Dundalk bounce back to keep AIL dream alive
Dundalk bounced back impressively on Saturday last from their shattering Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup exit the previous week when they beat Clonmel 24-8 at home in Mill Road in the Ulster Bank League round robin.
This was the Co Louth club's second round-robin win and if they defeat Connemara in Clifden tomorrow, they will be playing off with De La Salle Palmerston next week to decide which club fills the final vacancy in the All-Ireland League for next season.
Following the turmoil of their implosion against Enniscorthy in the semi-final of the Towns Cup a week earlier, Dundalk settled early on Saturday and they were quickly on the scoreboard when hooker Sione Nuku touched down for the game's opening try.
Winger Ultan Murphy added the conversion as well as a penalty goal midway through the first period that helped the Leinster League Division 1A champions into a 10-3 interval lead.
The crucial score arrived shortly after the resumption when scrum-half TC Campbell nipped over the try-line to extend the home side's advantage and the points were secured with flank forward James McConnon five-pointer in the final quarter.
With successes over Instonians and Clonmel in the bag, Dundalk travel to Connemara tomorrow knowing that a victory of any sort will suffice to win the AIL round robin and earn them the much sought-after play-off spot.
Dundalk will be raging hot favourites when they take the field on the Atlantic coast as the former All-Ireland League club from Galway has conceded 40 points in both of its games so far, losing to Instonians at home in Clifden last week and away to Clonmel in the opener, and failing to trouble the scoreboard operator in either game.
De La Salle Palmerston will have this weekend off duty as they prepare for their biggest game since they joined the AIL having finished in 14th place in Division 2B of the Ulster Bank League, and this despite an emphatic 41-0 victory at home in Kirwan Park against already-relegated Ards last Saturday.
Richmond were also automatically relegated but Boyne preserved their status in the AIL after winning 27-12 away in Bruff on Saturday which maintained their three-point advantage over De La Salle Palmerston.
Indeed, it was a remarkable Houdini-like escape by the Drogheda club as they won their final three games to escape not only automatic relegation but they also leapfrogged the relegation play-off position.
A raft of Junior finals are down for decision over the next 24 hours with the Metropolitan Cup (J1) decider, featuring Lansdowne and Terenure College kicking off at 4.0pm, highlighting a double-header in Donnybrook tomorrow in which the matinee is the clash of Old Wesley and Lansdowne in the Albert O'Connell Cup Final (Metro J2) two hours earlier.
Tomorrow evening at 6.0, Enniscorthy and Tullow will lock horns in the Provincial Towns Seconds Cup (J2) finale at Co Carlow's grounds in Oak Park, while tonight at 7.30 in Donnybrook it is the clash of St Mary's College and Terenure College in the Moran Cup (Metro J3).
Don't miss Terenure's European Youth rugby festival
From Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd May, Terenure RFC will again host the hugely popular U-13s European Youth Rugby Festival.
This is the fourth year of the competition and will involve teams from Wales, England, France, Belgium and Ireland.
This international festival is unique and aims to be the biggest and best European youth rugby festival, featuring teams from across the continent pitted against one another in both a league and knock-out format on full sized pitches, with fully qualified IRFU referees and maximum game time.
The festival gives our U-13s the chance to develop lasting friendships with teams from Ireland and all over Europe.
Among the international contingent this year are teams from England, Wales, France and Belgium who will meet teams from around Ireland. There will also be an international match played on Saturday between Ireland XV and Rest of Europe XV.
The games will take place between 10.0am to 4.0pm on Saturday and on Sunday, with the cup final kicking off at 2.45pm.
The festival offers plenty of family entertainment off the pitch with food, drink and entertainment available at the venue and celebrity guests popping in throughout the weekend.
Friday evening kicks off the festivities in the marquee with a top magician and the Irish Dance Experience - this event is free of charge, open to all ages and there is no advance booking required.
On Saturday night, an over 18s ticket only event will include the fabulous Abbaesque' and Bee Gees live tribute bands playing in the Marquee followed by a disco.
More details about these events are available on the festival website and facebook - www.europeanyouthrugby.com or www.facebook.com/terenure13s
Don't miss this great festival over the May bank holiday weekend. Head over to Terenure for the best of emerging rugby talent from across Europe.