What a weekend of European rugby we were treated to.
Unfortunately Connacht had the difficult task of playing Sale away from home. While they competed bravely throughout, Sale were too strong on the day. Eoghan Masterson started the game at blindside flanker and made some inroads before being replaced. Darragh Leader continues to show he is comfortable anywhere in the back 3 and even took over the kicking duties, slotting a conversion on the 68thminute. Tom Daly came into the game on the 44th minute.
Munster found their way into their 14th European Semi-Final, after a good 2nd half fight back. Andrew Conway and Darren Sweetnam played the full game and were threatening with every chance they got with ball in hand.
Leinster were made work for their 21-18 win over a much improved Ulster side. It was an epic battle at the sell-out Aviva Stadium. Marty Moore produced 55 minutes of industrious work. Jordi Murphy and Nick Timoney were relentless in the back-row for Ulster. However it was the experience and hard work of Leinster Captain Rhys Ruddock that drove Leinster on. Garry Ringrose as always was a lynchpin in the backs. When reinforcements came into the game they added impact, with Noel Reid coming on at 41 mins and James Tracy at 57 mins and Andrew Porter at 66mins.
In the GPK Championship there was also plenty of exciting action. Dave Johnston and Ealing Trailfinders are sitting in second place in the table after a 35-19 win over Nottingham. Dave got the ball rolling for Ealing, scoring a try on the 15 min mark and he continued to be a threat throughout. It was a disappointing narrow loss for Mark Flanagan and Bedford Blues against Hartpury. However Mark was to the fore of everything that Bedford did well and he was rightly awarded Man of the Match. Jersey Reds Captain Jerry Sexton will be happy with his teams 38-17 win over Richmond, as they sit third in the table. Jerry is such an important figures in the squad both on and off the pitch.
Joy Neville was Assistant Referee for the European Challenge Cup game between Clermont and Northampton.
After a successful first season playing in the AFLW, Sarah Rowe was awarded “Multicultural Player of the Year”, she donated her $2500 prize to Headspace.
Darragh Maloney and Richie Sadlier were both on duty for RTE Sport and their coverage of the Ireland’s European Football qualifier against Georgia in the Aviva Stadium.