With the final round of the All Ireland League played off on Saturday, here is how the season finished for the Ulster clubs…
Ballynahinch claimed the Division 1B title with an emphatic 41-15 over St Mary’s College at Ballymacarn Park on Saturday afternoon, completing a run of six straight wins to secure promotion to Division 1A.
The result also benefited fellow Ulster side Malone, whose 32-0 win over Ballymena saw them leapfrog St Mary’s into the fourth place playoff position.
The heavy defeat at Malone rounded off a difficult season for Ballymena who finished bottom of the table and will be relegated to Division 2A next year.
Banbridge also moved up the table on the final day with a 34-14 win over Old Belvedere to finish in fifth place, just outside the playoff positions.
City of Armagh, who were promoted from Division 2A last season, managed to retain their 1B status by virtue of an eighth place finish.
Division 1B Champions/Promoted: Ballynahinch
Division 1B promotion/relegation play-offs: Buccaneers
Division 1A promotion/relegation play-off semi-finals:
UCC v Malone, the Mardyke, 2.30pm, Saturday, April 27
Old Wesley v Naas, Energia Park, Donnybrook, 2.30pm, Saturday, April 27
Queen’s University, Ulster’s sole representative in Division 2A, finished their regular season campaign with an impressive 31-43 win away to Old Cresent, to confirm a seventh consecutive win and a fourth place finish.
The students will now travel to Buccaneers, who finished second from bottom in 1B, in the promotion playoff semi-finals.
Division 2A Champions/Promoted: Highfield
Division 2A promotion/relegation play-offs: Blackrock College
Division 1B promotion/relegation play-off semi-finals:
Buccaneers v Queen’s University, Dubarry Park, 2.30pm, Saturday, April 20
Cashel v Navan, Spafield, 2.30pm, Saturday, April 20
Despite a heavy 10-50 home defeat to league winners MU Barnhall on Saturday, Rainey Old Boys maintained third place in Division 2B and will take on Greystones (2nd, 2B) in the promotion playoffs.
Dungannon ended the season with a 22-24 away win over Skerries, but were unable to improve their fifth place position.
Belfast Harlequins were certainly grateful to Dungannon, with the win keeping ‘Quins in eighth position and sending Skerries into the relegation playoffs on points difference.
Division 2B Champions/Promoted: MU Barnhall
Relegated: Sunday’s Well
Division 2B promotion/relegation play-offs: Skerries
Division 2A promotion/relegation play-off semi-finals:
Blackrock College v Sligo, Stradbrook, 2.30pm, Saturday, April 20
Greystones v Rainey Old Boys, Dr. Hickey Park, 2.30pm, Saturday, April 20
All three Ulster clubs in Division 2C, Omagh, City of Derry and Bangor, retained their senior status for next season.
A final day win over Ballina at Thomas Mellon Playing Fields saw Omagh finished in fifth position, four points adrift of the playoff places.
Despite a 24-18 defeat away to Tullamore, City of Derry stayed above the Co Offaly side, in sixth place.
Bangor went into the final day in a perilous position following ten straight defeats, but a 25-19 win over Malahide at Upritchard Park, coupled with Thomond’s last gasp win at Seapoint, was enough to see them finish safe in eighth place.
Division 2C Champions/Promoted: Ballina
Division 2C promotion/relegation play-off: Seapoint
Division 2B promotion/relegation play-off semi-finals:
Skerries v Malahide, Holmpatrick, 2.30pm, Saturday, April 20
Midleton v Bruff, Towns Park, 2.30pm, Saturday, April 20
All-Ireland Provincial League Championship – Round-Robin Qualifiers
Kukri Ulster Rugby Championship winners, Instonians, saw their challenge for a place in the All-Ireland League come to an end on Saturday with a 21-28 defeat by Clonmel at Shaw’s Bridge.
Round 3 Results:
Connemara 0 Enniscorthy 27, Monastery Field
Instonians 21 Clonmel 28, Shaw’s Bridge
Division 2C promotion/relegation play-off: Seapoint v Clonmel, Kilbogget Park, 2.30pm, Saturday, April 27.