Wednesday 16 October 2019

Five still in play-off hunt

Darren Sweetman, Cork Constitution, is tackled by Aidan Darcy, Clontarf
Darren Sweetman, Cork Constitution, is tackled by Aidan Darcy, Clontarf
Brendan Fanning

Brendan Fanning

Five teams are still on contention for the last play-off spot after yesterday’s penultimate round of the Ulster Bank League.

So Lansdowne, who beat potential finalists Terenure in Lakelands Park, still don’t know who they will have in their home semifinal, while Terenure are certain to be at home to Clontarf in the other semifinal.

At the other end of the table Dolphin are officially relegated with one game to go, coincidentally against St Mary’s whose losing bonus point away to Young Munster leaves them currently in the play-off zone against the second best team from Division 1B. If they can take a winning bonus from the last round – against Dolphin in a fortnight - and UCD lose away to Cork Con without a bonus, then the students will drop into the play off spot.

Dolphin were 21-11 ahead at half time yesterday at home to Ballynahinch but the Ulster side turned around their wretched away form to secure a bonus point win in the second half.

Each of the other four ties in that last round however have huge significance for the gang of five chasing that last semifinal spot: Ballynahinch – who are in pole position - Young Munster, Old Belvedere, Cork Con and UCD, with four points between them. Of that group only Old Belvedere have a positive points’ difference, though they trail Ballynahinch, who will be home to Clontarf, by three points on the table.

Leaders Lansdowne had nine points to spare over Terenure yesterday largely thanks to the boot of Conor McKeon, while over in Castle Avenue a losing bonus point for Con was secured with the last play of the game. These teams will meet in the final of the Bateman Cup in three weeks, and in a coin toss after yesterday’s game Con – holders of the trophy for the last two years - secured home advantage.

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