were two more closely-fought games in the Division 2A promotion/relegation playoff semi-finals. Calum Goddard and Kuba Wojtkowicz both crossed for Sligo in response to Ignacio Garcia’s early try, but a late penalty from Harry Byrne, who finished with 11 points, saw UL Bohemians prevail 16-14.

Dungannon will be away to UL Bohs in the deciding game, having got the better of Galway Corinthians to take a 16-12 verdict. Dungannon struck for two tries, sandwiching a Matthew Devine score, in a performance that paid tribute to the club’s late coach and manager Billy Brown.

Galwegians suffered relegation at the hands of Bruff who won their Division 2B promotion/relegation playoff semi-final 24-12. With Bruff’s maul a big weapon, tries either side of the hour mark from Tom Quigley and Pa Maher did the damage for the Limerick men at Crowley Park.

Skerries, the second place finishers in Division 2C, will have home advantage in the promotion decider. They advanced to face Bruff after a quartet of penalties from fullback Ronan Mulcahy saw them overcome Tullamore 12-3 at Holmpatrick.


CLONTARF 13 (Try: Dylan Donnellan; Con: Tadhg Bird; Pens: Tadhg Bird 2) YOUNG MUNSTER 12 (Pens: Conor Hayes 4), Castle Avenue

CLONTARF: Tadhg Bird; Michael Brown, Michael Courtney, Matt D’Arcy, Cian O’Donoghue; Steve Crosbie, Angus Lloyd; Ivan Soroka, Dylan Donnellan, Ben Griffin, Fionn Gilbert, Ed Kelly, Mick Kearney, JJ O’Dea, Tony Ryan. Replacements: Cathal O’Flynn, Darragh Bolger, Ed Brennan, Sam Owens, Conor Kelly, JP Phelan, Paul Deeny.

YOUNG MUNSTER: Conor Hayes; Shay McCarthy, Fionn Gibbons, Harry Fleming, Conor Phillips; Jack Lyons, Donnchadh O’Callaghan; David Begley, Mark O’Mara, Conor Bartley, Sean Rigney, Alan Kennedy (capt), Bailey Faloon, Ronan O’Sullivan, John Foley. Replacements: Conor Nesbitt, George Jacobs, Paul Allen, Tom Goggin, James Horrigan, Evan Cusack, Luke Fitzgerald, Stephen Lyons.

TERENURE COLLEGE 30 (Tries: Adam La Grue, Jordan Coghlan; Con: Caolan Dooley; Pens: Caolan Dooley 6) CORK CONSTITUTION 12 (Tries: James Murphy, Cathal O’Flaherty; Con: Aidan Moynihan), Lakelands Park

TERENURE COLLEGE: Adam La Grue; Caolan Dooley, Colm de Buitléar, Peter Sylvester, Craig Adams; Callum Smith, Alan Bennie; Marcus Hanan, Levi Vaughan, Adam Tuite, Matthew Caffrey, Mick Melia (capt), Adam Melia, Luke Clohessy, Jordan Coghlan. Replacements: Robbie Smyth, Campbell Classon, Andy Keating, Harrison Brewer, Niall Lalor, Conor McKeon, Cathal Marsh, Stephen O’Neill.

CORK CONSTITUTION: George Coomber; Billy Crowley, Harry O’Riordan, Niall Kenneally, Michael Hand; Aidan Moynihan (capt), Gerry Hurley; Brendan Quinlan, Billy Scannell, Luke Masters, Sean Duffy, Eoin Quilter, Jack Kelleher, Ross O’Neill, David Hyland. Replacements: Max Abbott, Alessandro Heaney, Ashley Deane, James Murphy, Cathal O’Flaherty, Louis Kahn, Daniel Hurley, Greg Higgins.


SHANNON 24 (Tries: Jordan Prenderville, Colm Heffernan, Josh Costello, Aran Hehir; Cons: Mike Cooke 2) OLD WESLEY 6 (Pens: Ian Cassidy 2), Thomond Park back pitch

SHANNON: John O’Sullivan; Aran Hehir, Cian O’Halloran, Harry Long, Josh Costello; Mike Cooke, Ethan Coughlan; Conor Glynn, Jordan Prenderville, Darragh McSweeney, Ronan Coffey (capt), Jade Kriel, Daniel Okeke, Colm Heffernan, Lee Nicholas. Replacements: Shane Carew, David Maher, Kelvin Brown, Odhran Ring, Jack O’Donnell, James O’Brien, Cathal Hynes, Luke Rigney.

OLD WESLEY: Alex Molloy; Nathan Randles, James O’Donovan, Eoin Deegan, Tommy O’Callaghan; Ian Cassidy, Gary Bradley; Harry Noonan, Howard Noonan, Cronan Gleeson, David Motyer, Iain McGann (capt), Will Fay, Dom Maclean, Sam Pim. Replacements: Finn Tierney, Sam Kenny, Rob Loftus, Josh O’Hare, Adrien Charbonnier, David Poff, Keith Kavanagh, Eoin Monahan.

OLD BELVEDERE 17 (Tries: Calum Dowling, Connor Owende; Cons: Mick O’Kennedy 2; Pen: Michael O’Kennedy) HIGHFIELD 19 (Tries: Luke Kingston, Daragh Fitzgerald, Chris Banon; Cons: James Taylor 2), Ollie Campbell Park

OLD BELVEDERE: Joe White; Ariel Robles, Jayden Beckett, Mick O’Kennedy, Luke McDermott; David Wilkinson, Peter O’Beirne; James Bollard (capt), Calum Dowling, Ronan Foxe, Fionn McWey, Connor Owende, Óran O’Brien, Tom Mulcair, Kale Thatcher. Replacements: Joe Horan, Jamie Mulhern, Hugh Flood, James Ruddy, Jack Breen, Briain Leonard, Jed Tormey, Jack Keating.

HIGHFIELD: Cian Bohane; Ben Murphy, Liam McCarthy, Mark Dorgan, Luke Kingston; James Taylor, Chris Banon; Cillian Buckley, Travis Coomey, Daragh Fitzgerald, Sean Garrett, Eoin Keating, Dave O’Connell (capt), Amhlaoibh Porter, Miah Cronin. Replacements: Robert Murphy, Ian McCarthy, Niall Downing, Mark Fitzgibbon, John O’Callaghan, Richard Cassidy, Seán Quaid, Gavin O’Leary.


Banbridge 18 MU Barnhall 20, Rifle Park

Blackrock College 10 Nenagh Ormond 8, Stradbrook


UL Bohemians 16 Sligo 14, Annacotty

Galway Corinthians 8 Dungannon 12, Corinthian Park


Galwegians 12 Bruff 24, Crowley Park

Skerries 12 Tullamore 3, Holmpatrick