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Ulster Bank League: Promotion/Relegation Play-Offs Round-Up

Ulster Bank League: Promotion/Relegation Play-Offs Round-Up

A new name will grace Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League next season after Banbridge and UCC came through two high-scoring play-off semi-finals. Bann will have home advantage in next Saturday’s promotion decider against the Cork students.

UCC enjoyed a Racing-like start to their semi-final at St. Mary’s College, striking for tries through Rob O’Donovan, Peter Sylvester and Murray Linn inside the opening 24 minutes. Full-back Richard Walsh added a fourth for a comprehensive 26-7 interval lead.

Ronan Watters, Dave Fanagan and Marcus O’Driscoll all touched down for Mary’s, raising hopes of a comeback with the gap reduced to 26-21, but Brian Walsh’s talented youngsters had more in the tank. Impressive out-half James Taylor, who kicked 11 points, converted centre Sylvester’s second score to seal the result.

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Bann, who drew and lost their regular season clashes with UCC, won their all-Ulster semi-final 28-24 against Ballynahinch in dramatic circumstances. Coming from 12 points down, three penalties from current Ireland Under-20 international James Hume and a late penalty try, awarded for a collapsed maul, saw Daniel Soper’s men prevail.

The league’s narrow margins were summed up by UL Bohemians’ relegation just a year on from almost qualifying for the top flight. The Red Robins have slipped down to Division 2A after losing 23-18 to a tenacious Nenagh Ormond side. Nenagh’s Kiwi full-back Clayton Stewart booted his third penalty in the 59th minute to add to first half tries from Derek Corcoran and Kevin O’Flaherty.

The winners of City of Armagh v Nenagh will be promoted to Division 1B, the Ulstermen advancing with a 27-13 semi-final success at Highfield, while the final Division 2A place will go to either Rainey Old Boys or Navan, and the Division 2B promotion/relegation decider is an all-Ulster affair between Belfast Harlequins, who were relegated the last two years, and ever-improving Omagh.

The Accies had one of the results of the day, winning 34-13 at home to Thomond thanks to tries from Adam Longwell, James Catterson, Kyle Alexander, Ryan Mitchell (2) and Ali Beckett. Influential out-half Scott Elliott showed great footwork to set up Catterson’s score, breaking the defensive line and stepping around a defender before getting his hands free in a tackle to send the supporting flanker over.

Braces from Daniel Molloy and Chris O’Neill in a 41-18 victory at Instonians has Connacht Junior champions Ballina on the cusp of securing a Division 2C spot. They top the All-Ireland Provincial League Championship table on 10 points, four clear of Bandon.

The west Cork outfit notched eight tries – including doubles from Gearoid Crowley, Billy Crowley and Christian Mulcahy – in an excellent 55-26 triumph at Ashbourne. First place and second place are still very much up for grabs in next Saturday’s final round.


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This season sees the introduction of the #UBLTry of the Month award with a prize of 250 euro for each monthly winner and entry into the Try of the Year award.


ST. MARY’S COLLEGE 24 UCC 36, Templeville Road
Scorers: St. Mary’s College: Tries: Ronan Watters, Dave Fanagan, Marcus O’Driscoll; Cons: Sean Kearns 3; Pen: Sean Kearns
UCC: Tries: Rob O’Donovan, Peter Sylvester 2, Murray Linn, Richard Walsh; Cons: James Taylor 4; Pen: James Taylor

HT: St. Mary’s College 7 UCC 26

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE: Sean Kearns; Terry Kennedy, Marcus O’Driscoll, Myles Carey, Dave Fanagan; Conor Dean, Paddy O’Driscoll; Tom O’Reilly, Richard Halpin, Adam Coyle, Ciaran Ruddock (capt), David O’Connor, David Aspil, Ronan Watters, Nick McCarthy.

Replacements: Hugo Kean, Emmet Ferron, Jack Dilger, Darren Moroney, Ryan O’Loughlin, Cathal O’Flaherty, Craig Kennedy, Matthew Timmons, Daragh McDonnell.

UCC: Richard Walsh; Murray Linn, Paul Kiernan (capt), Peter Sylvester, Cian Bohane; James Taylor, John Poland; Bryan O’Connor, Tadgh McCarthy, Rob O’Donovan, Cian Barry, Darragh Moloney, Daire Feeney, John Hodnett, Jack O’Sullivan.

Replacements: Travis Coomey, James French, Brian O’Mahony, Lee McSherry, Andrew Dorgan.

Scorers: Banbridge: Tries: 2 penalty tries, Conor Field; Cons: 2 pen try cons; Pens: James Hume 3
Ballynahinch: Tries: Richard Reaney 2, David Busby, Aaron Cairns; Cons: Richard Reaney 2

HT: Banbridge 12 Ballynahinch 19

BANBRIDGE: Adam Ervine (capt); Conor Field, Andrew Morrison, James Hume, Ben Carson; Jonny Little, Jason Gribben; Eric O’Sullivan, Peter Cromie, Michael Cromie, Chris Allen, Stephen Irvine, Caleb Montgomery, Nick Hayes, Greg Jones.

Replacements: Jonny Weir, Stuart Cromie, Mike Bentley, Ryan Hughes, Robin Sinton, Neil Kilpatrick, Ross Cartmill.

BALLYNAHINCH: Peter Nelson; Conor Kelly, David Busby, Stuart Morrow, Richard Reaney; Ryan Wilson, Aaron Cairns (capt); Jerry Cronin, Claytan Milligan, Stuart Orr, James Simpson, John Donnan, Jack Regan, Josh Donaldson, Conall Boomer.

Replacements: Conor Piper, Campbell Classon, Zac Ward, Ollie Loughead, Willie Stewart, Callum McLaughlin, Chris Gibson, Jonny Blair, Connor Phillips.


UL Bohemians 18 Nenagh Ormond 23, University of Limerick 4G pitch
Highfield 13 City of Armagh 27, Woodleigh Park


Greystones 16 Navan 22, Dr. Hickey Park
Rainey Old Boys 26 MU Barnhall 14, Hatrick Park


Belfast Harlequins 19 Malahide 13, Deramore Park
Omagh 34 Thomond 13, Thomas Mellon Playing Fields


Bandon 55 Ashbourne 26, Old Chapel
Instonians 18 Ballina 41, Shaw’s Bridge