Clontarf re-crossed The Liffey with a place in the Leinster Senior League Cup final in safe-keeping when they qualified on the basis of being the away club after extra-time, tries scored (4 each) and yellow cards (1 each) failed to separate these two at Anglesea Road on Saturday…

The confusing, swirling wind was bound to play havoc with pre-conceived ideas on how to play; keeping it tight seemed to be the best option, heck the only option.
The home side were much closer to full-strength that Clontarf and they moved into prime location early on where they were undone by their indiscipline.
It took the handy work of captain Jonathan Slattery to pinch ball at the breakdown for a gain of yards that enabled wing Josh Glynn to slot a penalty for offside in the 12th minute.
The Northsiders took their medicine and housed the ball in a tight maul for lock Simon Crawford to go within inches. Scrum-half Sam Cronin followed up around the corner for Matthew Darcy to convert for 7-3 in the 18th minute.
Matt Darcy could not resist the temptation to have a pop at the ball on the floor for a punishment of yellow from referee Tim Townsend, Glynn’s penalty reducing the deficit to the sliver of a point.  
Despite going a body down, Clontarf were quick to counter with menace, the swift action of Belvo’ full-back Danny Riordan putting a halt to their gallop.
A Belvo’ maul came up just short of the line and flanker Kieran O’Gorman almost broke the defence as they went in search of the lead. The dam eventually burst when Aidan Wynne stepped off his right foot and beat the cover for Glynn’s extras to make it 13-7 in the 34th minute.
Andy Wood’s visitors had to go about establishing a platform. This was temporarily prevented by Riordan’s long, lovely ball into the 22 as Clontarf lost their hooker Jonathan Larbey to injury.  
The game was hanging in the balance. Matt Darcy was nearly through on a clever diagonal break. They had to settle for a shot at goals. Darcy pulled the ball left. 
Another Riordan rocket from his 22 put Belvo’ into the right area of the field. They needed the breathing space. Prop Declan Lavery cleaned up an untidy lineout only for centre John Kennedy to lose the ball forward in the tackle.
Neither side could take full control. It would take something out of the ordinary. It came, first, from centre Michael Brown’s knifing line break and, then, openside Adrian Darcy’s careful offload for prop Royce Burke-Flynn to touchdown.
Matt Darcy’s conversion gave the visitors a 14-13 edge in the 67th minute.
Suddenly, ‘Tarf were infused with confidence and Adrian Darcy had the gas to make a break and finish it off for replacement Rob Keogh to stretch the difference out to eight points.
It was all back on when Belvo’ out-half Aaron Sheehan picked off a loose ball completely against the run of play for a try from 70 metres out to cut the arrears to 21-18 with little over five minutes on the clock.
Belvo’ were breaking out of defence when a looped offload was snapped up by centre Brown for an intercept try, converted by Keogh, before the homesteaders left wing Shane McDonald seized on a kick through to keep Clontarf on their toes.
They were finally taken off their feet by the quick acceleration and extravagant dive of Riordan’s unconverted try to level it up at the final whistle, forcing extra time.
It would come down to fitness and which wanted it most. Belvo’ lost James McWilliams-Grey to the bin as stalemate ensued for the first 10-minute period of extra-time.
Clontarf centre Keogh was first to have a chance with a penalty. It came back off the right posts. It would end all-square, at least on the scoreboard. 
At Anglesea Road – OLD BELVEDERE 28 (A Wynne, A Sheehan, S McDonald, D Riordan try each; J Glynn 2 pens, con); CLONTARF 28 (S Cronin, R Burke-Flynn, A Darcy, M Brown try each; M Darcy, R Keogh 2 cons each).
*Clontarf qualify for the final on the basis of being the away club.
OLD BELVEDERE: Danny Riordan; Josh Glynn, John Kennedy, Aidan Wynne, Shane McDonald; Aaron Sheehan, Charlie Rock; Pat O’Regan, Cathal O’Flynn, Declan Lavery, Jack Kelly, Conor Owende, Jack O’Beirne, Kieran O’Gorman, Jonathan Slattery (capt).
Replacements: Adam Howard for O’Regan 48 mins; Alan Trenier for Owende 56 mins; James McWilliams-Grey for O’Beirne 60 mins; Killian O’Neill for O’Flynn 68 mins; James Kearns for Wynne 72 mins; Max Ludwig for O’Gorman 94 mins.
CLONTARF: Ariel Robles; James Hawkshaw, Michael Brown, Evan Ryan, Rob McGrath; Matt Darcy, Sam Cronin; Ivan Soroka, Jonathan Larbey, Royce Burke-Flynn, Alex Denby, Simon Crawford, Liam Murphy, Adrian Darcy, Karl Moran.
Replacements: Rob Keogh for Ryan 39 mins; Turlough Considine for Larbey 42 mins; Conor O’Keeffe for Crawford, Enda Murphy for L Murphy, Peter du Toit for Cronin, all 59 mins; Chris Caldwell for Burke-Flynn 80 mins.
Referee: T Townsend, IRFU.
UCD too good for Nure in Leinster Senior League semi-final… 

By Daire Walsh

A second-half try from replacement James Murray proved decisive at Lakelands on Saturday afternoon, as UCD kept their quest for back-to-back Leinster Senior League Cup successes alive with a narrow semi-final triumph over Terenure College.
The two sides had met in last year’s decider at Donnybrook, which saw the Students recovering from a ten-point half-time deficit to secure the honours on a 23-18 scoreline. 

The hosts have made a blistering start to life in the All-Ireland League’s top-flight, though, and despite battling against a fierce breeze during the opening period, they opened the scoring courtesy of a fifth-minute penalty from out-half James Thornton.

Thornton – who was lining out against his former club – was selected ahead of regular No 10 Mark O’Neill for this encounter, and he doubled ‘Nure’s advantage with a similar place-kick effort on the stroke of ten minutes.
UCD (who were missing several players because of their involvement with Leinster ‘A’ on Friday night) were being pressurised inside their own half by the powerfully-assembled ‘Nure pack, but they subsequently opened their account with 12 minutes gone on the clock.

Fly-half Liam Bourke was on target from a 25-metre set-play, and this helped to ease the nerves of the visiting team. Following a big push on the left-flank two minutes later, inside centre Stephen Murphy drove over for the opening try of the game.

Bourke was on hand to majestically split the posts from the resulting bonus kick, as UCD gained the ascendancy for the first time. The Students had to weather a ‘Nure storm just before the half-hour mark, but after eventually soaking up the pressure, strong work by prop Gordon Frayne provided the platform for Holland to register their second touchdown of the half.

Bourke was wide of the mark from his third kick at goal, and with flanker James O’Neill finishing off a maul towards the UCD whitewash two minutes before the break, James Blaney’s men were firmly in contention when the action resumed.

Thornton’s missed conversion ensured that the gap remained at four points (15-11), but with the aforementioned Mark O’Neill, Kevin O’Dwyer, Kevin Buckley and Rory Harrison all entering the fray, ‘Nure sensed that the game was there for the taking.

However, they suffered a major set-back on the hour, when Murray broke through underneath the posts to create significant daylight between the teams. A routine bonus kick by Garry Ringrose – who assumed kicking duties from the departed Bourke – further embellished UCD’s advantage, before the sin-binning of Donagh Lawler forced them on the back-foot again.

In the absence of the openside flanker, ‘Nure breached the UCD line for a second time, with excellent approach play by Mark O’Neill and Thornton enabling full-back James O’Donoghue to cross over for a converted score.
This set-up a nerve-wracking finale, and when ‘Nure opted for touch rather than the posts five minutes from time, a big push for the line was anticipated. Indeed, Mark O’Neill and Keith Dooley were inches away from snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, but UCD ultimately held firm to secure their place in the final alongside Clontarf.

TERENURE COLLEGE SCORERS : J. O’Neill (1 try), J. O’Donoghue (1 try), J. Thornton (2 penalties, 1 conversion)

UCD SCORERS: S. Murphy (1 try), B. Holland (1 try), J. Murray (1 try), L. Bourke (1 penalty, 1 conversion), G. Ringrose (1 conversion)

TERENURE COLLEGE: James O’Donoghue; Shane Donovan, Stephen O’Neill, Graham Coffey, Harry Moore; James Thornton, Kevin O’Neill; Gary Hamilton, Robert Smyth, Keith Dooley; Fergal Walsh, John Dever; Robert Duke, James O’Neill, Kyle McCoy.

Replacements: Kevin Buckley for Smyth, Rory Harrison for Dooley, Kevin O’Dwyer for Walsh, Mark O’Neill for Kevin O’Neill (all 55), Dooley for Harrison (73).
UCD: Billy Dardis; Tom Fletcher, Garry Ringrose, Stephen Murphy, Harry McNulty; Liam Bourke, Bobby Holland; Gordon Frayne, Risteard Byrne, Liam Hyland; Brian Cawley, Emmet MacMahon; Josh Murphy, Donagh Lawler, Shane Grannell. 

Replacements: Shane O’Meara for Holland (40+2), James Harrison for Byrne (half-time), James Murray for Bourke (46), Byrne for Frayne (66).

Referee: Cillian Hogan (IRFU).