ALL IRELAND RUGBY: City of Derry fail in promotion bid

Banbridge's Stephen Irvine and Malone's James McAllister

Banbridge's Stephen Irvine and Malone's James McAllister

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City of Derry and Banbridge both missed out on automatic promotion as results elsewhere went against them on the final day of the Ulster Bank League season

In division 2A Banbridge had started the day in second place and needed to defeat Malone as well as leaders Naas slipping up against Skerries.

Bann delivered on their side of the equation, winning 16-10 against Malone at Rifle Park, but Naas also secured their victory to take the automatic promotion spot.

The Mid- Ulster side will now face a play-off for a place in Division 1B with UCC, Cashel and the second from bottom placed side in Division 1B.

Having suffered five straight defeats and blown a 13 point gap at one stage, Division 2B leaders City of Derry returned to winning ways at Judges Road against Barnhall (24-7).

They had started the day a point ahead of second placed Highfield, but the Munster side secured a bonus-point win in their 59-7 demolition of Bective Rangers and pipped Derry to first place on points difference.

Terry McMaster’s side will now have a play-off with Sundays Well, Greystones and Skerries.

Meanwhile, Queen’s suffered a 21-7 home defeat to Galway Corinthians, a result which secured the Connacht club’s place in Division 2B next season.

The Galway side were more clinical but they were helped by the students who’s handling in the wet conditions led to a lot of turnovers and they failed to utilise the strong breeze in the second half.

Corinthians playing with the aid of the strong breeze dominated the opening quarter but had to wait until 25 minutes before making their pressure count on the score board when out half Dave Simon Keller knocked over a penalty from in front of the posts.

Corinthians extended their lead two minutes before the break with a penalty try, their powerful pack were marching Queen’s towards the line and the students collapsed the set piece illegally with Keller converting.

Queen’s had a chance to cut the visitors half time lead but out half Johnny McPhillips was off target with a long range penalty and Corinthians turned round 10-0 up.

Corinthians increased their lead on 55 minutes, lock Colin Rafferty made a rampaging run through midfield he was dragged down by Jack Milligan but the Queen’s full back was yellow carded for not releasing and Keller slotted over the resulting penalty.

Rafferty was sinned binned two minutes later but Queen’s failed to take advantage.

Corinthians got their second try for a great worked move, Keller made the initial break, he exchanged passes with Simon Royle before putting centre James Buckley over in the corner.

Keller added another penalty as Queen’s tried to ambitiously run the ball out of their own 22 but got punished for holding on in the tackle.

Queen’s got a late consolation when Conor McKee went under the posts and McPhillips converted and the winger nearly squeezed over with the last play of the game following a good break by McPhillips.

Queen’s: J Milligan, D Hall, P Farrell, C McKee, C Kelly, J McPhillips, J Fullerton; J Southway, N Sinclair, L Steele, A Thompson, M Campbell, P Marks, S Martin, N Simpson

Replacements: S Finlay, B Cunningham, S Herdman, A Wright, M Gordon

Corinthians: D Panter, S Biggins, J Buckley, S Royle, O Daly, S Keller, G Flaherty; A Bane, P O’Toole, A Glynn, D Phelan, C Rafferty, S Connolly, M O’Connell, E Fa’atau

Replacements: C Joyce, A Walsh, J Campbell, R Moony, P Long