It was another big weekend for Irish rugby in Europe as both Leinster & Munster were fighting for a trip to Bilbao in May.
The current Pro14 Champions Llanelli Scarlets were the visitors to the Aviva Stadium on Saturday afternoon & Navy Blue Sports’ clients Fergus McFadden, Garry Ringrose, Isa Nacewa & Jordi Murphy all started for the hosts Leinster. A stunning first half display by Leinster was finished off in style by Fergus McFadden with an excellent try after an incredible pass from Garry Ringrose. In the second half, James Tracy, Andrew Porter & Ross Molony all came off the bench to help Leinster book their place on the San Memas pitch with a final score of 38-16.
On Sunday, Munster were hoping to make it an All Ireland Final as they took on Racing 92 in Bordeaux. Andrew Conway started at full back for Munster, but in the space of just 26 minutes, Racing blew into a 26-3 lead & the game looked over. However, you can never write Munster off in Europe & with a far more assured second half performance from the Southern province, they got the scoreboard moving, including a great try from Andrew Conway. Unfortunately, the clock ran out for Munster & the match finished 27-22.
Dave McIntyre anchored the commentary for Newstalk during their coverage of the Leinster Scarlets semi-final.
In the semi-final of the B&I cup, Leinster A travelled to the Channel Islands to take on the Jersey Reds. Jerry Sexton, in a fine run of form (three tries in two games) started for the Islanders.
The first 35 minutes of the match was scoreless, but the hosts went in at half time 14-3 ahead. The Reds pushed on in the second half, to lead 27-8. Tom Daly came on as a replacement at 51 minutes to aid the visitors & in a fantastic performance with three tries in seven minutes, the Leinster tyros booked their place in the final with a 27-29 win.
Ulster’s postponed match against the Glasgow Warriors was rescheduled for this weekend. In a must-win match for the Northerners, Nick Timoney put in a barnstorming performance with two second half tries. The latter in the 82nd minute gave Ulster the vital bonus point win, keeping their play-off hopes alive.
Joy Neville was in Japan for the World Sevens Women’s Series. After some great performances in the pool stages, Joy was awarded the final between New Zealand & France, where the Black Ferns ran out 24-12 winners. Following on from her performances on the circuit, Joy has been selected to referee at the Sevens Rugby World Cup in San Fran, this June.
Sarah Rowe & Sinéad Goldrick were in action again this weekend for Mayo & Dublin respectively in the semi finals of the Lidl Ladies Football League. Sarah scored nine points (four from frees) in Mayo’s 1-20 to 3-12 win over Cork, ending the Rebel’s chance of a sixth successive title. Sinéad was heavily involved in Dublin’s close 2-8 to 2-7 win over Galway. Navy Blue Sports will be sitting on the fence for the final!
Irish Modern Pentathlete Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe took first place in the Senior Men’s Epee at the Fencing Ireland National Championships in Dalkey at the weekend.
And finally, Fiona Coghlan was co-commentator for RTE’s coverage of the Bateman Cup final between Cork Constitution & Lansdowne. Lansdowne ran out comprehensive winners, 12-32, winning the cup for the first time in 87 years & preventing Con from a six-in-a-row.