Friday 28 July 2017

Lansdowne, Clontarf earn home comfort in semis with final-day wins

Lansdowne finished top of the pile on scoring difference following their 40-17 bonus point dismissal of lowly Garryowen who will host Old Wesley in a play-off next Sunday. Photo: Getty Images
Lansdowne finished top of the pile on scoring difference following their 40-17 bonus point dismissal of lowly Garryowen who will host Old Wesley in a play-off next Sunday. Photo: Getty Images

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Table toppers Lansdowne and defending champions Clontarf will have home advantage in the Division 1A semi-finals after a tumultuous final day in the Ulster Bank League.

Next weekend's semi-final clashes will pit Lansdowne against fourth-placed Cork Constitution, who will defend their Bateman Cup title at Old Belvedere the following Saturday, while Clontarf will host third-ranked Young Munster at Castle Avenue.

With top-scoring winger Daniel McEvoy notching his 11th league try, Lansdowne finished top of the pile on scoring difference following their 40-17 bonus point dismissal of lowly Garryowen who will host Old Wesley in a play-off next Sunday.

Former Ireland Under-20 international Conor O'Brien touched down twice in Clontarf's 37-28 bonus point win over UCD, while backs Ned Hodson and Michael Clune bagged braces as Cork Con beat St. Mary's 34-27.

Dublin University clawed clear of the relegation zone with Tim Maupin's stunning last-minute try, which started in their own 22, earning them a 27-25 victory over Terenure College.

Trinity director of rugby Tony Smeeth, whose young side finished sixth in their first season in the top flight, beamed afterwards: "That was the try of the year that last one. You won't see many tries better than that in College Park."

Meanwhile, new Division 1B champions Buccaneers hammered Ballynahinch 40-10 at Dubarry Park. Number 8 and captain Kolo Kiripati kicked a conversion in his final game for the club and Jordan Conroy scored his 18th try of the season.

Rodger McBurney's first half try guided Ballymena to a 13-10 home win over Shannon and Division 1B safety, while the losing bonus point ensured an eighth place finish for the Limerick men. Naas relegated Galwegians with a 27-16 defeat in Glenina, Johne Murphy's side securing a second place finish and a home play-off against UL Bohemians

A second half brace from Paul Harte saw Old Wesley defeat UCC 19-5 and tee up a play-off trip to Dooradoyle, while Barry Keeshan kicked 11 points as relegation-threatened Dolphin upset UL 16-10. David Corkery's charges will host Malone in the play-offs.

Banbridge were crowned Division 2A champions and secured promotion in some style with a 40-12 triumph at Sunday's Well.

Greystones, the league's leading scorers with 663 points, took the Division 2B honours with a 45-10 win at home to Old Crescent, while Navan claimed the Division 2C title with a 15-5 victory over Sligo.

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