Young guns rally to grab play-off berth
YOUNG MUNSTER came from behind to beat Garryowen 23-18 at Clifford Park and snatch the third Division 1A semi-final spot.
They trailed 12-0 at the interval but a storming second-half performance secured a semi-final trip to Cork Con. Craig O’Hanlon and Matthew Costelloe scored tries, with Alan Kingsley kicking 10 points, and Willie Staunton landing a drop goal.
Declan Cusack kicked all the points for Garryowen, who finished bottom and face a promotion/relegation playoff against Division 1B’s Buccaneers.
Cork Con made certain of top spot with a 33-16 home victory over Blackrock, thanks to tries from Simon Zebo, Sean Scanlon and Duncan Williams.
Shannon secured their status by beating Dolphin 28-18 at Coonagh. They led 21-6 at the break following tries from Gareth Quinn-McDonagh, Dave Quinlan and Luke O’Dea.
Clontarf, having already won Division 1B, lost 17-11 at bottom side Bruff. In a straight shoot-out for the second promotion spot, Lansdowne beat Buccs 15-0. John Cooney and Eamonn Sheridan scored late tries.
Buccs, though, finished third, as UL Bohemians and Dungannon both lost. UL Bohs lost 37-18 to Galwegians at Crowley Park, while Dungannon went down 32-11 at home to UCC.
Galwegians and UCC avoid the drop; Bruff face a relegation/promotion encounter against the still-to-be-decided fifthplaced team in Division Two.
Divisions Two and Three rumble on for another two weeks as the race to join UCD and Ballynahinch in Division 1B next season continues.
Belfast Harlequins are third in the standings after a 31-22 win over Queen’s that leapfrogged Bective who were beaten 23-17 by Ballynahinch.
Fifth-placed Ballymena, who have a game in hand, lost 29-27 to Corinthians, who still have hope in sixth. Terenure are in the hunt after a 19-15 win over Clonakilty.
Thomond leapfrogged Old Crescent at the bottom with an 11-6 win over their Limerick rivals.
In Division Three, Seapoint, Instonians, City of Derry and Greystones look set to go up to the new Division 2A, barring an unlikely charge from Banbridge, who beat Naas 31-28 and are fifth.
Seapoint stay top after 15-13 win over Greystones; Instonians secured their promotion with a 68-0 win over Connemara, as did City of Derry with a 40-21 defeat of Highfield.
There were also wins for Sunday’s Well, Navan, Nenagh Ormond and Rainey.