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Division One Semi-Final Preview: Clontarf v Garryowen

Division One Semi-Final Preview: Clontarf v Garryowen

Can Clontarf avenge their recent league defeat at home to Garryowen and book a play-off final for departing coach Phil Werahiko, or will the AIB Cup-winning Limerick men chalk up their third straight victory over the north Dubliners at Castle Avenue and keep their double dreams alive?

AIB LEAGUE: Saturday, April 28

DIVISION ONE SEMI-FINAL:

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CLONTARF v GARRYOWEN, Castle Avenue, 2.30pm
Referee: Alan Lewis (Leinster)

Previous AIB League Meetings: Played 10, Clontarf Won 4, Drawn 1, Garryowen Won 5; At Castle Avenue: Played 6, Clontarf Won 3, Garryowen Won 3

Last Match: AIB League Division One – April 7, 2007 – Clontarf 10 Garryowen 12, Castle Avenue

2006/07 AIB League Form (most recent match on the left): Clontarf: WLWWW; Garryowen: WWWWW

Clontarf – Notes: * They finished second in the final Division One table, as they did last season. This is only their second time to entertain a Munster in the AIB League this season
* So far this season, they have won five and lost two of their home matches in the league. Saturday’s game marks their 32nd league fixture at home to a Munster club and they are seeking their 21st victory
* They have finished as the top Leinster club in Division One in five of the past six seasons. For the third year running, they are the only club flying the Leinster flag in the Division One play-offs
* They first played AIB League rugby against Garryowen during the 1997/98 season
* They have produced six AIB Club international players during the past two seasons whereas Garryowen have had five players capped
* Over 15 seasons in the league, they have never won the Division One title, but have appeared in two finals – 2002/03 and 2005/06. They were Division Two champions in 1997
* They have qualified for the Division One play-offs in five of the last six seasons – their record in the play-offs reads: played six, won two and lost four

Top Points Scorers in the AIB League: Conal Keane 52, Daragh O’Shea 46, Matt Nethery 45
Top Try Scorers in the AIB League: Daragh O’Shea, Fiach O’Loughlin 5 each, Johnny Wickham 3

Garryowen – Notes: * They finished third in the final Division One table. This is their fifth AIB League visit to Leinster this season
* So far this season, they have won four and lost four of their league fixtures on the road
* This is their 50th AIB League fixture away in Leinster and they are seeking their 32nd victory
* During the regulation phase of this season’s league, they beat the two Leinster clubs they played at home but won only once of their four matches away in the eastern province
* They won 12-10 on their most recent league visit to Castle Avenue, earlier this month. The match was shown live on RTE Two. Having beaten Clontarf 15-14 in last season’s AIB Cup quarter-final meeting, they are on a hat-trick of victories at Castle Avenue this weekend
* They were the top Limerick club in Division One on three occasions this season – after rounds 5, 6 and 15
* Over the ten seasons of the Division One play-offs, they have reached the semi-finals on five occasions. Their record in play-off games reads: played seven, won two and lost five and includes being beaten finalists on two occasions – in 1998 and 1999

Top Points Scorers in the AIB League: Conor Kilroy 79, Eoghan Hickey 42, Ciaran O’Boyle 35
Top Try Scorers in the AIB League: Ciaran O’Boyle 7, Anthony Kavanagh 6, Damien Varley 4

– AIB League statistics supplied by Des Daly –