Corinthians eye up division three crown after first place finish

Corinthians have attained the second of their seasonal ambitions, finishing first in division three of the All Ireland League with a hard-fought 16-13 win over Naas at the weekend.

Having gained promotion to division two the previous week, Corinthians added the extra honour of completing the season on top of the league, and with it a union plaque for the occasion.

But once again celebrations are on hold as the Cloonacauneen outfit goes in search of the final prize of the season, to be crowned the division champions.

Having finished the league series as winners, Corinthians now host fourth-placed Midleton in the top four play-offs. They face the Co Cork outfit on Saturday (2.30pm ) with the winner playing either second-placed Old Wesley or Queen’s University in the finals on May 9 in Thomond Park.

Last weekend Corinthians may not have produced a vintage performance, but they did enough to take the spoils to complete the series with 15 wins from 17 games - four points clear of the runners-up.

In a scrappy game, more than 20 penalties were conceded - the first in the fifth minute which Corinthian outfhalf David Clarke successfully converted. Three minutes later Naas had their chance, but full back David Aherne was wide. However he made amends six minutes later to equalise.

Naas, looking dangerous, secured another penalty, but neither side could make the breakthrough in a half dominated by the home side.

However 14 minutes into the second half the first try of the day was claimed by Corinthians from Sean Gerrity to put the visitors into a narrow 8-6 lead. Corinthians tacked on another penalty shortly afterwards before capilitising on a Naas mistake. Captain Pat Cunningham broke from the scrum before finding scrumhalf Mick Roche, and the result saw Darren Claasens touch down to extend the lead to 16-6

Although Naas got in for a converted try, it was too late to stop the Galway side finishing the league series in a deserved first place.


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