Bruff look odds-on to join runaway leaders Lansdowne in AIB League Division 1B next season after a tight win at home to Bective Rangers. Meanwhile, Terenure College scored a fine away victory at Clonakilty to move up to fourth and Greystones’ relegation was confirmed when they went down to Corinthians.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 2 RESULTS: Saturday, March 27
Bruff 19 Bective Rangers 17, Kilballyowen Park
Clonakilty 6 Terenure College 35, Shannonvale Cross
De La Salle Palmerston 17 Lansdowne 20, Kirwan Park
Dublin University 11 Old Wesley 19, College Park
Greystones 10 Corinthians 22, Dr. Hickey Park
Highfield 18 Belfast Harlequins 19, Woodleigh Park
Malone 51 UCD 28, Gibson Park
Thomond 44 Old Crescent 3, Liam Fitzgerald Park
Terenure cut loose at Shannonvale Cross to record their fourth straight league win and boost their chances of featuring in the end of season play-offs.
Coached by Ian Morgan and James Blaney, ‘Nure boast a talented bunch of players but their home loss to Bruff in January looks like being the result they will rue.
Second-placed Bruff (44 points) are seven points ahead of Morgan’s men (37) in the standings, with De La Salle Palmerston (39) sandwiched in between.
It will be a shoot-out between these three sides to decide who joins Lansdowne in making the leap into Division 1B, as fifth-placed Bective (35 points) only have one game left.
On Saturday, Terenure ran in four tries through full-back Adam O’Loughlin, scrum half and captain Mark Mahony, winger Graham Coffey and French centre Ianis Deniau, with former Leinster out-half David McAllister and winger Mark O’Neill kicked the rest of the points between them.
Clonakilty, who have secured their Division 2 status, had two successful penalties from Tongan international out-half Kurt Morath.
Bruff had to fight tooth and nail against Bective as they extended their unbeaten league run in 2010 to six matches.
At Kilballyowen Park, the Limerick side were rewarded for a bilstering start when number 8 Mike Carroll crossed for a 13th minute try, after team captain Brian Cahill had inspired the back-line into life.
Cahill added the conversion, and Bective remained scoreless as out-half Cormac O’Beirne missed his first shot at the posts.
A slick back-line move led to winger Andrew Cashman collecting Bruff’s second try, which Cahill converted. Bective managed to open their account in first half injury-time, with O’Beirne landing a penalty.
The Dubliners closed the gap further, just two minutes into the second half, when full-back Rory McInerney broke through the home defence and touched down for O’Beirne to convert.
It was game on as Bective looked to seize control, but four minutes later, Bruff were celebrating their third try.
It was an excellent response from Eoin Cahill’s side as winger Nigel Riordan stole the ball after a Bective maul had broken down and muscled his way over in the left corner for the score, making it 19-10.
Bruff had plenty of possession thereafter but they failed to add to their tally and Bective, winning penalty after penalty at the breakdown, hit back with a late try.
With eight minutes remaining, number 8 John Byrne showed a clean pair of heels to the Bruff cover as he broke from his ten-metre line and made it over by the posts for a well-taken score.
O’Beirne’s successful conversion put just two points between the sides, but Bruff, with some good work by their pack and well-drilled defence, held out for a hard-fought victory which guarantees their place in the semi-finals.
Thomond romped to a memorable 44-3 win over Limerick rivals Old Crescent in a one-sided derby clash at Liam Fitzgerald Park.
Crescent, who remain in relegation trouble, scored a single penalty through out-half Mark Woods. Thomond had tries from Michael Long, Darragh O’Neill, Ger Finucane and Niall McNamara, while their talented number 10 Declan Cusack finished with a brilliant haul of 24 points (a try, five conversions and three penalties).
Table toppers Lansdowne maintained their remarkable winning run, enjoying their 13th straight success by outlasting third-placed DLSP in a closely-fought encounter at Kirwan Park.
Lansdowne outscored the hosts by three tries to two, with backs Matt Healy, Ross McCarron and Greg Stafford all crossing the whitewash.
Centre Ken Copeland and prop Ken Taite, who made his 100th consecutive league appearance last season, touched down for ‘Salmo.
A stunning individual try by Ireland Under-19 flanker Dominic Gallagher was the highlight for Dublin University as they fell to a 19-11 home defeat at the hands of Old Wesley.
Wesley ended a run of four consecutive league losses at College Park, and led 6-0 at half-time thanks to a brace of penalties from out-half David Smith.
The visitors upped the ante in the second half, putting more pace on the ball and good combination play between backs and forwards set up a well-taken try by winger Barry McLaughlin.
Wesley moved 16-3 ahead courtesy of a second unconverted try, as Smith passed for centre Michael Hastings to hit the line at an angle and outpace the Trinity defence for a superb score.
Debutant James O’Donoghue kicked a penalty to reduce the arrears for the hosts, and a drop goal from Smith settled the issue, despite Gallagher’s late effort from a quick counter attack.
At Dr. Hickey Park, Corinthians ran in three tries as bottom side Greystones relinquished their Division 2 status with a 22-10 defeat.
The ‘Stones side put in a brave display, but it was not enough as Joey Merrigan, Finn Gormley and Darin Claasen touched down for the recent Glynn Cup winners.
Belfast Harlequins edged out Highfield on a 19-18 scoreline at Woodleigh Park, with winger Richard Reaney kicking 11 points.
‘Quins were 9-8 ahead at half-time and were able to maintain their narrow lead, despite leaking tries to the Cork side’s David Kelly and Paddy Ryan.
Highfield and Old Crescent are locked in a relegation battle, with just two points separating the sides ahead of the final round of matches.
Meanwhile, the Gibson Park faithful were treated to an 11-try thriller as Malone touched down seven times in a 51-28 win over UCD.
Malone were in fine form in the opening half as, having gone 7-0 down, they hit back with tries from Mark McCrea, Josh Pentland, John Anderson and Johnny Burgess. Out-half Pentland kicked three conversions and two penalties.
UCD hit back with tries from Michael Twomey and Kevin Croke, but Malone put the result beyond doubt and reached the half century as Sean Dougal, Michael Barker and Michael Wilson ran in further tries, with Pentland taking his tally to 21 points.
Click here for video highlights of the Malone v UCD game.