There was disappointment for Sean Cronin with Leinster today but joy for his younger brother Neil as he steered Garryowen to a runaway 41-19 promotion/relegation play-off win over Old Wesley.
Neil Cronin, the Light Blues’ scrum half and captain, scored a try and kicked 16 points as the hosts prevailed at Dooradoyle to keep alive their hopes of staying up in Ulster Bank League Division 1A.
Old Wesley, the fourth-placed finishers in Division 1B, were only 10-9 behind at the break after Tim Clifford kicked three penalties in response to Cronin’s penalty and converted try.
Cronin’s reliable right boot had Garryowen four points in front before the try-fest began, Ireland Students back rower Bailey Faloon getting the first before Sean O’Connor, a member of the British & Irish Cup-winning Munster ‘A’ squad, also crossed the Wesley whitewash.
Centre Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham’s intercept try pushed the gap out to 34-9, with Cronin continuing his dead-eye form off the tee. Wesley kept battling and had tries from centre duo Isaac Leota and David Poff, however Steven McMahon wrapped up the win for Garryowen with a closing seven-pointer.
It will be an all-Limerick promotion/relegation play-off final at Dooradoyle next Saturday after UL Bohemians edged out Naas 19-17 in a thrilling contest at Forenaughts.
UL’s Kiwi centre Rick McKenna was in fine form with the boot, landing four penalties and converting lock Noel Kinnane’s 36th-minute try. McKenna’s pinpoint kicking, including a late long range effort, had Bohs leading 16-3 at the break.
He had another successful attempt in the 50th minute before Naas, who were bidding for back-to-back promotions after winning Division 2A last year, made Bohs sweat late on with converted tries from backs Fionn Carr (75 minutes) and Fionn Higgins (77).
Dolphin will have home advantage in their Division 1B promotion/relegation play-off final against Nenagh Ormond. They kept up their excellent late season form when overcoming Malone 20-8, with assistant coach Barry Keeshan kicking two penalties and converting tries from Will Hanly and Ryan Murphy.
New Zealander Clayton Stewart scored all of Nenagh Ormond’s points in the second half, including a rousing try, as they came from nine points down to hand hosts Highfield a gritty 13-9 defeat.
The Division 2A promotion/relegation play-off decider will be contested by Armagh and Old Crescent, the Limerick side sending Sunday’s Well down with a 46-21 hammering at Irish Independent Park today. Promising winger Val McDermott scored two of their six tries.
Rainey Old Boys and Tullamore both won on the road in Saturday’s Division 2B promotion/relegation play-offs, with the Magherafelt men, who include ex-Ulster players Ricky Andrew and Tim Barker, at home in the final.
Ulster junior champions Omagh ended Clonmel’s promotion hopes in the last round of the Round Robin qualifiers. They won 25-13 thanks largely to first half tries from back rowers James Catterson (2) and Mervyn Edgar. Having finished as runners-up, the Accies will have a winner-takes-all encounter with Boyne at Shamrock Lodge next Saturday, the victors securing the final spot in Division 2C for next season.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE RESULTS: Saturday, April 22/Sunday, April 23
DIVISION 1A PROMOTION/RELEGATION PLAY-OFF SEMI-FINALS:
GARRYOWEN 41 OLD WESLEY 19, Dooradoyle
Scorers: Garryowen: Tries: Neil Cronin, Bailey Faloon, Sean O’Connor, Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham, Steven McMahon; Cons: Neil Cronin 5; Pens: Neil Cronin 2
Old Wesley: Tries: Isaac Leota, David Poff; Pens: Tim Clifford 3
HT: Garryowen 10 Old Wesley 9
GARRYOWEN: Liam Coombes; Steven McMahon, Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham, Dave McCarthy, Peadar Collins; Andrew O’Byrne, Neil Cronin (capt); Niall Horan, Diarmuid Barron, JP Phelan, Sean O’Connor, Barra O’Byrne, Dara Shanahan, Mikey Wilson, Bailey Faloon.
Replacements: Eamonn Costelloe, Mike O’Donnell, Johnny Keane, Sam Gleeson, Ronan O’Halloran, Tim Ferguson, Jamie Heuston.
OLD WESLEY: Rory Stynes; Ger Finucane, David Poff, Isaac Leota, Paul Harte; Tim Clifford, Adam Kennedy; Martin Gately, David Rowley, James Burton, Josh Hinde, Iain McGann (capt), Conor Maguire, Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley.
Replacements: Darren Horan, David Henshaw, Michael Dunleavy, Aaron Browne, Matthew Bursey, Adam Griggs, Jack Maybury.
NAAS 17 UL BOHEMIANS 19, Forenaughts
Scorers: Naas: Tries: Fionn Carr, Fionn Higgins; Cons: Peter Osborne 2; Pen: Peter Osborne
UL Bohemians: Try: Noel Kinnane; Con: Rick McKenna; Pens: Rick McKenna 4
HT: Naas 3 UL Bohemians 16
NAAS: Peter Osborne; Fionn Carr, Johne Murphy, Henry Bryce, Peter Howard; Ben Swindlehurst, Max Whittingham; Adam Coyle, Graham Reynolds, Jason Harney, Paul Monahan, David Benn, Andrew Kearney, Will O’Brien (capt), Paulie Tolofua.
Replacements: Warren Larkin, Conor Doyle, Stephen Kinneavy, Eoin Walsh, Michael Skelton, Fionn Higgins, Ben O’Connor.
UL BOHEMIANS: Joe Murray; Cian Aherne, Harry Fleming, Rick McKenna, Colin Ryan; Robbie Bourke, Angus Lloyd; Padraig Nesbitt, Joe Bennett, Mike Lynch, Noel Kinnane, Daragh Frawley, James Ryan, Ian Condell (capt), Brian Walsh.
Replacements: Joe Moloney, Peter King, Pat Staff, Rory White, Jamie McNamara.
Division 1A promotion/relegation play-off final: Garryowen v UL Bohemians, Dooradoyle, Saturday, April 29
DIVISION 1B PROMOTION/RELEGATION PLAY-OFF SEMI-FINALS:
HIGHFIELD 9 NENAGH ORMOND 13, Woodleigh Park
Scorers: Highfield: Pens: Paddy O’Toole 3
Nenagh Ormond: Try: Clayton Stewart; Con: Clayton Stewart; Pens: Clayton Stewart 2
HT: Highfield 6 Nenagh Ormond 0
HIGHFIELD: Paddy O’Toole (capt); Peter Martin, Ben Murphy, Mark Dorgan, Luke Kingston; Brian Hea, Kevin Foyle; John O’Callaghan, Dave O’Hea, Ian McCarthy, Dave O’Connell, Fintan O’Sullivan, Colm Gallagher, Marc O’Connell, Miah Cronin.
Replacements: Dan Healy, Conor Forde, Dave O’Callaghan, Jack Duffy, Michael O’Donnell-Fitzgerald, Chris Bannon, John McLoughlin.
NENAGH ORMOND: Eathon Maloney; Darragh Hussey, Willie O’Connor, Willie Coffey, Derek Corcoran; Clayton Stewart, Eoin Gardiner; Fergal Brislane, Conor Muldoon, John Hayes, Kevin Seymour, Kevin O’Flaherty (capt), John Healy, Keith Quigley, Lemeki Viapula.
Replacements: Aidan Doyle, John Coffey, Mike Slattery, Kevin O’Gorman, John O’Flaherty, David Mackey, Bruce Hayes.
DOLPHIN 20 MALONE 8, Irish Independent Park
Scorers: Dolphin: Tries: Will Hanly, Ryan Murphy; Cons: Barry Keeshan 2; Pens: Barry Keeshan 2
Malone: Try: Neil Alcorn; Pen: Mark O’Connor
HT: Dolphin 13 Malone 3
DOLPHIN: Timmy Phelan; Gerry Ryan, Cian McGovern, Ian O’Donoghue, Will Hanly; Barry Keeshan (capt), Daryl Foley; Liam Walsh, David Byrne, James Rochford, Rob O’Herlihy, Dave O’Mahony, Barry Fitzgerald, Kevin Allen, John Fitzgerald.
Replacements: Caolan O’Flynn, Lar Coughlan, Ryan Murphy, Karl Keogh, Sam Kennedy, Cillian Monahan, Shane McAuliffe.
MALONE: Jack Owens; Andy Bryans, Michael Cartmill, Mark McCrea, Mark O’Connor; Callum Smith, Shane Kelly; Dane Fitzpatrick, Danny Kerr, Phil Eadie, James McAllister, Josh Davidson, Dave Cave, Max Porter, Neil Alcorn (capt).
Replacements: Lee Barlow, Ben Halliday, Josh Ferguson, Conor Spence, Nathan Brown, Michael Barker, Josh Pentland.
Division 1B promotion/relegation play-off final: Dolphin v Nenagh Ormond, Irish Independent Park, Saturday, April 29
DIVISION 2A PROMOTION/RELEGATION PLAY-OFF SEMI-FINALS:
ARMAGH 20 WANDERERS 15, Palace Grounds (after extra-time)
SUNDAY’S WELL 21 OLD CRESCENT 46, Irish Independent Park
Division 2A promotion/relegation play-off final: Armagh v Old Crescent, Palace Grounds, Saturday, April 29
DIVISION 2B PROMOTION/RELEGATION PLAY-OFF SEMI-FINALS:
SLIGO 21 RAINEY OLD BOYS 30, Hamilton Park
BECTIVE RANGERS 15 TULLAMORE 22, Donnybrook
Division 2B promotion/relegation play-off final: Rainey Old Boys v Tullamore, Hatrick Park, Saturday, April 29
ALL-IRELAND PROVINCIAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 3:
Ballina 38 Malahide 46, Heffernan Park
Omagh 25 Clonmel 13, Thomas Mellon Playing Fields
Round Robin champions/Promoted: Malahide
Division 2C promotion/relegation play-off: Boyne v Omagh, Shamrock Lodge, Saturday, April 29