AIL Roundup: Division 2A Round 17

A day for the Tipperary sides on Saturday in 2A, Nenagh Ormond claimed the title while Cashel booked their ticket to the play-offs. It will go down to the final day for the final play-off spot as Banbridge narrowly lead Old Crescent in fourth. At the bottom Malone are hanging in there but need a mammoth score to stay up, Greystones, UL Bohemian and Ballymena are all in danger also at the bottom.

Ballymena (4T) 24-23 Greystones (3T), Eaton Park

Ballymena took an advantage going into the final day to stay up as they overcame fellow relegation threatened Greystones. A Cillian Butler try converted by Pierce Crowe proved the deciding factor.

Patrick Kiernan struck early for the visitors with Killian Marmion converting. Ballymena hit back as Rodger McBurney crossed the whitewash, the conversion was missed and the gap was reduced to two points. Marmion soon stretched the visitors lead to five points from a penalty as Ballymena saw yellow. Soon after Greystones were over in the corner as Josh Pyper crossed for an unconverted try 15-5. David Baker added a third try right at the death.

Ballymena were staring down the wrong end of a 20-5 score line and needed a big response. They struck early in the second half, Curtis Henry diving over to reduce the deficit. Marmion would dissect the uprights to put Greystones on the board in reply.

Crowe was also acting as conductor aside from his kicking duties for the hosts. Supplying the assist for the second try and producing the pass for Max McCrabbe to cross for the third try of the contest for Ballymena. Adam Lamont started the move and Crowe finished with the conversion to make it 23-17.

Inside the final ten minutes it was tense, Ballymena did grab their bonus point try, Butler over from close range and Crowe converted for the one point lead. Mena hung on for what could be their survival, they need just a bonus point to stay up on the final day.

Banbridge (5T) 32-19 UL Bohemian (3T), Rifle Park

Banbridge have the advantage to claim fourth spot going into the final day as they got past UL Bohemian 

The hosts needed a win to stay in the hunt for promotion and got off to the ideal start when Peter Cromie crossed inside five minutes and Jack Hart converted for a 7-0 lead. Soon after Alex Weir went over for their second try and Hart again made no mistake to convert.

All one way traffic for the home side as Tom Caesar soon added their third try for a 19-0 lead as the conversion went wide. Liam Neilan got UL Bohs on the board minutes later and Harry Byrne cut the gap to 12 with the conversion. The Robins added a second try as Neilan went over again, this went unconverted.

Shy of the break Mike Cromie was over for Banbridge to grab their bonus point try, the Limerick side replied as Joe Johnson went over and Byrne converted for a 24-19 half time score.

Banbridge controlled the second half as Caesar added his second of the contest to put the hosts further ahead with the opening score of that second period. Hart capped off the result with a penalty in the final few minutes. Banbridge have a two point advantage of fourth spot going into the final day, they meet Cashel on the road.

Malone (3T) 19-33 Cashel (5T), Gibson Park

Cashel confirmed their spot in the play-offs but a win on the final day will see them grab a home semi-final.

Malone drew first blood in the opening half but Cashel soon took control. Ryan O’Sullivan crossed for a converted try to level matters. They added a second minutes later, converted once again and the lead at the break was 14-7.

Into the second half their forwards camped shy of the line and after numerous phases eventually found the space to touch down for the score. A fourth converted try followed as Cathal Ryan powered over from close range, the lead 28-7.

Cashel had a bonus point and a Josh O’Dwyer try in between two Malone tries was enough to seal the win on the road for the Tipp side.

Nenagh Ormond (5T) 29-12 MU Barnhall (2T), New Ormond Park

Nenagh were crowned champions of 2A as they claimed a win over title chasing Barnhall in New Ormond Park.

Derek Corcroan gave the hosts the lead after just five minutes, Corcoran sliding in to cross behind the Barnhall cover, Josh Rowland converting the try. Nenagh were in again before the quarter of an hour mark, John Healy powering over for their second try. Rowland converted for a 14-0 lead. Rob Holt crossed for Barnhall to get them on the board and Adam Chester made it 14-7 at the break.

Nenagh pressed on in the second half, Willie Coffey and Patrick Scully with unconverted tries to further their lead despite Sean Higgins crossing for Barnhall. Coffey added a second to cap off the win.

Old Crescent (1T) 19-24 Navan (4T), Takumi Park

Navan were threatened with relegation a few weeks ago but confirmed their safety with a win over Old Crescent at the weekend, Crescent need to beat Barnhall on the final day and hope Cashel beat Banbridge to make the play-offs.

The Meath men drew first blood when after 13 minutes Peter McEntagart went over for an unconverted try after 13 minutes. Crescent replied as Ronan McKenna landed a penalty but shy of the half hour mark Kyle Dixon crossed and Mark Farrell converted the try for a 12-3 lead.

McKenna replied with another three from the tee before Dixon went over for a second try soon after to further their lead. In injury time Navan had their bonus point Paddy Fox powering over for a 24-6 lead at the break.

Crescent needed to pull up their socks in the second half. McKenna kicked his third penalty to draw first blood in the second half. In the final ten minutes Gareth Quinn McDonagh scored their first try and McKenna converted to cut the gap to 24-16. In injury time things were still tense and McKenna again opted for the posts and struck his fourth penalty to secure a vital losing bonus point for Crescent.

Diarmuid Kearney is a freelance Sports Journalist based in Co Kerry. He has more than 5 years experience covering domestic and international soccer for different media organisations, while also working for local and national print and digital organisations covering GAA.

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