AIB All Ireland League Round Up
14th April 2008 By Munster Rugby
Bruff booked themselves a place in the AIB All Ireland League Div 3 final after a convincing 22-9 win over Banbridge at the weekend, while the Div 2 final will be an all Munster affair after Young Munster and UCC came through their respective semi finals
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION TWO SEMI-FINALS:
YOUNG MUNSTER 42 BELFAST HARLEQUINS 22, Tom Clifford Park
Scorers: Young Munster: Tries: Conor Murray 2, Mark Connolly 2, Stephen Carey; Cons: Conor Murray 4; Pens: Conor Murray 3
Belfast Harlequins: Tries: Alister Heatlie 2, Gavin McLoughlin; Cons: Alastair Heatlie, Paul McKenzie; Pen: Paul McKenzie
Young Munster’s appearance in the decider will revive memories of their memorable Division One success over St. Mary’s College in 1993. Though eight tries were scored, this game resembled more of an end of season friendly once the Limerick side built up a handsome 32-3 half-time lead.
While the Belfast side improved in the second half, the issue was never in doubt and it was in the final minute when Alister Heatlie grabbed his second try and drop kicked the conversion.
Conor Murray was the star for Young Munster with a personal tally of 27 points and he landed two long range early penalties and converted a well taken try by Mark Connolly. It stemmed from a move started by Tom Wells with Derek Corcorcan sailing through the defence to give Connolly his chance. At times Young Munster threw the ball about admirably and some of their tries were top of the range and involved a number of players. Tries by Stephen Carey and Murray followed and the game was over as a contest.
A superb try when he broke from inside his own half by Gavin McLoughlin and another by Heatlie, which was converted, gave Quins a semblance of hope but further tries by Murray and Connolly gave Young Munster a convincing win. Having won back their top flight status for next season, Young Munster will go into the final with their confidence high but will know that they will have to eliminate some of their passing errors.
BUCCANEERS 13 UCC 15, Dubarry Park
Scorers: Buccaneers: Try: Mark Bruce; Con: Alan Gaughan; Pens: Alan Gaughan 2
UCC: Tries: Colin Crowley, Ivan Dineen; Con: Scott Deasy; Pen: Gavin Dunne
UCC spoiled the promotion party for the home side Buccaneers when they fought back from 13-0 down to pillage the Pirates in Sunday’s AIB League Division 2 semi-final at Dubarry Park.
The game opened in sevens style but Buccs suffered an early setback when Alamoti TePou was yellow carded but they took the lead with a 15th-minute Alan Gaughan penalty. Gavin Dunne had two bad penalty misses for the students either side while Gaughan too was off target with one effort.
Buccs eventually got the try their possession warranted when Garreth Halligan made tremendous inroads before the supporting Mark Bruce darted in to touch down on 29 minutes. Gaughan converted and added a penalty to put Buccs 13-0 ahead at the break.
‘College were hanging in gamely and robbed a home lineout close in to transfer the ball from right to left where Colin Crowley opened their account with a 55th-minute try. Dunne’s conversion rebounding off an upright. Buccs looked leaden-footed at this stage and coughed up a needless penalty four minutes later to tighten the scores to 13-8.
The impetus was now with UCC and Ivan Dineen finished off a fine move for a 75th-minute try which Scott Deasy converted.
Buccaneers finally galvanised themselves to pile on the pressure and ‘College’s Don Keogh was sin-binned in added time.
Unfortunately for the midlanders, Gaughan’s penalty tailed wide and the students now advance to meet Young Munster in next Saturday’s decider at Donnybrook.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION THREE SEMI-FINALS:
BRUFF 22 BANBRIDGE 9, Kilballyowen Park
Scorers: Bruff: Tries: Gary Leonard, Paul O’Brien; Pens: Brian Cahill 4
Banbridge: Pens: Richard Finlay 3
Bruff are through to the Division Three final for the second year running after seeing off Banbridge at Kilballyowen Park on Saturday afternoon. Tries in either half from back-line duo Gary Leonard and Paul O’Brien were the crucial scores for the promoted Limerick side. Both teams have to be commended for the quality of rugby played despite hailstorms and a strong wind.
Place-kickers Brian Cahill and Richard Finlay swapped two penalties apiece as Bruff led 11-6 at half-time. Although out-half Cahill failed to convert O’Brien’s effort, two more penalties from his boot saw Bruff canter into next Saturday’s Donnybrook decider.
It all sets up a fascinating clash between ‘Inst and table toppers Bruff at Donnybrook next Saturday.
Only a point separated the sides when they met at Kilballyowen Park in February – Bruff were 6-5 winners – and another tight game looks on the cards in the final.
with thanks to www.irishrugby.ie