Clontarf facing UCD rematch in league semi-final
There will be two provincial derbies in next Saturday's Ulster Bank League Division 1A semi-finals, while Galwegians were relegated on a dramatic final day of the regular season.
Already assured of top spot and a home semi-final, tries from Evan Ryan, Mick McGrath (his 13th of the campaign) and young replacement Neil Reilly steered Clontarf to a 25-12 home win over UCD.
The league leaders will host the fourth-placed students again at Castle Avenue next weekend, with the other semi-final being all-Munster affair between Cork Constitution and Young Munster.
Munsters had home advantage in their grasp with a 22-3 defeat of dethroned champions Lansdowne, which included a 12-point haul from centre Gearoid Lyons.
However, Cork Con pipped them to second place as late tries from Aaron Spring - his fifth in as many games - and Niall Kenneally saw them secure a decisive bonus point in their 26-16 victory against Galwegians.
It was a disastrous result for Galwegians who fell to bottom spot and were automatically relegated.
Ballynahinch pulled off the first part of a possible 'great escape' by hammering Garryowen 59-5 to move above 'Wegians on scoring difference.
'Hinch had a lot of work to do when leading 14-0 at half-time, but they took advantage of three yellow cards for the Light Blues as they tallied up nine tries in all, including three from influential half-backs Aaron Cairns (2) and Sam Windsor.
The Co Down side still have an uphill task on their hands, though, as they must defeat Buccaneers and also the winners of Dublin University v Ballymena in the relegation/promotion play-offs to retain their top-flight status.
Terenure College, beaten semi-finalists last year, avoided the relegation dogfight with an eighth-place finish, copperfastened by their 36-14 bonus-point success against Old Belvedere.
In Division 1B, Buccaneers claimed the final promotion play-off place despite going down 23-12 at Shannon as Old Wesley were beaten 24-23 at home by UL Bohemians.
Div 1A - Semi-finals (Saturday): Clontarf v UCD, Cork Constitution v Young Munster (3rd).
Relegation/Promotion play-offs (Saturday): Ballynahinch (9th Div 1A) v Buccaneers (4th Div 1B), Dublin Univ (2nd Div 1B) v Ballymena (3rdDiv 1B). Winners play each other to decide final Div 1A team for next season. Relegated: Galwegians
Div 1B - Champions: St Mary's College. Relegation/Promotion play-offs (Saturday): Blackrock (9th Div 1B) v Cashel (4th Div 2A), Banbridge (2nd Div 2A) v UCC (3rd Div 2A).
Relegated: Belfast Harlequins