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Derry suffer title heartbreak

By Ronnie Ingram

City of Derry have been the AIL Division 2B pacesetters for the majority of the season - but there was heartache on the final day as Highfield pipped them to the title and automatic promotion.

Derry recorded a 24-7 victory over Barnhall on Saturday but crucially couldn't secure a bonus point, and Highfield's 54-3 triumph against Bective ensured the duo finished level on 61 points, with the Munster men's points difference much superior.

It completed quite a turnaround, with Derry 16 points clear of Highfield at the start of February. And now with morale at a low, they must pick themselves up for the play-offs. Simon Logue scored two tries, with the other coming from David Funston. Neil Burns converted all three and also landed a penalty.

Seapoint's 20-15 victory over Rainey was their first success of the season but the Leinster team had already been relegated while the Magherafelt side need to win two home play-offs to remain in 2B. Armagh had a 30-22 victory over Dungannon.

Naas, meanwhile, clinched the title and won promotion in 2A while Banbridge - who beat Malone 16-10 - finished in second, three points in arrears, and now must win the play-offs to qualify for 1B. Queen's lost out 21-7 to Corinthians.

Bangor started their AIL Qualifying Round-Robin competition with a bonus-point 24-7 win over Westport.

Cooke put up a determined fight against Galwegians in the All-Ireland Women's Senior Cup final at Old Belvedere but lost 10-7.

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