Sunday 19 November 2017

Leinster Club Rugby: Malahide close in on AIL berth

Malahide's 26-17 win puts them in pole position to top the Round Robin and win automatic promotion to Division 2C of the AIL. Stock photo: Sportsfile
Malahide's 26-17 win puts them in pole position to top the Round Robin and win automatic promotion to Division 2C of the AIL. Stock photo: Sportsfile

Dermot O'Mahony

Malahide enjoyed bonus-point win in Omagh on Saturday as they began their Ulster Bank League Round Robin.

Then on Sunday, Skerries and Tullow booked their tickets to Sunday week's Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup decider in Athy.

Malahide's 26-17 win puts them in pole position to top the Round Robin and win automatic promotion to Division 2C of the AIL as they look forward to their home tie with Clonmel tomorrow, the Munster champions having defeated Ballina 10-6 at home on Saturday.

Malahide scored two first-half tries via winger Marcus McAllister and centre Marc Hewitt either side of an Omagh try to lead 12-5 at the interval, then pulled clear with a pair of tries from out-half Conal Keane and McAllister again that proved sufficient to see off a late surge from the hosts.

With a visit to Ballina in a fortnight to complete their campaign, victory tomorrow could even seal Malahide's promotion with a game to spare.

The teams that lost play-offs in the Leinster League have been eagerly watching the bottom of Division 2C of the AIL, and on Saturday a 12-6 victory over Seapoint lifted Boyne off the bottom.

If the Louth side can maintain that position over the final two games and Malahide get automatically promoted, then victory for Boyne in the relegation play-off over the runner up in the Round Robin would ensure that Clondalkin, Co Carlow, Wexford Wanderers and Ardee would all play up a division next season.

In 1974 Skerries 2nd XV became the only seconds team to win the Provincial Towns Cup as the club completed a historic four in a row the year after their 1st XV went Senior, and on Sunday week they get the chance to repeat that rare feat when they contest their first final since 2007.

On Sunday they beat holders Wicklow 23-11 in the semi-finals; they face Tullow, who beat Ashbourne 20-19 in the other semi-final. Tullow scored a dramatic try with the last play of the game to snatch victory from the 2014 winners.

Tullow have appeared in two finals, 2008 and 2012, but they have yet to win the Cup.

In the Metropolitan Cup final on Sunday, MU Barnhall, beaten finalists a year ago, take on Lansdowne in Donnybrook while at the same venue this evening the Albert O'Connell Cup final features Clontarf and St Mary's College.

Navan have reached the Fraser McMullen All-Ireland U-20 final for the first time; they play Lansdowne in Sunday's decider at Templeville Road, while at Lakelands the U-20s of St Mary's and Old Belvedere battle it out in the Purcell Cup final.

Irish Independent

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