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AIB League: Relegation Fight To The Finish

AIB League: Relegation Fight To The Finish

Saturday is decision day in Division One as three of the top four aim for a home semi-final draw and a rollocking relegation battle draws to a close.

Saturday is decision day in Division One as three of the top four aim for a home semi-final draw and a rollocking relegation battle draws to a close.

County Carlow, Lansdowne and Dublin University – with the latter two clashing at Lansdowne Road – are all trying to edge clear of bottom spot and the relegation-promotion play-off against Division Two’s third-ranked side – most likely to be UCC.

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Just two points separate the top flight’s bottom three sides, with Carlow boss Ray Ward counting his lucky stars for league stalwarts Andy Melville and Richie Murphy.

Former Greystones fly-half Murphy’s prolific kicking has helped the midlanders to three wins in their last seven outings and his right boot will be needed against UCD.

“Melly (Andy Melville) was superb for us last week and we’ll need him to be on top form against a very dangerous UCD side,” admitted Ward. “The heartening thing is that we’re at home and we know exactly what we have to do – win by any margin and we’re safe.”

Bottom side Lansdowne sit on 16 points and have planned for the final weekend without Leinster’s Gordon D’Arcy and Felipe Contepomi, who starred in their vital 19-7 defeat of Clontarf eight days ago.

Without a home win since November, Lansdowne will go head-to-head with Trinity, hoping to end that disappointing run.

At the top end, Belfast Harlequins are looking to keep the heat on Limerick leaders Shannon and Garryowen when they meet Clontarf at Deramore Park.

Fourth-ranked ‘Tarf – whose semi-final place was secured by fifth-placed Ballymena’s 18-13 loss at Dungannon on Wednesday – are seven points behind Garryowen and out of the running for a home draw.

Galloping Garryowen – on the other hand – looked primed for it against Blackrock, with Paul Cunningham’s outfit victorious in their last seven league outings.

Still, home advantage should see ‘Quins triumph over ‘Tarf, despite being without injured backline duo Ian Humphreys and Mark Kettyle.

Meanwhile, in a repeat of last season’s final, Cork Con travel to Shannon – table-toppers with 46 points – with little but pride to play for.

For first-time Shannon boss Mick Galwey, there’s the bounty of a home last four date to secure and revenge on the cards for last April’s 30-22 league loss to their great Cork rivals.

AIB League Result/Fixtures: Wednesday, April 13-Saturday, April 16


Wednesday, April 13:
Dungannon 18 Ballymena 13, Stevenson Park

Saturday, April 16: (kick-off 2.30pm, unless stated)
Ballymena v Buccaneers, Eaton Park
Belfast Harlequins v Clontarf, Deramore Park
County Carlow v UCD, Oak Park
Galwegians v Dungannon, Crowley Park
Garryowen v Blackrock College, Dooradoyle
Lansdowne v Dublin University, Lansdowne Road
Shannon v Cork Constitution, Thomond Park, 2.00pm


Ballynahinch v UL Bohemians, Ballymacarn Park

De La Salle Palmerston v Bective Rangers, Kilternan

Highfield v Malone, Woodleigh Park

Old Crescent v Midleton, Rosbrien

St Mary’s College v Barnhall, Templeville Road

UCC v Thomond, The Mardyke

Waterpark v Old Belvedere, Ballinakill
Young Munster v Terenure College, Tom Clifford Park


Ards v Sunday’s Well, Hamilton Park
Clonakilty v Corinthians, Shannonvale Cross

Old Wesley v Banbridge, Donnybrook

Portadown v Instonians, Chambers Park

Queen’s University v Ballina, Dub Lane

Skerries v Connemara, Holmpatrick

Suttonians v Greystones, John J MacDowell Park
Wanderers v Bruff, Merrion Road


Saturday, April 16: (kick-off 2.30pm, unless stated)
Monivea v Nenagh Ormond, Monivea
Naas v Rainey OB, Forenaughts