Q Radio Sport
A vastly improved Ireland finished their Guinness Six Nations campaign on a high with a comprehensive 32-18 win over England in Dublin on Saturday evening.
Keith Earls and Jack Conan scored tries in the first half and the superb Johnny Sexton kicked 22 points.
The result leaves Ireland in second place in the table ahead of the outstanding France-Scotland game, which will be played on Friday night.
A negative was the red card for Bundee Aki, with the centre sent off for the second time in his Ireland career for a high tackle on Billy Vunipola in the 64th minute.
The Irish finished with 13 men after scrum-half Conor Murray was sin-binned, but still completed a memorable victory.
FT: Six Nations@IrishRugby 32@EnglandRugby 18— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) March 20, 2021
Ireland finish #GuinnessSixNations on a real high by thrashing England in Dublin. They did it in the end with just 13 men. Bundee Aki sent off in the 2nd half, then a Conor Murray yellow card for the closing stages
Great win pic.twitter.com/ldUdxxSLqi
Coleraine are now eight points behind Danske Bank Premiership leaders Linfield, with two games in hand.
The Stripes cut the gap with a 1-0 victory over Carrick.
The other Saturday afternoon winners were Glentoran who beat Glenavon 3-1 and Portadown who edged out Dungannon, 1-0.
It was scoreless between Larne and Cliftonville while Warrenpoint against Ballymena on Saturday night ended 2-2.
Here's how they stand in @DanskeBank_UK Premiership after Saturday success for @Glentoran @ColeraineFC and @Portadownfc - they go again with five fixtures on Tuesday night.— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) March 20, 2021
Here's the full NIFL round-up:
Coleraine kept their long unbeaten run going with a narrow win at The Showgrounds, while there were also victories for Glentoran and Portadown but the games at Inver Park and Milltown ended in stalemate.
The Bannsiders stretched their current streak to 16 games but they were made to work to record a home win over struggling Carrick Rangers with the only goal of the game coming with less than a quarter-of-an-hour to go when Aaron Canning smashed home the rebound after Stephen O'Donnell's initial effort had come back off the woodwork.
Ben Doherty and Lee Chapman battle for possession at Ballycastle Road.
Larne lost a little more ground in the tussle at the top with a scoreless draw at home to Cliftonville. Both sides had their chances with Ryan Curran perhaps coming closest with a hooked volley early on against the crossbar although Reds keeper Aaron McCarey was kept busy to deny the home side on numerous occasions.
At Stangmore Park, Lee Bonis grabbed the only goal of the game as Portadown defeated Dungannon Swifts.
Glentoran faced Glenavon for the second time in a week. On Tuesday night Gary Hamilton's side won at Mourneview Park but Mick McDermott's men reversed that at The Oval.
Jay Donnelly bagged two goals in the 3-1 win, levelling on 27 minutes just after Glens defender Luke McCullough had opened the scoring by turning the ball into his own net under pressure from Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Dale Gorman fired Glentoran in front before the break with Donnelly then making sure with seven minutes remaining.
Also locking horns for the second time in a few days were Warrenpoint Town and Ballymena United. They couldn't be separated on Tuesday at Milltown and that proved to be the case again at the same venue in the evening game.
United missed a penalty around the half-hour mark and were immediately punished as a counter attack resulted in Adam Carroll opening the scoring for 'Point just 48 seconds later.
Shay McCartan levelled ten minutes after the break before two goals right at the end from Brandon Doyle and Ryan Waide ensured a grandstand finish.
Jay Donnelly struck twice for Glentoran while there was also a goal for Dale Gorman (left) in the 3-1 win v Glenavon. Pic: GFC.
Meanwhile, Derry City lost their opening match in the League of Ireland - 2-0 at newly-promoted Longford Town.
FT: League of Ireland@LongfordTownFC 2 @derrycityfc 0— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) March 20, 2021
Bitterly disappointing start to the 2021 season for the Candystripes against the newly-promoted home side - they go top of the first table.@SSEAirtricityLg pic.twitter.com/PHrsKkrYu6