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News article – Style E 1051

News article – Style E 1051

Ulster and Leinster are through to the semi-finals of the Celtic League following their victories over Welsh sides, Neath and Newport respectively.

Ulster qualified for the semi-final of the Celtic League when they defeated Neath 38-29 at a packed Ravenhill. They led 22-17 at half time but then went behind when Lee Jarvis landed a drop goal and a penalty to edge the Welsh side a point ahead (26-25). But then, David Humpheys and Andy Ward, the two players who had played such a crucial part role all evening, combined for the decisive score. Ulster won good ruck ball and Humphreys launched a kick high into the right hand corner and the skipper was there to catch cleanly and get the touchdown. They now go through to play either Munster or Llanelli in the semi-final in Lansdowne Road next weekend.

And in Dublin Leinster qualified to play either Connacht or Glasgow in the Celtic League semi final following their 34-22 win over Newport in a bruising encounter at Donnybrook. Leinster looked to be cruising when they led 24-3 at the end of the opening quarter thanks to tries from Shane Horgan, Girvan Dempsey and Denis Hickie. But Newport hammered their way back with a brace of tries, the first from Matt Mostyn, the second from Andy Marinos, to leave just seven points (24-17) between the sides at half time. And then things went Newport’s way when an early second half try from Matt Watkins, left just them just two points adrift. But one thing this Leinster side has in abundance is guts and after Nathan Spooner had stretched their lead to five (27-22) with a penalty, Brian O’Driscoll put the outcome beyond doubt with a try in the closing stages which was converted by Brian O’Meara.

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