Ulster Bank League: Lansdowne and Clontarf earn home semi-finals

Dublin University claw their way clear of relegation zone with stunning last-minute try

Lansdowne’s Daniel McEvoy on the attack against Garryowen. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Lansdowne’s Daniel McEvoy on the attack against Garryowen. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

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, while 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 playoff 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 34-27.

Dublin University clawed their way clear of the relegation zone with Tim Maupin’s stunning last-minute try, which started in their own 22, earning them a 27-25 win 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.”

Runaway

Munster centre Dan Goggin scored two tries in Young Munster’s runaway 33-12 bonus-point success at relegated Old Belvedere. Teenage outhalf Alan Tynan contributed 13 points, including a first-half try.

Meanwhile, new Division 1B champions Buccaneers hammered Ballynahinch 40-10 at Dubarry Park. Number eight 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 playoff against UL Bohemians

A second-half brace from Paul Harte saw Old Wesley defeat UCC 19-5 and tee up a playoff 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 playoffs.

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 One 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.

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