Corinthians completed their Ulster Bank League season with defeat to relegation-threatened Malone at Gibson Park on Saturday.
Corinthians, whose promotion hopes were dashed the previous weekend, had little to play for, while their hosts needed victory to escape the drop to division 2A.
Although the puff went out of the Cloonacauneen outfit's campaign three weeks ago, it has been a superb effort from this young side in its first season in division 1B. They had somewhat surprisingly taken control of the runners-up spot for most of the season, playing a lively and confident brand of rugby under Phil Pretorious, who had overseen last season's promotion, and a fourth-place finish with 12 wins is more than creditable.
And with Galwegians having moved up to the same division next season, and Buccaneers to play Ballnahinch on Saturday May 3 to win promotion to division 1A, Connacht clubs are well represented at higher levels of club rugby.
On Saturday Corinthians were first on the scoreboard when captain Finn Gormley, who has been nominated for the division 1B player of the season award, converted an early penalty. However Malone’s Nathan Brown levelled minutes later, and added a conversion to Adam Liddall's opening try before Ben McDonald kicked the home side into a 15-6 half-time lead.
It was looking good for the Galway side when Gormley produced an excellent individual try and converted to close the gap to just two points, but then the northerners went on the rampage. They crossed for four converted tries in the second half, while Corinthians’ Craig Hansbury scored a consolation try before the final whistle, leaving the home side winners by 52 -18.
Corinthians are still in action in the Ard na Cregg Cup when they take on Tuam in the final at Cloonacauneen Park on Sunday May 4 (2.30pm ).