Solomons hits out at Celtic League changes

ULSTER COACH Alan Solomons has hit out at plans to reduce the Celtic League programme ahead of this evening’s Irish derby clash with Munster at Ravenhill (7.30 kick-off).

Although he is leaving at the end of May, Solomons is in no doubt that the present format for the league should be maintained or even increased and not cut as has been hinted.

“The league should stay the same. Players need games, and the more fixtures you have the more money it will bring in. That would be the same for all provinces,” he said.

Solomons was talking as Ulster prepared for their 24th competitive fixture of the season, and he admits it is going to be another tough game.

“We don’t enjoy not being at the top of the league but there is a long way to go. There has been a number of games we should have won like Connacht, Glasgow and Gwent Dragons and we now must make sure we get the wins we need.

“They have a very good back line and have only lost Peter Stringer and Ronan O’Gara to Ireland.

“They will have Rob Henderson, Jason Jones Hughes, Jason Holland, John Kelly and Christian Cullen.

“Our forwards will have to perform and we will need to keep our discipline and stay focused for the full 80 minutes as lapses in concentration has let us down in the last two games.”

lRoyal School Armagh have qualified to face Campbell College in the Ulster Schools Cup final on St Patrick’s Day after a merited 16-10 victory over Ballymena Academy yesterday.

Armagh out-muscled their opponents up front with tries from winger Phillip McAllister and John McCall while Adam Bartholomew dropped a goal and Jonathan Gillespie kicked a penalty.

Ballymena, who had lock forward Richard Boyd stretchered off with a serious facial injury midway through the second half, scored an injury-time try through James Taggart with James Ritchie adding the conversion.

ULSTER: B Cunningham; J Topping, S Stewart, P Steinmetz, S Young; A Larkin, K Campbell; B McCormack, P Shields, R Moore, M Mustchin, M McCullough, N Best, N McMillan, A Ward.

Replacements: M Sexton, B Young, R Frost, W Brosnihan, N Doak, P Wallace, S Mallon.

MUNSTER: C. Cullen, M. Lawlor, J. Kelly, R. Henderson, A. Horgan, J. Holland, E. Reddan; J. Williams, D. Wallace, S. Keogh, D. Pusey, T. Hayes, G. Mcilwham, J. Flanery, F. Roche.

Replacements: J. Blaney, M. Cahill, E. Halvey/ D. Ryan, P. Malone, F. Murphy, C. O'Sullivan, S. Payne.

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