Larne and Malone eye final battle
The final of the Butler Shield on Saturday April 26 will be between Larne III and Malone IV on after Larne eliminated UUC III, 20-10 and the Belfast side was too strong for Strabane II, 22-0.
If it hadn't been for the superb Larne defence the result may well have been different.
Larne were 17-5 ahead but when they had a player binned the students took play down to the line where they won at least five scrums but failed to break through.
A sweeping back move with Stephen Marshall joining the line resulted in the full-back going in for the first try. UUC pressure allowed big No 8 John Dillon to equalise before an inside pass from Marshall to Terry Aston saw the home out-half slice through for John O'Toole to add the points and give them a 12-5 interval advantage.
In the second period, Aston dropped a goal and – after the students had squandered their possession – turnover ball around halfway gave winger Alan Murray the opportunity to sprint in and put Larne 20-5 ahead.
Towards the close UUC came back and were justly rewarded for their efforts with a try from centre Johnny Henry.
Larne captain Ben Meikle, who was on the sidelines due to injury, said: "UUC were tough opponents so we were relying on first time tackles. They had a few second half penalties that allowed them to make ground and we managed to hold them up a couple of times over our line."
Malone IV had an easier task at home to Strabane II with tries from winger Wayne McCormack, full-back Eddie York, winger Oisin Cahill and scrum-half Jamie Scott for Chris Shaw to goal one.