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Division Three: Semi-Final Round-Up

Division Three: Semi-Final Round-Up

Next Saturday’s AIB League Division Three final will be a Munster-Ulster affair after Bruff and Instonians emerged victorious from the semi-finals, with Bruff now just 80 minutes from their second successive play-off title.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION THREE SEMI-FINALS: Saturday, April 12

BRUFF 22 BANBRIDGE 9, Kilballyowen Park

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Scorers: Bruff: Tries: Gary Leonard, Paul O’Brien; Pens: Brian Cahill 4

Banbridge: Pens: Richard Finlay 3

Bruff are through to the Division Three final for the second year running after seeing off Banbridge at Kilballyowen Park on Saturday afternoon.

Tries in either half from back-line duo Gary Leonard and Paul O’Brien were the crucial scores for the promoted Limerick side.

Both teams have to be commended for the quality of rugby played despite hailstorms and a strong wind.

Place-kickers Brian Cahill and Richard Finlay swapped two penalties apiece as Bruff led 11-6 at half-time.

Although out-half Cahill failed to convert O’Brien’s effort, two more penalties from his boot saw Bruff canter into next Saturday’s Donnybrook decider.

INSTONIANS 69 QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY 17, Shaw’s Bridge

Scorers: Instonians: Tries: John Gardiner 2, Darren Lyttle 2, David O’Hara 2, Scott Uren 2, Adam Glass, Gary Mitchell, Josh Devitt; Cons: Owen McMurray 7

Queen’s University: Tries: Michael Barker 2, David McIlwaine; Con: Ian Porter

There was an avalanche of tries at Shaw’s Bridge on Saturday as 11-try Instonians rampaged past Queen’s University in a one-sided Belfast derby.

‘Inst were well on course for a place in the final as they led 29-7 at half-time.

To their credit, Queen’s, who only finished two points behind the hosts in the table, never let their heads drop and full-back David McIlwaine, who recently played for the Ireland Under-19s, and winger Michael Barker shared out their tries.

A high score-line was always expected in this game given that the sides scored 834 points between them during the league’s regulation phase.

‘Inst’s cocktail of power and pace simply overwhelmed the students at times with John Gardiner, Darren Lyttle, David O’Hara and Scott Uren all helping themselves to a brace of tries.

Adam Glass, Gary Mitchell and Josh Devitt were also off the mark for the home side, whose out-half Owen McMurray landed seven conversions.

It all sets up a fascinating clash between ‘Inst and table toppers Bruff at Donnybrook next Saturday.

Only a point separated the sides when they met at Kilballyowen Park in February – Bruff were 6-5 winners – and another tight game looks on the cards in the final.