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AIB League Final Day at Lansdowne Road

AIB League Final Day at Lansdowne Road

The AIB League draws to a close tomorrow when Clontarf and Ballymena clash in the Division One Final while Dolphin and Old Crescent meet in the Division Two decider

AIB League Division Two Final: Dolphin v Old Crescent, 2pm.

AIB League Division One Final: Ballymena v Clontarf, 4pm.

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Dolphin and Old Crescent will get proceedings under way with their match scheduled to kick-off at 2pm followed by the Division One final at 4pm.

Dolphin have much to celebrate in that as winner of Division Two they will play their rugby at the highest level next season but they come into this game with a somewhat unenviable record in the games against their Limerick opponents. In total the two clubs have played each other nine times, with Crescent having won seven of those encounters. The last time they played was in January when the game, played in Rosbrien, ended in a 16-16 draw but before then the last time Dolphin registered a victory was in February 1994, when they beat Crescent 15-12 in Musgrave Park.

Both sides shared a similar path through their respective semi-finals, both came from behind to win, with Dolphin requiring a last gasp Shane Madigan try and conversion from Donncha O’Mahony to beat UCC 20-18 in Musgrave Park.

In Rosbrien, the home side looked in serious trouble when they trailed DLSP 15-5 at half-time but Crescent stormed back in the second half to score 26 unanswered points and run out 31-15 victors.

Clontarf and Ballymena have played each other six times, with Ballymena winning on five occasions. When the sides met in the League this season, it was on the opening day, in Eaton Park and Ballymena won 21-15 helped in no small measure by six Dirk Strydom penalties.

‘Tarf led that day 12-0 at half-time before the big home pack swung into action forcing the north Dubliners into the errors that allowed Strydom kick the goals.

Clontarf saw off a tough Buccaneers side in the semi-final in a game that was decided up front and so will have been an ideal preparation for what lies ahead. Ballymena had two Mark Blair tries to see them upset Lansdowne on the back pitch at Lansdowne Road.

With what is likely to be an even battle up front on Saturday, the side that can produce that extra piece of flair in the backs is the one can can lift the AIB League trophy.