A fascinating Division 2C promotion race climaxes at Alcast Park where Enniscorthy host close rivals Skerries, while senior status is on the line for City of Derry and Clonmel in Saturday’s return leg.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – MEN’S DIVISION 2C:
Saturday, April 30
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
PROMOTION PLAY-OFF FINAL:
ENNISCORTHY (1st) v SKERRIES (2nd), Alcast Park, 2.45pm
Fittingly, it is a shootout between the top two for promotion. They were also leading the way – just with the positions reversed – when Covid-19 struck in March 2020. Enniscorthy only came up from the junior ranks the previous year.
‘Scorthy have been excellent this season with ball in hand, under the tutelage of their Australian head coach Ben Manion. They had to tough it out in their semi-final against Tullamore, losing ace winger Ivan Jacob to injury.
Jacob is unfortunately set to miss tomorrow afternoon’s final, with Dominik Morycki coming in on the right wing and David O’Dwyer switching to the left. Talismanic out-half Ivan Poole has recovered from a neck injury to start.
“It was a tough day at the office against Tullamore and now we meet arguably our greatest rivals this season, Skerries, who also won with a late try,” said Manion.
“It will be a tough one but as it was before kick-off in the semi-final, our destiny is now firmly in our own hands. We have got to make home advantage pay.”
Skerries won their home clash with Enniscorthy back in November, a Paul O’Loghlen penalty closing out a 20-14 victory. The Wexford men gained revenge by handing the Goats a 27-15 defeat in late February.
Derek O’Sullivan’s charges needed a last-gasp Sam Deering try to see off Bangor last week. Tighthead John Sherwin is their only change from that game, and ever-reliable captain Kevin McGrath is expecting a cracking contest.
“The brand of rugby both teams play should make for something for the crowd to get excited about,” he said. “We’re buzzing, we’ve got a huge motivation and hunger within us to get that win.
“We have the experience in those tight games this season. Everyone in the town is talking about the game, people are shouting our names and are wanting to chat and wish us the best of luck. We all take great pride in representing them.”
RELEGATION PLAY-OFF SECOND LEG:
CITY OF DERRY (17) v CLONMEL (33), Judge’s Road
City of Derry face their biggest home game in recent years without influential full-back Simon Logue (hamstring). Ross McLaughlin takes his place in the back-three, with Aaron Deery and former captain Stephen Corr also bolstering the back row.
Aiming to overturn a 16-point first leg deficit, Derry boss Richard McCarter said: “Naturally, the lads were devastated after last Saturday’s game. We have made life difficult for ourselves. They can put that right this weekend and that’s what the focus is on now.”
Recent Ireland Under-19 debutant Henry Buttimer is brought in on the left wing for Clonmel. Dylan Cadogan also swaps in for Aidan Hickey at scrum half as Ian Keatley’s side look to hold onto the All-Ireland League place they earned in 2019.
Adult tickets for Clontarf v Terenure College are €10 each and Under-18s go free – an Under-18 ticket must be purchased with an adult ticket. Under-18s attending require adult supervision. Any request for disabled access tickets should be emailed here.