The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Clontarf Bulls 32 Dublin Blues 30
A storming second half display from Clontarf Bulls saw them clinch the Rugby League Ireland Conference title at Castle Avenue today. It was a fitting end to a hugely impressive debut season for the Bulls while for beaten finalists Dublin Blues, it was a third successive final defeat.
Although Pringle and Darcy exchanged tries early on, further tries from Lance Bullen and Keil McConville put the Blues after a quarter of an hour. Darragh McElligott reduced the deficit midway through the half but stubborn defending on both sides meant that there were no more scores in the first half, which ended with the Blues going in leading 20-14.
Two early tries in the second half turned the game on its head. Graham Johnson got on the end of Paul Mullins lob for the Bulls third try before Damien Lambert powered his way over four minutes later. Mullins' conversion put the Bulls in front.
The Blues were temporarily reduced to twelve men on the hour when Simon Lewis was sin binned for a for an off the ball incident and Clontarf made numerical advantage count when Gary Kavanagh sprinted 40 meters to extend their lead.
Killian Kennedy gave the Blues a lifeline ten minutes from time when he capitalised on an error by Mullins only for Philip Dwayne to restore the Bulls' six point advantage with the Bulls final try.
A last rally from the Blues saw Larry Faifua send Rob McDonnell over in the corner but the conversion kick was too difficult for Jan Krauzig whose missed kick meant it was not going to be a case of third time lucky for the Blues.