Rugby Union: City of Derry play last AIL home game

City of Derry's new coach Terry McMaster.
City of Derry's new coach Terry McMaster.

City of Derry play their last home game of the season in their All Ireland League Division 2A campaign against University College Cork, tomorrow (Saturday KO 2.30pm).

This will be a crucial game for both clubs with only two games remaining and the prospect of being relegated down a division if not finishing in the top ten in the league.

Derry are in twelfth position on 29 points with UCC one point ahead of them in eleventh.

Nenagh are on 30 points along with UCC and the Tipperary men play away to Barnhall in a must win game for both teams as Barnhall need to win one of their last two game to be safe.

UCC along with Galwegians were relegated from AIL Division 1B two seasons ago. The Galway men were runaway winners of AIL Division 2A last season and were promoted and remain unbeaten this season as they lead AIL 1B by four points with three games remaining. UCC entered the last game of the season against Derry last year with their destiny in their own hands having to get a bonus point victory to guarantee second place in the league and promotion to AIL Division 1B as well.

Derry on the other hand had to get a bonus point win and needed Barnhall to defeat Ballymena at Eaton Park to get promoted themselves.

City of Derry produced their best performance for a couple of years down in the unique setting at the Mardyke last season as it seemed to inspire the Derry men individually and as a team. Derry were on top from start to finish and produced a four try bonus point victory themselves with Jack Caithness, Simon Logue and Andrew Semple twice touching down.

The Derry pack were on top all through with the evergreen Bob McKillop producing a Man of the Match performance. Derry in fact were close to being promoted themselves as Barnhall lead Ballymena up until seven minutes to go when the Bairdmen scored two late tries to get promoted.

If Derry can replicate that performance at The Mardyke or the performance against Queens at Judges Road four weeks ago, then they win tomorrow.

City of Derry and UCC had played one another in the AIL ten times before last season with Derry winning five to four with one match drawn.

The two clubs this season have only won five games each with UCC drawing one as well. The game on Saturday could go either way with the possibility of another high scoring encounter.

City of Derry Squad: Ross Harkin, David Ferguson, Sam Duffy, Bob McKillop, David Houston, Stephen Corr, Richard Baird, Stephen Ferguson, Stuart Simpson, Peter Henderson, Jack Beattie, Chris Barber, David Funston(Capt), Adam Bratton, David Graham. Replacements: Chris Shields, Cathan Creggan, Chris Cooper, David Devine, Tiernan Thornton.