London Harlequins bound Andy Dunne will occupy the pivot out-half position today for Clontarf while Mike Mullins will also line-out in the number 10 jersey for Old Crescent
London Harlequins bound Andy Dunne will occupy the pivot out-half position today for Clontarf while Mike Mullins will also line-out in the number 10 jersey for Old Crescent in the finals of the AIB League this afternoon in Lansdowne Road.
Dunne scored a drop-goal when he came on as a second half replacement for Tarf in the semi-final win over Buccaneers and he retains that position with Dave Hewitt switching to full-back with regular 15, Daire O’Shea moving to partner James Downey in the centre.
Ballymena welcome back big Gary Longwell to a forward theatre of action that will go a long way to deciding the outcome of this game.
The northern side arguably have the more potent backline, with James Topping, Huw Jones and rising stars Paddy Wallace and Scott Young all capable of carving openings in the Tarf defence. It promises to be a fascinating contest and although Clontarf are the favourites (1/2) with Paddy Power Bookmakers, the Russell Nelson led Ballymena are capable of using the wide expanse of Lansdowne Road to their advantage
Clontarf. D Hewitt; N O’Brien, D O’Shea, J Downey, O Winchester; A Dunne, R O’Reilly; W O’Kelly (capt), B Jackman, A Clarke, B Gissing, A Wood, D Quinn, D Moore, S O’Donnell.
Replacements: J Wickham, A Cullen, G Flynn, C Power, R O’Reilly, D Higgins, D McElligott.
Ballymena. P Wallace; J Topping, M Waterhouse, H Jones, S Young; A Larkin, P Spence; S McConnell, P Shields, B Young, M Blair, G Longwell, M McCullough, R Nelson (capt), N McMillen.
Replacements: I Campbell, N McKernan, D O’Kane, A Graham, A Monson, A Maxwell, D Topping.
Referee: Alain Rolland (IRFU).
The Division Two final begins the afternoon with a 2 pm kick-off and in this game Old Crescent may just have the greater incentive seen as their opponents Dolphin have already secured the prize of a place in the top flight for next season. The record between these two side also heavily favours the Limerick club – they’re unbeaten in their last seven outings against Dolphin – and then there is also the little matter perhaps of compensation for the 16 all draw in Rosbrien in January, the lost points the eventual difference in Dolphin gaining promotion aheah of Crescent.
Nor will Dolpin’s chances be helped by the absence of Marc Pettman (injured) or Mike Manning (exam-tied) whereas Crescent have two of the most potent strike runners in Shane Stephens and Mike Mullins.
It promises to be a tense tight affair, a perfect curtain-raiser to the Division One final (4pm) with Limerick the slight favourite to be the city hosting the celebration this evening.
Dolphin. D Keeshan; J Purcell, B O’Neill, M Knowles, D Whelan; J O’Mahony, D O’Mahony; E Knowles, D O’Farrell, J O’Sullivan, D Pomeroy (capt), R McGrath, S Madigan, D Murphy, J Coughlan.
Old Crescent. J Cusack; A O’Loughlin, S Stephens, M Brodie, F Hogan; M Mullins, E Reddan; S Murphy, L Browne, J Cullinane, I Bloomer, P Ryan, D Murphy, M T’Pau, D McDonagh.