Monday 21 October 2019

O'Brien books final berth for Clontarf against Cork Con

'Clonmel will join round-robin winners Enniscorthy in Division 2C next season, while Navan secured their third promotion in as many years to Division 1B.' Stock photo
'Clonmel will join round-robin winners Enniscorthy in Division 2C next season, while Navan secured their third promotion in as many years to Division 1B.' Stock photo

Dave Mervyn

Clontarf centre Sean O'Brien is determined to follow in his older brother Conor's footsteps and win an All-Ireland League title at the Aviva Stadium next Sunday (3pm).

Mullingar RFC product Conor played in three Division 1A finals for Clontarf, picking up a winner's medal in 2016, and he has now made 17 Leinster appearances. His sibling, an Ireland U-20 international last year, has emerged as a key player in 'Tarf's drive for a third league crown in six years.

"It was great to get the win. It's been boiling up for the last few weeks so we're delighted to get the result against a very strong Lansdowne side," said Sean, speaking after their impressive 23-15 semi-final victory over the defending champions at Castle Avenue.

David Joyce's half-break after nine minutes took play close to the 22 and Matt D'Arcy used the recycled ball to fend off the cover and touch down before O'Brien crossed.

Out-half Joyce converted and added two penalties as the hosts surged into a 18-0 half-time lead.

Lansdowne's Scott Deasy clawed back three points, but Michael Courtney quickly responded with a try. Mike Ruddock's men closed the gap thanks to a Daniel McEvoy score and a 77th-minute penalty try.

They will play Cork Constitution after their 23-3 win over Dublin University yesterday, with Ireland U-20 starlet Sean French's timely try on the stroke of half-time sending them on their way.

A breathless first quarter produced only one score, a well-struck 18th-minute penalty from the students' out-half Micheal O'Kennedy. Aidan Moynihan levelled and then added a second.

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Cork struck a big blow in the first-half's final play to go 13-3 in front thanks to a fine solo try from French, and Moynihan converted.

Moynihan hit another penalty, just two minutes after the restart, before Trinity No 8 Niall O'Riordan's sin-binning. The outcome was decided on the hour mark when Moynihan touched down. He converted to complete his 18-point haul.

Meanwhile, UCC will have home advantage in next Saturday's play-off final against Old Wesley, who saw off Naas 20-17. Clonmel will join round-robin winners Enniscorthy in Division 2C next season, while Navan secured their third promotion in as many years to Division 1B.

Rainey Old Boys will compete in Division 2A after a 35-21 win at Stradbrook, which demoted the Blackrock side, while Malahide beat Bruff 36-13 to enter Division 2B.

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