Tuesday 6 December 2016

Magnificent seven take over AIL's top flight

Club round-up Dermot O'Mahony

Dermot O'Mahony

Published 20/05/2016 | 02:30

Clontarf’s Mick McGrath (Top Try Scorer) and Lansdowne’s Scott Deasy (Top Points Scorer) with their Ulster Bank League awards (SPORTSFILE)
Clontarf’s Mick McGrath (Top Try Scorer) and Lansdowne’s Scott Deasy (Top Points Scorer) with their Ulster Bank League awards (SPORTSFILE)

When Clontarf won the Ulster Bank League Division 1A title last Sunday week with a 28-25 victory over Cork Constitution at the Aviva Stadium it completed a hat-trick of the AIL top three divisional wins for Leinster clubs.

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St Mary's College won Division 1B and will play in Division 1A next season along with Dublin University, who finished runners up and earned their promotion through the playoffs by beating Ballymena and Ballynahinch.

It brings to seven the number of Leinster clubs participating in the top tier of club rugby in Ireland next season and with the remaining three places being filled by Munster teams it's the second time that there will be no Ulster representation in Division 1A or its equivalent of the AIL, the last time being from 2009-13.

Capturing

Naas won their final nine games en route to capturing the Division 2A crown and the Kildare club will play their rugby in Division 1B next season where they will replace Blackrock College, who were relegated after losing the play-off final to UCC.

Incidentally, Blackrock will be the only Leinster team in Division 2A next season as Skerries were relegated when they failed to beat Greystones in a playoff and the county Wicklow club subsequently lost out in the final to Sunday's Well and will remain in Division 2B.

Wanderers beat Tullamore in the Division 2C play-off final and will replace Seapoint in Division 2B after the Killiney club finished bottom and were automatically relegated.

After one year in the AIL Dundalk drop out after finishing last in Division 2C but for the first time in eight years no Leinster team gained promotion as Enniscorthy lost a play-off against Sligo.

There will be 19 Leinster clubs participating in the Ulster Bank League next season and they are as follows:

Division 1A

• Clontarf

• UCD

• Old Belvedere

• Lansdowne

• Terenure College

• St Mary's College

• Dublin University

Division 1B

• Old Wesley

• Naas

Division 2A

• Blackrock College

Division 2B

• Skerries

• Greystones

• MU Barnhall

• Bective Rangers

• Wanderers

Division 2C

• Seapoint

• Tullamore

• Navan

• Boyne

UCD won the Leinster Senior League Cup when they beat Old Belvedere in the final but having thus qualified for the Bateman Cup the students were unable to progress as they were beaten by Cork Constitution in the semi-final.

In a repeat of the previous year's Senior League Shield final Greystones beat Wanderers as they reversed the result of 12 months earlier.

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