SHANNON’S relegation worries in Division 1A of the All-Ireland League have deepened as a result of their disappointing 31-16 defeat to fellow strugglers Old Belvedere at Anglesea Road on Saturday.
Shannon remain third-from-bottom in the top flight and are avoiding the relegation play-off berth in the top flight by virtue of their superior points difference to that of Blackrock College.
Despite their second successive victory in as many weeks, Old Belvedere remain in bottom place in the table, but are now just one point behind Shannon with two series of games to go. Shannon’s next fixture is a crucial relegation fixture with Blackrock College at Coonagh on Saturday, April 14, while the nine-time AIL winners travel to Musgrave Park to take on Dolphin in their final regular season fixture seven days later.
Young Munster’s slim hopes of landing a second AIL title were dismissed in no uncertain terms by a free-scoring Lansdowne side in their Division 1A clash at the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch. A combination of Munsters’ disappointment home defeat to Clontarf seven days earlier and the victories of both title-chasing ‘Tarf and St Mary’s College earlier on Saturday afternoon heightened the pressure on the Limerick side before kick-off. The Limerick side looked flat from the get-go and were out-scored by five tries to three in a free-scoring 44-18 defeat.
Garryowen shipped seven tries in suffering a heavy 47-18 defeat to All-Ireland League title-chasing Clontarf at Castle Avenue.
Tarf‘s Limerick-born captain Barry O’Mahony bagged one of the Dublin side’s touchdowns as he secured the bragging rights over his younger brother Ronan who played on the wing for Garryowen. The mid-table light blues, who are looking forward to a Bateman All-Ireland Cup final appearance later this month, did manage two tries through centre Corey Hircock, while Declan Cusack kicked eight points.
UL-Bohs’ kept their strong promotion push to the top flight very much alive after recording a gritty 16-10 victory over a plucky Galwegians outfit at Annacotty. The result leaves UL-Bohs’ occupying the promotion play-off spot in 1B, four points off leaders Belfast Harlequins who they host on the last day of the regular season, April 21. UL-Bohs’ other remaining fixture is against fifth-placed Ballynahinch seven days earlier, so the Limerick side can still harbour genuine hopes of securing automatic promotion to 1A.
Bruff’s hopes of avoiding relegation to Division 2A suffered a setback as the South Limerick side suffered a 25-16 defeat to Belfast Harlequins at Kilballyowen Park. As a result, Bruff occupy one of the two automatic relegation places in Division 1B with just two series of regular series games to go. Bruff, just one point off safety, face a crucial away fixture against already relegated UCC in their next fixture on Saturday, April 14.
Plucky Thomond gave themselves a fighting chance of avoiding a relegation play-off in Division 2A, thanks to a gritty 7-0 away victory over Corinthians in Galway. Victory for Thomond over local rivals Old Crescent on the final day of the season, April 14, coupled with a defeat for Midleton would result in the ‘royal blues’ securing their 2A status for next season. After a scoreless first half on Saturday, the breakthrough came for a Dave Foley-inspired Thomond side when Anthony Hartery scampered over for the game’s only try. Dean Kiely duly converted.
Old Crescent bounced back to winning ways in 2A out-scoring DLSP by five tries to three in a 32-24 victory at Rosbrien. Crescent led 12-3 at half-time, helped by tries from Barry Gibbons and a fantastic team score from Larry Hanly. The home side pulled further clear in the 45th minute when Brendan Guilfoyle bagged the home side’s third try.
A try early in the final quarter from second-row Tevita Talitoia ensured the home side secured a bonus point, but it wasn’t until Crescent winger John Moore scored a breakaway try in the 80th minute that the game was safe as DLSP fought back to trail by two points, at 26-24.
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