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UCC On Course To Retain Play-Off Title

UCC On Course To Retain Play-Off Title

UCC, with their goal of promotion to Division One Section B already secured, crossed the next hurdle on the way to winning back-to-back AIB League Division Two titles with a 31-13 semi-final victory over Old Crescent.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION TWO SEMI-FINAL: Saturday, April 25

UCC 31 OLD CRESCENT 13, The Mardyke

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Scorers: Tries: Peter Shallow, Sam Cronin, Willie O’Donovan; Cons: Gavin Dunne 2; Pens: Gavin Dunne 4
Old Crescent: Try: Aaron Carroll; Con: Brian O’Shea; Pens: Brian O’Shea 2

UCC will face either Ballynahinch or Lansdowne in the Division Two final at Dooradoyle on May 9, after coming good in the second half of their semi-final clash with Old Crescent.

The table toppers took a 9-6 lead into the break, with their out-half Gavin Dunne kicking three penalty goals to two from Crescent’s Brian O’Shea.

But the damage was done in the final 40 minutes, during which the Cork side scored tries from Peter Shallow, team captain Sam Cronin and Willie O’Donovan.

Dunne extended UCC’s lead, eight minutes into the second half, with his fourth penalty of the afternoon. He coped well with a swirling breeze.

Two minutes later, UCC established their dominance when Dunne went down the blindside inside the Crescent 22, released hooker Wayne Falvey who ran strongly for 15 metres before returning the ball to Dunne who then sent his half-back partner Cronin crashing over for a try.

Dunne converted and fifteen minutes later, having survived several scrums on their own five-metre line, UCC broke downfield.

Full-back Scott Deasy broke through the centre and dinked a perfectly-weighted grubber kick into the right corner for speedy winger Shallow to dot down. Dunne converted for a 26-6 lead.

On 75 minutes, Old Crescent winger Aaron Carroll helped close the gap back to 13 points when he dashed down the right to score a superb try in the right corner, which O’Shea converted.

But UCC had the final say when forward pressure in the Crescent 22 led to a try for replacement prop O’Donovan.

UCC: S Deasy; B Derham, D Barnes, I Dineen, C Crowley; G Dunne, S Cronin (capt); R O’Neill, J Moynihan, S Archer, N Keogh, I Nagle, J Ryan, D Daly, R Barry.

Replacements used: P Shallon for Derham (30 mins), D O’Callaghan for Ryan, W Falvey for Moynihan (both half-time), W O’Donovan for Archer (66 mins), E Nugent for Keogh, A Kelleher for Dineen (both 73).

OLD CRESCENT: R Mabney; A Carroll, B Leahy, D Grace, K Ellis; B O’Shea, A Purcell; E McGovern, T Bowles, J Culinane, C McNamara, P Breen, S Malone, J O’Neill, P Glamuzina (capt).

Replacements used: M Woods for Mabney (30 mins), W Hanley for Grace (60), K Lyons for Ellis, J Corrigan for Bowles, W Cuddy for Malone (all 73).

Referee: Alan Rogan (IRFU)