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'Tarf vintage on the verge

The AIL Division 1A clash with Cork Con is not the only crunch game taking place at Castle Avenue this Saturday, as Clontarf's J2s take on St Mary's in a winner-takes-all match for the league honours.

Clontarf currently sit on 28 points with St Mary's just five points behind on 23.

This season, several old warhorses returned to the fold and were coaxed back into boots they thought they had retired for good.

These former senior players with a host of AIL experience under their belts brought mettle and know-how to Clontarf's J2 set-up.

Under the stewardship of Warren O'Kelly, former professional with both Munster and Connacht, and former coach with Old Belvedere and Suttonians, a formidable line-up of youth and experience was assembled.

Captaining the side is Dave Moore, a former AIL institution for Clontarf at the base of the scrum and a Leinster Senior Cup medal winner in 1999.

Other forwards returning this year to the ranks of the red and royal blue include Colm Power, Alan Dignam and Declan Quinn, while, in the backs, Ronan O'Reilly and Darragh McElligott are back in the fold and were also part of Clontarf's Leinster Senior Cup-winning side of 1999. All have a wealth of AIL experience on their rugby CVs.

Another player to return to rugby this season with the J2s is Donovan Rossi. Rossi was on the 1998 Ireland U19 team which won the World Cup in France.

That World Cup-winning team included such players as Brian O'Driscoll, Paddy Wallace and Donnacha O'Callaghan.

Mary's have it all to do at Castle Avenue this Saturday as they chase a bonus-point win to deny Clontarf their first J2 league title since 1972.