18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
BUCCANEERS (3rd, Div 1B) v GARRYOWEN (7th, Div 1A), Dubarry Park, 2.30pm
Ulster Bank League Season's Form - Buccaneers: WWWWWLWLW; Garryowen: LWLWLWWL
Provincial Cup Runs - Buccaneers (Connacht qualifier): Beat Galwegians 12-6; Garryowen (Munster Senior Cup): Beat Cork Constitution 15-9; Beat Dolphin 26-18; Beat Cashel 47-10; Beat Bruff 19-9 (final)
Preview: Buccaneers won through to the Bateman Cup as the Connacht qualifiers by defeating Galwegians last Friday night. The game doubled up with the Ulster Bank League clash.
The Dubarry Park outfit are currently third in Division 1B just behind Dungannon on points difference.
Garryowen lie in seventh spot in Division 1A and are finely balanced on four wins and four losses. The Limerick side won the ODM Munster Senior Cup with a 19-9 win over Bruff back in October.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win by 1-5 points
OLD BELVEDERE (10th, Div 1A) v BALLYMENA (5th, Div 1B), Anglesea Road, 3.30pm
Ulster Bank League Season's Form - Old Belvedere: LLLLDLLLL; Ballymena: WLWWDWWLL
Provincial Cup Runs - Old Belvedere (Leinster Senior Cup): Beat Terenure College 29-7; Lost to Blackrock College 21-12; Beat Lansdowne 26-17; Beat Bective Rangers 31-12; Beat Clontarf 22-13; Beat Blackrock College 16-3 (final); Ballymena (Ulster Senior Cup): Beat Dungannon 12-9; Beat City of Derry 33-27; Beat Banbridge 17-11 (final)
Preview: Old Belvedere cannot buy a win in the league but their cup form in Leinster was excellent and culminated in a 16-3 victory over Blackrock College in the Leinster Senior League Cup decider.
Their league struggles are well documented but seven losing bonus points suggest that confidence and a killer instinct are what is missing from the mix.
They need a boost if they are to get their season back on track and perhaps throwing caution to the wind in the cup might kickstart their Division 1A campaign?
Ballymena have slipped to fifth place in Division 1B but are only five points off first-placed Ballynahinch. Their cup triumph over Banbridge in the final of Ulster Senior Cup back in December sees them through to this All-Ireland semi.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Old Belvedere to win by 6-10 points
The All-Ireland Cup competition returned to its roots last season with the reintroduction of the Bateman Cup, ending with Bruff beating Dungannon in the April decider.
The Bateman Cup was first contested in 1922 when it was donated by Robert Bateman. Lansdowne were the winners of the inaugural trophy.
The 2011/12 Ulster Bank Bateman Cup final has been scheduled for the weekend of April 28-29.
(i) If teams are tied at full-time, extra-time of 10 minutes each way will be played
(ii) If still tied, the team that has scored the most tries will be the winners
(iii) If still tied, the away team will be declared the winners
Rolling substitutions will be used as per the Ulster Bank League regulations
All-Ireland Cup Champions' Roll Of Honour:
2010/11 - Bruff
2009/10 - Cork Constitution
2008/09 - Ballynahinch
2007/08 - Shannon
2006/07 - Garryowen
2005/06 - Cork Constitution