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Division Two Final Preview: UCC v Young Munster

Division Two Final Preview: UCC v Young Munster

Two first-time finalists meet in Saturday’s AIB League Division Two final as UCC look to make up for missing out on promotion and Young Munster aim to add silverware to their trophy cabinet ahead of their return to the top flight.

2007/08 AIB LEAGUE DIVISION TWO FINAL: Saturday, April 19

UCC v YOUNG MUNSTER, Donnybrook, 4pm
Referee: David Keane (Leinster)

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Previous League Meetings: 6 (UCC won 2, Young Munster won 4); At the Mardyke: 3 (UCC won 1, Young Munster won 2); At Tom Clifford Park: 3 (UCC won 1 Young Munster won 2)

This Season: Sunday, March 16, 2008 – UCC 0 Young Munster 3, The Mardyke

Recent League Form: UCC (most recent games on left hand side): WWWLW
Young Munster: WWWWW

Previous Division Two Play-Off Finals:

Saturday, May 8, 2002 – Belfast Harlequins 43 UL Bohemians 29, Lansdowne Road
Saturday, May 10, 2003 – Dolphin 29 Old Crescent 19, Lansdowne Road
Saturday, May 8, 2004 – Dublin University 23 UL Bohemians 22, Lansdowne Road
Saturday, May 7, 2005 – UL Bohemians 18 St. Mary’s College 12, Lansdowne Road
2006 – No final played
Saturday, April 28, 2007 – Greystones 37 Old Belvedere 21, Templeville Road

UCC – NOTES: * This is the first time that UCC have made it through to an AIB League play-off final. They finished fourth in this season’s Division Two table and were not promoted
* The story on the road in Division Two this season is played 8, won 5, drawn 1 and lost 2. They played a Connacht club, Buccaneers, in last weekend’s semi-finals and managed to beat them 15-13 at Dubarry Park. It was the first away win in seven seasons of Division Two play-offs
* They first played AIB League rugby against Young Munster in December 2002 – lost 16-13 away in Limerick. Have lost their last three AIB League games against Young Munster
* They have spent three seasons in AIB League Division Three and twelve seasons in Division Two. Overall, they are ranked 28th of the 48 clubs currently competing in the league
* Their all-time AIB League record reads played 215, won 104, drawn 17 and lost 94 – for a success rate of 52%
* It is like 2003 when two Munster clubs met in the Division Two decider and it is also Cork v Limerick once more
* UCC lost three matches in Division Two this season, all against Munster opposition – Highfield, Clonakilty and Young Munster
* Over the years, they have been involved in more drawn games (17) than any other AIB League club. Won their opening eight games in Division Two this season. They led Division Two over five rounds this season
* Altogether, they have played 67 AIB League matches against other Munster clubs and won 33 of them. Gathered as many bonus points (4) as their opponents this weekend did in Division Two this season
* Return this weekend to the venue where they beat Toulouse in the European Students championship final in April 1999. Require three more tries to top 400 tries in the all-time AIB League
* Achievements: They have appeared in five of the seven AIB League Division Two play-off semi-finals to date

UCC – 2007/08 AIB LEAGUE RECORD:

Played 16 matches, won 12, drawn 1 and lost 3; Success Rate: 78%

Points For: 286 (29 tries, 21 conversions, 3 penalty goals and 2 drop goals); Points Against: 183 (19 tries, 14 conversions and 20 penalty goals); Points Difference: +103; Tries Difference: +10

UCC – 2007/08 TOP SCORERS:

POINTS –

147 – Gavin Dunne (2 tries, 19 conversions, 30 penalty goals and 3 drop goals)
19 – Scott Deasy (3 tries and 2 conversions)

TRIES –

4 – Peter Shallow, Colin Crowley
3 – Scott Deasy, Will Hanly
2 – Gavin Dunne, Alex Kelleher, Stephen Archer, Sean Scanlon
1 – Ivan Dineen, Neilus Keogh, Brian Dennehy, Gavin Blower, Rob Barry, Ronan O’Neill, David Nathan

CLUB DETAILS:

President: Prof. Nollaig Parfrey
Coach: Conor ‘CT’ Twomey
Assistant Coaches: John O’Mahony, John Kelly, Bryan Hyland
Manager: John Donnelly
Captain: Alex Kelleher
Sponsors: Bank of Ireland, Gilbert, Kukri

2007/08 SQUAD:

Full-Backs: Scott Deasy, Padraic Kilcoyne, Sean Scanlon
Wingers: Will Hanly, Gavin Blower, Peter Shallow, Colin Crowley
Centres: Brian Dennehy, Paul Moynihan, Alex Kelleher, Ivan Dineen
Out-Halves: Gavin Dunne, Ronan O’Sullivan
Scrum Halves: Sam Cronin, Courtney Canning
Props: Ronan O’Neill, Roibeard Wilmot, Stephen Archer, Jason Carton
Hookers: Wayne Falvey, Matt Kearney, Noel Finneran
Second Rows: Ian Nagle, Eamonn Nugent, Neilus Keogh, Chris Kenefick
Flankers: Don Keogh, David Nathan, Shane O’Sullivan, Conor Harbison, Will O’Donovan
Number 8s: Rob Barry, John Ryan

YOUNG MUNSTER – NOTES: * This is Young Munster’s first time in an AIB League Division Two play-off final. Finished runners-up in this season’s table and were promoted
* The story on the road in Division Two this season is played 8, won 4, drawn 2 and lost 2. They played an Ulster club, Belfast Harlequins, in last weekend’s semi-finals and beat them 42-22 at home
* Altogether, they have played 81 AIB League matches against Munster clubs and have won 39 of those games. They have spent 11 seasons in AIB League Division One and seven seasons in Division Two. Overall, they are ranked 11th of the 48 clubs currently competing in the league
* They have won their last seven AIB League games. Their only Division Two losses this season were to Ballynahinch and Thomond. Their recent semi-final victory set a new consecutive league wins record for the club
* They conceded the least points (129) and the least tries (11) during Division Two’s regulation phase this season. Derek Corcoran, their captain this season, is the top all-time AIB League try scorer at the club with 33 touchdowns to his name
* They kicked the most penalty goals (32) in Division Two’s regulation phase. They led Division Two over four rounds this season and were knocked off the top perch on the last Saturday
* Their all-time AIB League record reads played 229, won 119, drawn 13 and lost 97 – giving them a success rate of 55%. They won promotion recently after six long seasons in Division Two
* Achievements: They were AIB League Division One champions in the 1992/93 seasons, played in two Division One championship finals in 1997/98 and 2000/01 and three Division Two semi-finals (2005/06, 2006/07 and 2007/08)

YOUNG MUNSTER – 2007/08 AIB LEAGUE RECORD:

Played 16 matches, won 12, drawn 2 and lost 2; Success Rate: 81%

Points For: 314 (34 tries, 18 conversions, 34 penalty goals and 2 drop goals); Points Against: 151 (14 tries, 9 conversions and 21 penalty goals); Points Difference: +163; Tries Difference: +20

YOUNG MUNSTER – 2007/08 TOP SCORERS:

POINTS –

79 – Mark Connolly (4 tries, 10 conversions and 13 penalty goals)
45 – Tom Wells (1 try, 5 conversions and 10 penalty goals)
32 – Conor Murray (3 tries, 4 conversions and 3 penalty goals)
26 – Matt Costello (4 tries and 2 penalty goals)
24 – Tom Cregan (7 penalty goals and 1 drop goal)

TRIES –

7 – Derek Corcoran
4 – Matt Costello, Mark Connolly
3 – Michael South, Conor Murray
2 – Stephen Carey, Cian Clohessy
1 – James O’Neill, Kieran Gallagher, Tom Wells, Jon Ryan, Tom Cronin, Ger Slattery, Shane O’Neill, Paudie McMahon, Ger Flaherty

CLUB DETAILS:

President: John Galvin
Coach: Mike Lynch
Assistant Coach: Mick O’Halloran
Manager: Eddie Fitzgerald
Captain: Derek Corcoran
Sponsors: Bus Eireann

2007/08 SQUAD:

Full-Backs: Mark Connolly, Stephen Carey
Wingers: Derek Corcoran, Michael South, John Cusack, Tom Cregan
Centres: Aidan McNulty, Cian Clohessy, Eamonn Broderick
Out-Halves: Tom Wells, Matt Costello
Scrum Halves: Tom Cronin, Conor Murray, Diarmuid Upton, David Corcoran
Props: Hugh McGrath, Ger Flaherty, Alan Cotter
Hookers: Paudie McMahon, Ger Slattery
Second Rows: Darragh Payne, Jon Ryan, Shane O’Neill
Flankers: Gareth Walsh, Eoin Ryan, Liam Og Murphy, Kieran Gallagher, Ger Ryan, Ronan Piggott, James O’Neill
Number 8s: Darragh McDonagh, Mark Shorley

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win by less than 7 points

– AIB League statistics supplied by Des Daly