herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Ruddock proud of players' progress

The last two All-Ireland finals have gone to Lansdowne in 2013 and Clontarf in 2014.

They are back again to do battle in what could well to be the best of three at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow (KO 1.0, Live RTE 2).

Mike Ruddock's Lansdowne were 18-point runaway winners of the League for their maiden title and Clontarf followed suit by taking top honours by a single point from Old Belvedere last season.

The reintroduction of the play-off system, last seen in 2012, has given the competition an injection of interest and competitiveness.

There has been a lot made out of the advantage Lansdowne have had on their 3G artificial surface as they move inside the Aviva to play on grass.

"We play what's in front of us," said Ruddock.

CONCRETE

"If you said to us 'let's play on concrete on Saturday for the title, we'd play on concrete.'

"These boys, this is the culmination of their season. They go to the gym at 7 in the morning, go to work come out training three nights a week and play on a Saturday.

"I just can't fault their commitment. It's given me back a real joy for what rugby is about," said the former Wales Grand Slam winning coach.

Clontarf are just as attached to their cause and the benefit is there from the offer of Leinster contracts to their props Royce Burke-Flynn and Ian Hirst.

"They've deserved what they've got," said 'Tarf coach Andy Wood.

"Royce has shown an exceptional level of leadership and Hirsty is a real honest worker."

They will look to sign off in style.

ail div 1a final: Lansdowne v clontarf

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