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Mary's on mission to 'Downe familiar foes

ON Friday evening, the Leinster Branch stages the finals of the Senior League Cup and Senior League Shield with Lansdowne and St Mary's College doing battle in the Cup decider in Donnybrook at 7.30, while at the same time Naas and Skerries are the protagonists in the Shield finale hosted by Coolmine.

Lansdowne and St Mary's both progressed from the same qualifying section and when they met on the opening day of the season back in late August it was the Templeogue side that used home advantage to good effect in a 27-5 victory before Lansdowne returned to Templeville Road in October to record a 29-7 success in Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League.

St Mary's College topped Section 'A' with an unbeaten record while Lansdowne bounced back impressively as they beat Bective Rangers, UCD and Terenure College to secure the runners-up spot.

St Mary's beat Dublin University 23-13 in the first semi-final at home in Templeville Road on October 19 and their third encounter of the season was complete when Lansdowne travelled to Castle Avenue the following afternoon and edged past Clontarf on a 23-20 scoreline.

In Section 'A' of the Shield, Naas had a 100pc record against Old Wesley, Seapoint, NUIM Barnhall and Suttonians before beating Navan 45-12 in the penultimate round at home in Forenaughts.

Skerries topped Section 'B' with victories over Boyne, Navan and De La Salle Palmerston before advancing to the final by putting NUIM Barnhall to the sword 22-7 at home in Holmpatrick.

The two sides met in Division 2A of the Ulster Bank League in October with Naas emerging from Holmpatrick with a narrow 22-19 come-from-behind success.

The winner of the Leinster Senior League Cup qualifies for the Bateman Cup along with the three other provincial Cup winners, the semi-finals of which are scheduled for January 19.