Sport Rugby

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Clontarf secure maiden title as Belvo blow their chance

AIL Division 1A

Clontarf players celebrate winning the Division 1A of the Ulster Bank All-Ireland League
Clontarf players celebrate winning the Division 1A of the Ulster Bank All-Ireland League
Clontarf's Bryan Byrne is tackled by Ballynahinch's James Simpson
Clontarf's Colm O'Shea is tackled by Ballynahinch's Ritchie Lobb, left, and Robin Harte
Clontarf's Peter du Toit dives over to score his side's third try

Clontarf were crowned champions in dramatic circumstances yesterday following this victory at Castle Avenue. Clontarf went into the game knowing that even if they won, they needed league leaders Old Belvedere to lose away to bottom side Garryowen.

The visitors gained an early lead through a Ritchie Lobb penalty, but Clontarf soon found their rhythm and Mick McGrath profited from great work by Adrian Darcy to dive over. David Joyce slotted the conversion, before adding a penalty.

Lobb replied with a penalty, before Joyce restored the seven-point lead with the last kick of the half.

Ballynahinch drew level with a converted try after a break from Aaron Carins.

Clontarf then upped the tempo. Peter du Toit finished off a fine team move to give his side a five-point lead. Joyce kicked the conversion. Du Toit then managed to wriggle through for his second try, and Joyce's conversion wrapped it up, with news of Belvo's loss sparking wild celebrations.

Garryowen bade goodbye to the top grade but did so with pride when denying Old Belvedere the league crown in a gripping finale at Dooradoyle.

Garryowen settled far better than their nervy opponents and were in total command after Andrew O'Byrne kicked a penalty to make it 17-7 before Josh Glynn replied with a three-pointer for Belvedere.

O'Byrne added another penalty as Garryowen had Ed Rossiter and Aaron McCloskey sin-binned, and it was 13 against 14 after Philip O'Dwyer joined them in the bin.

O'Dwyer got a Belvedere try followed by a 77th-minute penalty by Glynn to close the gap to five points. They pressed extremely hard in the last three minutes, but Garryowen deservedly held on to leave their opponents crestfallen as their title hopes went up in smoke.

UCD registered six tries to sink Young Munster, who managed to avoid being sucked into a promotion/relegation play-off in style. UCD sauntered to victory with scores from Jamie Glynn (two), Alex Kelly, Andy Boyle, Tom Fletcher and Ed Byrne.

Dolphin's losing bonus point secured their status in this league for another year. Scott Deasy kicked all Lansdowne's points t– the visitors led 12-8 at half-time.

Christy Condon and John Madigan got the tries for Dolphin.

Conor Desmond scored a last-minute try for Cork Con to tie the scores, but Johnny Holland's conversion attempt from the sideline was off target as Con failed to snatch victory.

Four second-half tries proved decisive at Lakelands Park as champions Terenure maintained their 100 per cent record.

tries by David Rowan, Karl O'Riordan, Mark Scott-Lennon and Sam Cooke inspired a fine Blackrock fightback.

Quins completed the double with an easy win over relegated Dungannon.

There was relief for Malone as they avoided relegation with a six-try bonus-point victory.

Dublin University maintained their strong finish to the season as centre Paddy Lavelle's try sealed a dramatic victory.

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