Ex-schools sensation McCarthy shines as Young Munster make play-offs
Young Munster completed a stunning finish to the Ulster Bank League’s season as they squeezed through to the Division 1A play-offs by beating table-toppers Lansdowne 15-5 at Tom Clifford Park.
John Staunton’s men, in ninth place in late February, took advantage of a sin-bin for Lansdowne prop Adam Boland to go in 7-0 at the break — the home pack drove over the line for replacement Paul Allen to score. Winger Diarmaid McCarthy, the talented schools player who has returned to the game and played for Munster ‘A’ recently, raced clear from near half-way for an opportunistic score early in the second half.
Scrum-half Paddy O’Driscoll got over in the corner to reduce the arrears to 12-5, but Munster made sure of fourth-place finish with a well-struck 77th-minute penalty from centre Gearoid Lyons.
Young Munster and Lansdowne will meet again in two weeks in the semi-finals where Mike Ruddock’s side will have home advantage, while the other play-off tie on Saturday, April 25 is an all-Dublin affair between Terenure College and Clontarf.
Ballynahinch must be sick of Clontarf. The north Dubliners won the sides’ recent Bateman Cup semi-final and they returned to Ballymacarn Park on Saturday for a 33-18 bonus point league victory.
Prop Liam Hyland scored the only try as UCD held onto their Division 1A status with a 10-3 triumph away to Cork Constitution, who face Clontarf in next weekend’s Bateman Cup decider. St. Mary’s will contest the promotion/relegation play-off against Division 1B runners-up Garryowen on April 25, as their 45-18 thrashing of relegated Dolphin made no difference to their final league placing of ninth.
At Anglesea Road, Old Belvedere’s play-off push came up just short despite a 18-8 win over second-placed Terenure. ‘Belvo finished fifth — a point behind Munster — after winger Josh Glynn landed six penalties. Meanwhile, John ‘Luigi’ Cleary scored two tries at Crowley Park to help Galwegians overcome Garryowen 17-13 and pip the Limerick side to promotion.
’Wegians had lost their grip on top spot, but edged out Garryowen in Saturday’s winner-takes-all clash in Glenina.
Third-placed Dublin University finished a point behind Garryowen after running in six tries, including two from the USA’s Tim Maupin, to beat Belfast Harlequins 41-20 at College Park.
Flanker Dominic Gallagher bagged a brace in Ballymena’s 45-0 hammering of Buccaneers at Eaton Park, while Division 2A-bound Malone signed off with a 37-34 victory at home to Shannon.
It was an emotional day for UL Bohemians full-back Mossy Lawler as he ended his playing days with a 24-19 home win to relegated Corinthians. A try from Bohs sub Joe Murray split the sides.
UBL Scouting report
Diarmuid McCarthy (Young Munster)
Since his return to the game, McCarthy has been excellent and his try from the halfway line was crucial as his side sealed their play-off place.
One to watch
Aidan Moynihan (Galwegians)
The young Connacht out-half has caught the eye recently and playing in Division 1A next season will further his development.
Number of the weekend
12 - The number of points that Lansdowne would have won the league by had the play-off system not been reintroduced.