Ups & Downs In Ulster Bank League

18 April 2017

Ups & Downs In Ulster Bank League
Buccaneers centre Shane O'Leary skips by Ballynahinch's Blane McIlroy.

The final regular season fixtures in the Ulster Bank League took place at the weekend with mixed results for the Connacht clubs.

Division 1B champions Buccaneers won again on the final day as Galwegians were relegated to Division 2A after a home loss to Naas.

Corinthians finished their 2A campaign with a flourish thanks to a 43-10 victory over Blackrock College at Corinthian Park to secure a sixth-placed finish.

A defeat in Navan denied Sligo the Division 2C title but they can still secure promotion via the play-offs.

Buccaneers ended their Division 1B title-winning campaign with a bang as they hammered Ballynahinch 40-10 at Dubarry Park yesterday.

The champions' talismanic number 8 and captain Kolo Kiripati, who is bowing out after almost a decade with the Athlone club, even chipped in with a conversion in the six-try triumph.

One of the real success stories of Buccs' season is young winger Jordan Conroy who has shone in the try-scoring stakes. The Ireland Sevens flyer ran in his 18th league try against 'Hinch, giving him a perfect one try-per-game ratio.

Ballymena and Shannon were both under some pressure to secure their places in Division 1B for next season. In the end, Rodger McBurney's first half try guided the Braidmen to a 13-10 home win, while the losing bonus point ensured an eighth place finish for the Limerick men.

There were no last day heroics from Galwegians who will make the drop down to Division 2A after losing 27-16 at home to Naas. Two second half tries from Rory Parata and Adam Leavy were not enough.

The Johne Murphy-coached Naas side are in the hunt for back-to-back promotions, the final round working out in their favour as they climbed into second spot to secure home advantage in next week's promotion play-offs.

There was a straight shootout for the Division 2C silverware at Balreask Old where Navan prevailed 15-5 against second-placed Sligo. Fittingly, former captain and club centurion Simon Hogan ran in the clinching try for Alan Kingsley's first-time league champions, just six days on from the Navan Under-20s' historic Fraser McMullen Cup win.

Malahide will be the league's new boys next September after they won the All-Ireland Provincial League Championship with a round to spare. The 50th league place will be claimed by either Boyne, the ninth-placed finishers in Division 2C, or the Round Robin runners-up - likely to be Omagh or Clonmel.

Ulster Bank League - Divisional Round-Up

Division 1A

Division 1A semi-finalists: Lansdowne (1st), Clontarf (2nd), Young Munster (3rd), Cork Constitution (4th)

Division 1A semi-finals: Sunday, April 23: Lansdowne (1st) v Cork Constitution (4th), Aviva Stadium, 2.30pm; Clontarf (2nd) v Young Munster (3rd), Castle Avenue, 2.30pm; Division 1A final: Aviva Stadium, Sunday, May 7

Relegated: Old Belvedere (automatic); Garryowen (Division 1A promotion/relegation play-offs)

Division 1B

Division 1B champions/Promoted: Buccaneers

Division 1A promotion/relegation play-off semi-finals: Sunday, April 23: Garryowen (9th Div 1A) v Old Wesley (4th Div 1B), Dooradoyle, 2.30pm; Naas (2nd Div 1B) v UL Bohemians (3rd Div 1B), Forenaughts, 2.30pm; Division 1A promotion/relegation play-off final: Saturday, April 29

Relegated: Galwegians (automatic); Dolphin (Division 1B promotion/relegation play-offs)

Division 2A

Division 2A champions/Promoted: Banbridge

Division 1B promotion/relegation play-off semi-finals: Sunday, April 23: Dolphin (9th Div 1B) v Malone (4th Div 2A), Irish Independent Park, 2pm; Saturday, April 22: Highfield (2nd Div 2A) v Nenagh Ormond (3rd Div 2A), Woodleigh Park, 1.30pm; Division 1B promotion/relegation play-off final: Saturday, April 29

Relegated: Belfast Harlequins (automatic); Sunday's Well (Division 2A promotion/relegation play-offs)

Division 2B

Division 2B champions/Promoted: Greystones

Division 2A promotion/relegation play-off semi-finals: Sunday April 23: Sunday's Well (9th Div 2A) v Old Crescent (4th Div 2B), Irish Independent Park, 4pm; Saturday, April 22: Armagh (2nd Div 2B) v Wanderers (3rd Div 2B), Palace Grounds, 2.30pm; Division 2A promotion/relegation play-off final:Saturday, April 29

Relegated: Thomond (automatic); Bective Rangers (Division 2B promotion/relegation play-offs)

Division 2C

Division 2C champions/Promoted: Navan

Division 2B promotion/relegation play-off semi-finals: Saturday, April 22: Bective Rangers (9th Div 2B) v Tullamore (4th Div 2C), Donnybrook, 2.30pm; Sligo (2nd Div 2C) v Rainey Old Boys (3rd Div 2C), Hamilton Park, 2.30pm; Division 2B promotion/relegation play-off final: Saturday, April 29

Relegated: Kanturk (automatic); (Boyne (home advantage in Division 2C promotion/relegation play-off)

All-Ireland Provincial League Championship

Round Robin champions/Promoted: Malahide

Division 2C promotion/relegation play-off: Boyne v Round Robin runners-up (Omagh or Clonmel), Saturday, April 29;