D-Day for Garryowen, UL Bohs and Old Crescent

D-Day for Garryowen, UL Bohemians and Old Crescent and UBL season draws to a close.

The Ulster Bank League comes to it’s dramatic conclusion tomorrow with tension guaranteed as UL Bohs make the trip to Dooradoyle to take on Garryowen in the 1A relegation / promotion playoff final and Old Crescent making the long trip north to take on Armagh at the Palace Ground

DIVISION 1A PROMOTION/RELEGATION PLAY-OFF FINAL

GARRYOWEN (9th, Div 1A) v UL BOHEMIANS (3rd, Div 1B). Dooradoyle at 2:30pm

A huge local derby with the winner claiming a coveted spot in 1A next season. Garryowen are looking to secure a 3rd consecutive season in the top tier while Bohs are bidding to return to the top table for the first time since 2012/2013.

Both lineups contain quality with a number of Munster Academy and sub-Academy players involved. Versatile back Steven McMahon impressing for the Light Blues with a try in each of his last three games. UL Bohs will be without Angus Lloyd, who is away in Treviso with Munster, but fellow back Rick McKenna is in fine form with the boot.

Garryowen have a physical pack but Bohs can cause them serious trouble if the can maintain their high tempo game and play the game at pace. Bohs played their home games at the 4g in UL this season and have turned in some great displays of attacking rugby. They will need to repeat the dose on Saturday.

Should it however turn into an arm wrestle, then the light blues might just have the upper hand. Either way, a fascinating duel lies ahead and if the weather obliges, we can expect a high scoring affair.

It could come down to a place-kicking duel between Kiwi centre Rick McKenna and Garryowen captain Neil Cronin with both players in fine form currently.

The visitors need to start well and put a stop to Garryowen early doors. If Bohs can match Garryowen physically, then they have a very good chance. If not then it could be a long day at the office.

DIVISION 2A PROMOTION/RELEGATION PLAY-OFF FINAL:

ARMAGH (2nd, Div 2B) v OLD CRESCENT (4th, Div 2B). Palace Grounds 2:30pm

Having relegated Sunday’s Well last week with a tremendous 46-21 away win, Old Crescent are on the road again as they look to book a Division 2A berth just a year on from winning the 2C title.

They travel to Armagh who showed their battling qualities in a 20-15 extra-time victory over Wanderers. It was a real squad effort, with replacement winger Kyle Faloon scoring the match-winning try.

Alex McCloy is set to retain the same matchday squad for Armagh, who won the sides’ two regular season meetings (21-9 at home and 30-19 in Limerick).

The play-off final is another chance for elusive wingers Andrew Willis and Val McDermott, two of the clubs’ best attacking talents, to add to their try hauls.

Old Crescent play an attacking brand of rugby and have been free scoring all year. A trip up north is always a difficult task but if Crescent can match the  home side for intensity in the opening stages and take their opportunities, a second promotion on the trot is certainly within their capabilities.

Good luck to all involved in Saturday’s games.

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