Club scene: The AIL uncovered
Published 16/04/2011 | 05:00
GAME OF THE DAY: Dublin University v UCD,Donnybrook, 2.30
WHO better to stop UCD in their march towards a perfect league season than rivals Trinity as the annual Colours clash brings the Division 2 season to a close?
John McClean (right) is bowing out as director of rugby at Belfield after a 14-year stint in charge and in his final season, the club's centenary year, they have swept all before them in the AIL and won the Leinster Senior Cup.
Already promoted, they lead the way at the top of Division 2 going into the final match against their oldest rivals at Donnybrook.
Despite the Old Belvedere v Clontarf semi-final taking place less than 400m away, this has always been a fixture that could stand on its own merits and today should be no different.
Trinity may be out of the running in the league, but given that the Colours currently reside in Belfield, Tony Smeeth's charges are looking to take it back to the city centre. Denying UCD the league title would be just an added bonus.
Ballynahinch are waiting in the wings, two points behind UCD as they host Old Wesley, but after claiming the All-Ireland U-21 Cup last weekend, the boys in blue are hoping for a campaign to remember to mark their 100th season.
Elsewhere, Ballymena can ensure promotion with victory over Terenure at Lakelands, while Bective travel to Clonakilty hoping Belfast Harlequins slip up at Malone. Old Crescent and Thomond are in a battle to avoid a relegation play-off with the fifth team in Division 3, likely to be Banbridge.
DOWN MEMORY LANE
April 18, 2009
Young Munster 17
IT'S not too long ago, but as Garryowen go into this afternoon's relegation play-off against Buccaneers, they can take their lead from their old rivals Young Munster's survival two seasons ago.
With the league being reformatted into Divisions 1A and 1B, this was a straight shootout to avoid a double relegation to Division 2 between the sides who had struggled all season. The teams were level in injury-time, which would have been enough to keep UCD up.
Having survived Mark Connolly's drop at goal, the Belfield faithful thought they had escaped, but Ian McKinley's drop-out went deep, and Mike Prendergast sent the ball over with a monstrous effort from inside his own half that sent the students down and preserved the Cookies' status.
Garryowen have endured a difficult season and Young Munster's form since that day is an example of the importance of staying up. Garryowen take on an out-of-form Buccaneers this afternoon at Dooradoyle and will hope top scorer Declan Cusack is on song for what promises to be a tight encounter.
Players who have lined out for both clubs in today's games:
Old Belvedere v Clontarf: Conal Keane, Andy Dunne .
FIXTURES (2.30 unless stated)
Division 1 play-offs: Old Belvedere v Clontarf, Anglesea Road; Cork Constitution v Young Munster , Temple Hill, tomorrow (2.35).
Division 1 promotion/relegation play-off: Garryowen v Buccaneers, Dooradoyle.
Division 2: Ballymena v Terenure, Eaton Park; Ballynahinch v Old Wesley, Ballymacarn Park; Clonakilty v Bective Rangers, The Vale; DLSP v Old Crescent, Kirwin Park; Dublin University v UCD, College Park; Malone v Belfast Harlequins, Gibson Park; Queen's University v Midleton, Dub Lane; Thomond v Corinthians, Fitzgerald Park.
Division 3: Banbridge v Seapoint, Rifle Park; NUIM Barnhall v Instonians, Parsonstown; City of Derry v Naas, Judges Road; Connemara v Highfield, Monastery Field; Greystones v Navan, Dr Hickey Park; Sunday' s Well v Nenagh Ormond, Musgrave Park; Suttonians v Rainey Old Boys, Station Road; Wanderers v Ards, Aviva Stadium.