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Race Hots Up For Frazer McMullen Trophy

Race Hots Up For Frazer McMullen Trophy

The All-Ireland Under-20 Championship semi-finals will take place next Saturday, with Blackrock College entertaining Lansdowne in a mouth-watering Dublin derby and title holders UL Bohemians travelling to UCD for a showdown between the students.

UL Bohemians’ grip on the Frazer McMullen trophy is sure to be tested this weekend as they travel to Belfield to take on a UCD side buoyed by their 12-5 quarter-final defeat of a fancied UCC.

Coached by John McClean and Vinny Hammond, the UCD Under-20s have already won the Conroy Cup and Maher Cup titles this season and they will be eager to put one over on the All-Ireland champions.

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UCD had a number of their underage players on AIB League duty last weekend – ironically against UL Bohs – and with those players available for Saturday’s game, ‘College are favoured to advance to the final.

There are two obvious factors pointing to a UCD win – the match is being played at Belfield and UL Bohemians also missed out on 80 minutes of rugby last weekend, following their walkover over Ulster opposition at the quarter-final stage.

However, coach Mike Nix is confident that the UL Bohs squad will give a good account for themselves and they are sure to relish the underdogs’ tag and the fact that they are the only Munster representatives left.

The other semi-final will see the Under-20s of Blackrock College and Lansdowne go head-to-head at Stradbrook.

A close affair is expected and both teams seem to be in a rich vein of form, judging by ‘Rock’s 50-10 quarter-final victory at Dungannon and Lansdowne’s 32-10 quarter-final defeat of Buccaneers at home.

When the sides met at Ballycorus in November, Lansdowne scored a 20-8 win. Their most recent meeting, at Stradbrook in February, went ‘Rock’s way (17-16).

Both of those games were in the JP Flanagan Premier Super Six Group 1, which Lansdowne comfortably topped with seven wins out of eight.

Lansdowne boast a particularly strong back row unit and are well able to take their scores, but the same can be said of Blackrock.

Adding to the intrigue, there should be a number of this season’s Ireland Under-20 players facing off against each other, including Blackrock place-kicker Ian Madigan and big Lansdowne centre Eamonn Sheridan.

Notably, Blackrock are unbeaten in their last five games – including their 29-12 All-Ireland qualifier victory over St. Mary’s College – and they looked poised to make it six at Lansdowne’s expense.


Saturday, April 4 –

UCD v UL Bohemians, Belfield, 2.30pm

Blackrock College v Lansdowne, Stradbrook, 2.30pm