CLONTARF 24 ST. MARY'S COLLEGE 39, Castle Avenue
Scorers: Clontarf: Tries: Ben Reilly, Henry Bryce, Martin Garvey; Cons: Martin Dufficy 3; Drop: Daragh O'Shea
St. Mary's College: Tries: Damian Hall, Stephen Grissing, Mark Sexton, Philip Brophy, Gavin Dunne; Cons: Gavin Dunne 4; Pens: Gavin Dunne 2
St. Mary's, who beat Clontarf 24-7 on the first day of the season, demonstrated why they deserve the prize of a home semi-final after delivering a trademark fast and efficient performance.
Going into the match, Clontarf knew they were going to have to pull out something special to overcome St. Mary's. 'Tarf's only hope of avoiding relegation to Division 1B was a bonus point victory, but it was not to be.
Relegation may seem like like a harsh blow for Bernard Jackman's men who have battled fiercely against many of the big contenders all season, but with several narrow defeats, their final execution has been slightly lacking.
Once again, 'Tarf lost concentration at some crucial points in the game and St. Mary's duly took advantage by scoring three tries in ten second half minutes which ultimately determined 'Tarf's fate.
The first half was a slightly dull affair with most of the rugby being played in the middle third of the pitch.
However, just before half-time, St. Mary's burst into life. Out-half Shaun McCarthy, dictating the back-line moves, helped bring play into 'Tarf's 22.
With the home side's defence stretched, the ball came out to flanker Damian Hall who had enough space to muscle over the line at the corner.
St. Mary's continued in the same fashion at the start of the second half, playing confidently with ball in hand and it took just four minutes to add another try.
Scrum half Conor McPhillips made a clever break off the back of a lineout, and this set St. Mary's up in a nice position. Centre Stephen Grissing lost possession as he attacked on the right but managed to pick up the loose ball and touch down for the visitors' second try.
Referee: Alan Rogan (IRFU)