File photo: UCC celebrate against Ballymena last season. Presseye/John McIlwaine/INPHO
Onwards and Upwards

A new face for Division 1A next season as UCC and Banbridge advance in AIL play-offs

Meanwhile, the 1B play-off will be between Nenagh and Armagh.

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. Fullback Richard Walsh added a fourth for a 26-7 interval lead.

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

Bann, who drew and lost their regular season clashes with UCC, won their all-Ulster semi-final 28-24 against Ballynahinch. Coming from 12 points down, three penalties from current Ireland U20 international James Hume and a late penalty try, awarded for a collapsed maul, saw Daniel Soper’s men prevail.

Stu Cromie celebrates his try Banbridge's Stu Cromie celebrates in 2016. Presseye / Freddie Parkinson/INPHO Presseye / Freddie Parkinson/INPHO / Freddie Parkinson/INPHO

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 Clayon 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 and Omagh.

A Daniel Molloy brace in a 41-18 victory at Instonians has Connacht champions Ballina on the cusp of securing a Division 2C spot.

Ulster Bank League Division 1A promotion-relegation play-off semi-finals


ST. MARY’S COLLEGE 24 UCC 36, Templeville Road

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

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.


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

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.

Division 1B promotion-relegation play-off semi-finals

UL BOHEMIANS 18 NENAGH ORMOND 23, University of Limerick 4G pitch

HIGHFIELD 13 CITY OF ARMAGH 27, Woodleigh Park

Division 2A promotion-relegation play-off semi-finals

GREYSTONES 16 NAVAN 22, Dr. Hickey Park


Division 2B promotion-relegation play-off semi-finals


OMAGH 34 THOMOND 13, Thomas Mellon Playing Fields

All-Ireland provincial League Championship Round 2

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

Lansdowne win first Bateman Cup in 87 years to end Cork Con’s bid for six-in-a-row

O’Mahony: ‘I’m tired of learning lessons… I’m tired of losing semi-finals’

‘We’re part of something really special and winning is such a great feeling’

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