A packed Easter weekend of sport saw a host of Navy Blue Sports clients in action. The European Rugby quarter finals kicked off on Friday evening with three of the Irish provinces fighting for semi-final spots across the two competitions.
Connacht were the first Irish team in action in the Challenge Cup quarter final against Gloucester at The Sportsground. In a gutsy second half performance, Connacht unfortunately fell just short with a 28-33 result. Craig Ronaldson came off the bench on 58 minutes & added a penalty goal shortly afterwards. A superb try from Matt Healy, who played the whole 80 minutes, was converted by Ronaldson to bring Connacht within two points of Gloucester with just eight minutes to go as Eoghan Masterson came off the bench to aid the cause. Darragh Leader was an unused substitute.
Munster were next up taking on fellow European giants Toulon in the Champions Cup in Thomond Park. A typical Munster display saw them advance to the semi-finals, with Darren Sweetnam coming on for Zebo on 25 minutes and put in an excellent performance. It took a stunning solo try from Andrew Conway on 75 minutes to get Munster within a point & the conversion saw them run out 20-19 winners.
In the last European Rugby match of the weekend, Leinster were at home to holders Saracens in the Aviva Stadium. A Navy Blue Sports centre partnerhship saw Isa Nacewa captaining the side for 79 minutes & Garry Ringrose putting in another stellar performance, kicking off with an excellent try in the fourth minute. Jordi Murphy also played 79 minutes with a barnstorming performance this time from No 8 & Fergus McFadden was as assured as ever on the wing also getting on the scoresheet with a conversion. In the last quarter James Tracy & Andrew Porter came off the bench for a big defensive display alongside Rhys Ruddock who was playing his first match after injuring his hamstring in December and all played a part in helping Leinster to book a home semi-final with a 30-19 final score.
Plenty of Irish interest in the quarter finals of the B&I Cup. On Friday eveing, Leinster A took on Munster A in Energia Park, Donnybrook. Dave Johnston captained the visitors & his brother Bill opened the scoring for Munster with a penalty & added a second to make the score 7-6 at half time. Both Johnstons, Conor Oliver & Darren O’Shea all played the full 80. Brian Scott come on at 55 minutes & John Poland on 62, but despite their best efforts, Leinster ran out eventual winners 17-6. The other Friday evening B&I Cup quarter final saw further Irish interest as Joy Neville took charge of the Jersey Reds Doncaster Knights clash in Jersey on Friday evening. Second row Jerry Sexton helped the Reds progress to the semi-finals (against Leinster A) with a 22-10 victory.
On Saturday, Greg Jones started at Number 8 for Ulster A in their close 16-10 quarter-final loss to the Bedford Blues & Peter Lydon took the full back spot for Ealing Trailfinders in their narrow 28-25 win against the Cornish Pirates.
Away from rugby, modern pentathlete Arthur Lanigan O'Keefe was at the World Cup event in Los Angeles last week. He qualified in seventh place for the final, finishing in 25th place overall in his first competition of the year. The next event is in Hungary at the beginning of May.
In the Lidl National Ladies Gaelic Football League, Sinead Goldrick played a part in Dublin's comprehensive 5-15 to 0-11 defeat of Monaghan & Sarah Rowe scored 1-2 for Mayo in their 5-14 to 4-12 win against Donegal.
Finally Richie Sadlier was on the panel of the Ray D'Arcy show on RTE One on Saturday night. The discussion revolved around consent & sexual education & Richie provided some valuable & sensible insights into the sensitive topic.