Thrilling finish looks on

THE scene is set for a grandstand climax to the AIB League as high rollers Cork Constitution, St. Mary’s, Shannon, Dolphin as well as Garryowen and Blackrock continue to slug it out over three more weekends.

Three will advance to the semi-finals, with Old Belvedere and Young Munster set to fight for the fourth spot after both won on Saturday to secure their promotion from Division 1B.

Old Belvedere beat Dungannon 22-17 at Stevenson Park and Young Munster secured their spot in the top division with a 14-12 win over UCC at the Mardyke despite College outscoring the visitors by two tries to one with efforts from centre Andrew Burke and winger Willie Walsh.

Belvedere are at home to Ballynahinch and away to UCC, while Young Munster host Galwegians and then travel to Dubarry Park to play Buccaneers in the last game of the campaign. Neither side, particularly Young Munster, can afford a slip.

In the top flight, Constitution travel to meet St. Mary’s and UL Bohs before hosting Dolphin in the last game on April 10; a key fixture will be the clash with St. Mary’s. One victory from three should be enough to secure a place in the last four, although coach Brian Walsh will naturally be aiming for more.

Dolphin are still hanging in and can push for inclusion with victory over Blackrock in the penultimate game, while Garryowen look bankers to beat UL Bohs before taking on Shannon, and Blackrock have to win the home clash with Dolphin to give themselves a sporting chance.

Meanwhile in Division 2, Lansdowne continued their winning ways albeit with a very narrow victory (3-0) over Highfield at the RDS.

The interest here centres on the battle for second between DLSP and Bruff. Old Crescent did Bruff a favour by beating the Leinster side 12-10 and Bruff took maximum advantage yesterday when they beat Old Wesley 21-16 at Donnybrook. Bruff secured the win with two late penalties from the boot of out-half Brian Cahill.

Wesley’s Ross Barbour scored an opening try but it was cancelled out by Bruff full-back Brendan Deady, who picked an awkward ball to finish. It got even better for the Limerick club when number eight Mike Carroll slipped a tackle for their second try and a 12-8 lead at the break.

The home side owned the ball for the third-quarter, but a Smith penalty was quickly replicated by Bruff out-half Cahill to re-establish the four-point gap.

Fleet-of-foot Johnson hared down the left for Wesley to claim his second try in the 67th minute before Bruff’s Cahill converted nervelessly from two kicks in the 76th and 79th minutes.

In Division 3, Queens continued their merry way at the top with the students handing out a real hiding to Wanderers (59-7) at Merrion Road. Midleton lost at Portadown but the three teams directly beneath them, Banbridge, Nenagh Ormond and Sunday’s Well all lost.

OLD WESLEY: R Barbour; A Thompson, B Doherty (A Large 59), B Hastings, R Johnson; D Smith (M Hastings 78), D O’Leary; R Dempsey, J Kerins, J Rowe, P Hosie (capt), J Carroll, R Morrow, K Cabena (R Gleeson 46), R Murphy.

BRUFF: B Deady (N Riordan 35); P Thompson, J Malone, J Carroll, A Cashman; B Cahill (capt), T Cahill; S Foster (M Lynch 58), C O’Regan, G Ryan, A Bourke, D Murnane (M O’Connell 69), P Malone, J Shine, M Carroll.

Referee: J Peak, IRFU.

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courtsrugbyaib leagueplace: stevenson parkplace: ballynahinchplace: dubarry parkplace: donnybrookplace: merrion roadplace: portadownperson: andrew burkeperson: willie walshperson: brian walshperson: garryowenperson: shannonperson: bruffperson: brian cahillperson: ross barbourperson: brendan deadyperson: mike carrollperson: smithperson: cahillperson: johnsonperson: wesleyperson: r barbourperson: a thompsonperson: b dohertyperson: hastingsperson: r johnsonperson: d smithperson: m hastingsperson: d o’learyperson: r dempseyperson: j kerinsperson: j roweperson: p hosieperson: j carrollperson: r morrowperson: k cabenaperson: r gleesonperson: r murphyperson: b deadyperson: p thompsonperson: j maloneperson: a cashmanperson: b cahillperson: t cahillperson: s fosterperson: o’reganperson: g ryanperson: a bourkeperson: d murnaneperson: m o’connellperson: maloneperson: j shineperson: m carrollorganisation: cork constitutionorganisation: st. mary’sorganisation: dolphinorganisation: garryowenorganisation: blackrockorganisation: old belvedereorganisation: young munsterorganisation: dungannonorganisation: uccorganisation: collegeorganisation: belvedereorganisation: galwegiansorganisation: buccaneersorganisation: constitutionorganisation: ul bohsorganisation: lansdowneorganisation: highfieldorganisation: dlsporganisation: old crescentorganisation: leinsterorganisation: old wesleyorganisation: wesleyorganisation: limerickorganisation: queensorganisation: wanderersorganisation: midletonorganisation: banbridgeorganisation: nenagh ormond
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