All-Ireland League round-up: Terenure and Cork Con seal home semi-finals

Lansdowne and Clontarf also make the Division 1A playoffs; full list of promotion/relegation playoff semi-finals

Shannon's Michael Cooke runs into heavy traffic during the Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A match against UCD at Belfield. Photograph: James Lawlor/Inpho

Terenure College and Cork Constitution duly secured home semi-finals with final day victories in the Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A on Saturday. But the other sides in the top four, Lansdowne and Clontarf, also recorded bonus-point wins to ensure the quartet all carry some momentum into what should be titanic playoffs in two weeks, given only seven points separated them after 18 rounds.

Although Ballynahinch’s own playoff hopes had been dashed a week previously, they put it up to Terenure in front of a good-sized crowd at Ballymacarn Park.

The champions only led 20-10 at the break despite playing with a strong wind, but the pick of their tries, finished off by the recalled Craig Adams 15 minutes from time gave them breathing space. Even then, ‘Hinch scored their third unconverted try by Ryan Wilson before a bonus-point try by Terenure’s Ulster-bound centre Sam Berman sealed first place in the final standings. They will host Lansdowne in a repeat of the semi-final of two years ago.

Similarly, a large home crowd roared on City of Armagh in their efforts to avoid the relegation playoffs at home to a free-flowing Cork Constitution, who scored four of their five tries through their outside backs. Billy Crowley, moved to fullback, scored two as did right winger Daniel Hurley, with Matthew Bowen maintaining his hot form to secure a 40-24 win and home semi-final against Clontarf.

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But the home fans were equally content, as their late bonus-point try, coupled with Shannon’s 33-17 defeat at UCD, meant the latter were consigned to the 1A/1B promotion/relegation playoffs. They will host Old Belvedere, whose 34-29 win away to Naas meant they edged out Highfield, who lost 31-10 to Garryowen, on points difference (+30 to +27).

Garryowen will now take their nine-match winning streak to Energia Park in the other semi-final to face Old Wesley, who maintained their fine form with a 52-15 win over Queen’s. The students will now host Banbridge, while Cashel will be at home to Barnhall, in the 2A playoffs.

Greystones retained their Division 2A status with a 21-10 win at home to Malone, so usurping UL Bohemian, who will host Sligo, long-since qualified, in the 2C playoffs. In the other 2B semi-final Corinthians earned a home tie in Corinthian Park in two weeks’ time against Wanderers courtesy of a 27-26 win in Merrion Road over the same opposition.

Dolphin escaped the drop into 2C, albeit they have to now survive the playoffs, thanks to a 31-17 win at home to Dungannon, as Belfast Harlequins were relegated into the fifth tier after their 22-17 loss away to Malahide.

Dolphin will now host Enniscorthy while Galwegians, seeking a return to 2B, will meet Bruff in another big semi-final in Galway next Saturday week.

Energia All-Ireland League results and playoffs

Saturday, April 20th (2.30)

Division 1A: Ballynahinch 15 Terenure College 34; City of Armagh 24 Cork Constitution 40; Clontarf 31 Dublin University 12; UCD 33 Shannon 17; Young Munster 24 Lansdowne 29.

Semi-finals: Terenure College (1st) v Lansdowne (4th), Lakelands Park; Cork Constitution (2nd) v Clontarf (3rd), Temple Hill. Final: Aviva Stadium, Sunday, April 28th, 4.0 (live on TG4).

Relegated: Dublin University (automatic)

Promotion/relegation playoff semi-final fixtures: Shannon (9th, Div 1A) v Old Belvedere (4th, Div 1B), Thomond Park back pitch; Old Wesley (2nd, Div 1B) v Garryowen (3rd, Div 1B), Energia Park. Final: Saturday, April 27th.

Division 1B: Blackrock College 19 UCC 26; Buccaneers 12 St. Mary’s College 32; Garryowen 31 Highfield 10; Naas 29 Old Belvedere 34; Old Wesley 52 Queen’s 15

Champions/promoted: St Mary’s College

Relegated: Buccaneers (automatic)

Promotion/relegation playoff semi-final fixtures: Queen’s University (9th, Div 1B) v Banbridge (4th, Div 2A), Dub Lane; Cashel (2nd, Div 2A) v MU Barnhall (3rd, Div 2A), Spafield.

Division 2A: Cashel 12 Banbridge 7; Greystones 21 Malone 10; MU Barnhall 26 Old Crescent 17; Navan 15 Ballymena 5; UL Bohemian 16 Nenagh Ormond 25.

Champions/promoted: Nenagh Ormond

Relegated: Malone (automatic)

Promotion/relegation playoff semi-final fixtures: UL Bohemian (9th, Div 2A) v Sligo (4th, Div 2B), Annacotty; Galway Corinthians (2nd, Div 2B) v Wanderers (3rd, Div 2B), Corinthian Park.

Division 2B: Dolphin 31 Dungannon 17; Instonians 76 Skerries 19; Malahide 22 Belfast Harlequins 17; Sligo 17 Rainey 13; Wanderers 26 Galway Corinthians 27.

Champions/promoted: Instonians

Relegated: Belfast Harlequins (automatic)

Promotion/relegation playoff semi-final fixtures: Dolphin (9th, Div 2B) v Enniscorthy (4th, Div 2C), Virgin Media Park; Galwegians (2nd, Div 2C) v Bruff (3rd, Div 2C), Crowley Park.

Division 2C: Bangor 18 Midleton 15; Bruff 19 Clonmel 14; Clogher Valley 41 Ballina 12; Galwegians 31 Tullamore 12; Omagh Academicals 24 Enniscorthy 5.

Champions/promoted: Clogher Valley

Relegated: Ballina (automatic)

All-Ireland Provincial League Championship semi-finals (at Ashbourne RFC): Creggs 17 Ballyclare 32; Thomond 17 Monkstown 33.

Promoted from All-Ireland Provincial League Championship: Ballyclare/Monkstown (1 automatic)

Promotion/relegation playoff final: Bangor (9th, Div 2C) v All-Ireland Provincial League Championship runners-up (Ballyclare/Monkstown), Upritchard Park.

All-Ireland Provincial League Championship final: Ballyclare (Ulster champions) v Monkstown (Leinster champions), venue to be confirmed.

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times