This is the last weekend of the regular season in the AIB League. Lansdowne and Bruff have nailed down the promotion spots. Greystones and Highfield are relegated so that just leaves one play-off place and club pride to play for this Saturday in Division 2.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 2: Saturday, April 10
– Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated
Clonakilty (12th) v Bruff (2nd), Shannonvale Cross
A nice provincial derby to round off the season before the play-offs kick in. Clonakilty hauled themselves out of the danger zone with some good results and Bruff secured promotion in dramatic fashion last weekend, so this one is all about pride and both clubs have that in spades.
Clonakilty lost to Terenure last time out but before that they beat Bective, Old Crescent and Highfield so they have shown they can cause problems for any side.
Bruff notched up another chapter in their history last weekend as the former junior club clinched promotion to Division 1B of the AIB League, in a game where visitors Malone made them work long and hard for a one-point win.
This fixtures should go the way of the visitors provided they did not celebrate too much during the week!
De La Salle Palmerston (4th) v Corinthians (7th), Kirwan Park
The home team need a win on Saturday for a number of reasons. First and foremost a win will secure a play-off spot for them and should Terenure slip up against Thomond, it would see them finish third in the division.
‘Salmo have not won since beating UCD back in February, with that run including a loss to runaway leaders Lansdowne and a defeat to Old Crescent which probably cost them their shot at promotion.
Corinthians have won eight games and lost six for the season, and are comfortable in mid-table without threatening the top four. But they are on an impressing winning run of late, having beaten Belfast Harlequins, Greystones and Thomond in recent weeks.
A home win should be the result but the prospect of the the Galway side causing an upset is a live one.
Dublin University (13th) v Belfast Harlequins (8th), College Park
College Park on a clear spring Saturday afternoon is always worth a visit and the fact that there is a rugby match on is a bonus!
An unsatisfactory season for both clubs really. Trinity slipped gradually down the table and also failed to win the Colours match.
Visitors Belfast Harlequins may have hoped to make the jump to Division 1B but could not match the bigger teams at times and will rebuild for next season, with a win in Dublin the best way to sign off on the 2009/10 campaign.
Greystones (16th) v Bective Rangers (5th), Dr. Hickey Park
Greystones’ fate was clear pretty early in the season and they struggled to make headway. They will rebuild in Division 3 next season and they certainly will not lie down for their provincial neighbours on Saturday.
Bective have played some good rugby this season and they need more of it in County Wicklow on Saturday if they are to get some reward in the form of a play-off spot. Rangers need a favour from Corinthians but if they can secure a bonus point win then at least they will have given their all.
Highfield (14th) v Old Crescent (15th), Woodleigh Park
It was all set up for a winner-takes-all, loser-is-relegated clash on the final day of the season and then…Old Crescent did the unthinkable and went and beat Lansdowne last weekend to save their skins and condemn Highfield to Division 3 next season.
The home side cannot really blame their visitors on Saturday but expect them to be smarting for revenge nonetheless.
Crescent can travel secure in the knowledge that they are safe from the drop, but by the skin of their teeth and courtesy of the most unlikely result of the season last Saturday.
Malone (10th) v Lansdowne (1st), Gibson Park
Malone finish the season boosted by their recent win over local rivals Belfast Harlequins, but also with an eye for next season. They made Bruff work very hard last weekend, and piled the points on UCD before that.
Visitors Lansdowne nearly had it all – the perfect season. They went into last weekend with thirteen wins in thirteen games, over 400 points scored and eight try-scoring bonus points to boot.
They are still first, still promoted but they lost the perfect season to Old Crescent, will they finish on a high against Malone or keep their powder dry for the play-offs? Saturday will tell.
Thomond (9th) v Terenure College (3rd), Liam Fitzgerald Park
Thomond have won six, drawn two and lost six so Saturday is a chance to finish in the black, as it were, for the Limerick side.
They hammered local rivals Old Crescent last time out and squeezed past Old Wesley the week before and will make any side work for their points at Liam Fitzgerald Park.
Terenure will finish third if they win on Saturday – just reward for emerging from the pack, chasing Lansdowne and Bruff and things are looking up for next season.
‘Nure beat the bottom three in recent weeks but also took care of Bective and Belfast Harlequins. Saturday should show their ambition for next term.
UCD (11th) v Old Wesley (6th), Belfield
UCD will not be happy with their league position but on the plus side they took the Colours back to Belfield recently.
They have lost to Malone and Terenure in recent weeks and while they will want to finish on a high, visitors Old Wesley will have more to say on Saturday.
Wesley have enjoyed a good season after securing promotion from Division 3. Mathematically, a big, big win on Saturday and losses for DLSP and Bective would see them qualify for the semi-finals – unlikely though as they need a 70-point swing or thereabouts.
An away win is on the cards and bodes well for Wesley next season.