5 Dec, 14:49
The Ireland Under-19 squad to face Australia Schools at Ravenhill on Saturday week (December 14) has been announced.
With a game in hand, Ballymena look well placed to wind up in second place while Lansdowne should take the third spot. That leaves the fourth and final play-off place to be decided with Buccaneers looking particularly vulnerable chased by Galwegians in fifth and sixth placed Cork Constitution who have played one game less than the two western sides.
The game next Saturday (5pm Temple Hill) between Con and Balllymena is therefore hugely important to the Cork club. They simply have to win it if they want to stay in control of their own fate.
Fifth placed Galwegians face a tough run-in with games against the top two, Clontarf (home) and Lansdowne (away), while a case can still be made for Shannon who are six points off fourth place but with a game in hand. They have to play Blackrock in a back-match on Saturday March 29th and with a full programme at Under 19, 21, A and senior international, they will be shorn of all their top players.
At the bottom of the table, Terenure can gear themselves for second division football next season. They will be joined there by either UL Bohemians or Co Carlow. Just one point separates these sides with three games to play. Both were hosed last weekend and they meet in the final game of the series, a tie that takes place in Thomond Park and it's a game where the loser will probably end up being relegated.
In Division Two, Dolphin and Old Crescent remain on course for promotion. Just one point separates them with second placed Crescent eight points clear of Thomond. For their part, Thomond can recover from last weekend's defeat at The Mardyke to qualify for the play offs and like Division One, that leaves a dog-fight for the final quarter final place.
Barnhall slipped up last weekend when they were held to a 21-21 draw at home by DLSP and the Kilternan side, just one point off the pace, now hold the whip-hand with a game in-hand over the county Kildare club.
Greystones look set for a quick return to Division Three and butone of the sides struggling to avoid the drop is Dublin University who were promoted with the Co Wicklow side last season. However, like second from last Portadown, they have four games still to play, one less than Sunday's Well.
Waterpark have set the pace for some time now in Division Three and the mantle of champion will be decided when they travel to play second placed Instonians on April 5th. Both are almost certain to be promoted and they should be joined in the play offs by Wandereres and Corinthians while Monkstown seemed destined for the Leinster Junior One League competition next season.