Monday 20 November 2017

Thomond battle back to deny Highfield and clinch Division 2A spot

Clontarf captain Ben Reilly with the Ulster Bank League Division 1A trophy. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Clontarf captain Ben Reilly with the Ulster Bank League Division 1A trophy. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Daragh Small

Thomond will play their rugby in Division 2A of the Ulster Bank League next season after they defeated Highfield in the promotion/relegation play-off at Woodleigh Park.

The Limerick side were cruelly denied automatic promotion when Skerries took it from under their nose on points difference.

However, they regrouped and only a week after that disappointment came from 10-0 down to defeat their Munster rivals 14-10.

The most dramatic of finishes to Division 1A resulted in Clontarf being crowned champions for the first time in their 138-year history as Garryowen departed the top flight with a bang by denying Old Belvedere the title.

Already relegated Garryowen performed admirably in Dooradoyle, beating highly fancied Belvo 23-18, with Andrew O'Byrne scoring 13 points with his boot and the Dubliners returning east with their tails between their legs.

It was a performance full of pride from the Limerick team considering the long seven months that had gone before, and they can now look forward to competing well in Division 1B next season.

Cork Con were the highest-finishing Munster side and they went out with yet another fascinating result, this time an intense 30-30 draw at home to St Mary's.

The result leaves Con in fifth position, while Young Munster finished two places further back after a disappointing final-day 45-24 loss away against the students of UCD.

These sides will look to consolidate and regroup ahead of another tough season in the highest division of the AIL, as will Dolphin.


The Cork outfit ended their season with a 18-16 loss at home to Lansdowne and after just surviving, finishing in eighth, next season won't get any easier.

Unfortunately for UL Bohs, their race was already run before losing 28-26 at home to Blackrock College last weekend.

But having come within seven points of Buccaneers in second place of Division 1B, they do look likely candidates to return to the big time at the next time of asking.

Shannon's season went from bad to worse with a 19-17 defeat to Dublin University; however, they can improve upon their position in seventh if they can beat Dungannon in a rescheduled fixture tomorrow.

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