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AIB League: Division One Previews

AIB League: Division One Previews

There is plenty of high quality fare on offer in AIB League Division One this weekend, with the rematch between last season’s finalists, Cork Constitution and Garryowen, top of the bill. There are two intriguing Dublin derbies with Lansdowne up against Blackrock College and Old Belvedere taking on Terenure College, while Clontarf and Shannon also clash in a repeat of the 2005/06 final.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Saturday, November 17

BALLYMENA (13th) v UCD (10th), Eaton Park, 2.30pm
Referee: Darragh McCormack (Munster)

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Previous League Meetings: 7 (Ballymena W6, D1, UCD W0); At Eaton Park: 4 (Ballymena W3, D1, UCD W0)

Last Season: January 6, 2007 – UCD 10 Ballymena 40, Belfield

Form: Ballymena (most recent games on left hand side): WLLLL
UCD: WWLWW

Ballymena – Notes: – The first of four homes to Leinster clubs this season
– This is the second of seven homes in Division One this season
– Hoping this weekend for their 30th victory in 45 AIB League fixtures at home to clubs from Leinster
– Have the second best Ulster clubs record at home to Leinster clubs
– This is the second of seven consecutive games that Ballymena must play against Leinster clubs in Division One this season
– They first played in the AIB League against UCD in October 1994 – drew 9-9 at home to them in Division Two
– Have beaten UCD on their last four AIB League visits to County Antrim
– Last Saturday they achieved their first victory in ten AIB League outings
– Their first win in Division One this season does not disguise the fact that they have conceded the most tries (11) in Division One after three rounds this season
– Their top points scorer so far is Donovan Raw (24 points)

UCD – Notes: The only trip to Ulster this season
– This is the second of seven fixtures on the road in Division One this season
– Have a 50% success rate from their 21 previous AIB League trips to Ulster
– Lost 14-10 on their most recent league visit to Eaton Park (in January 2006)
– In seven AIB League meetings with Ballymena, they have never beaten them. This weekend’s game is their 188th fixture in AIB League history
– Four former players of the club have been installed as presidents of Leinster AIB League Division One clubs this season
– They recently chalked up their 100th victory in the AIB League and were the 17th club to reach the milestone
– Two wins out of three is not bad going at all but they have conceded the most penalty goals (9) in AIB League Division One at this stage of the season
– Their top points scorer so far is Killian Lett (17 points). Their top try scorer is Andy Cummiskey (2 tries)

CLONTARF (9th) v SHANNON (2nd), Castle Avenue, 2.30pm
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ulster)

Previous League Meetings: 13 (Clontarf W3, Shannon W10); At Castle Avenue: 4 (Clontarf W1, Shannon W3)

Last Season: January 6, 2007 – Shannon 16 Clontarf 17, Thomond Park

Form: Clontarf (most recent games on left hand side): LWLLW
Shannon: WWWWW

Clontarf – Notes: – The first of four homes to Munster clubs this season
– This is the second of eight homes in Division One this season
– They have won 20 of their previous 32 AIB League fixtures at home to Munster clubs
– This is the first of three consecutive Division One games against clubs of Munster. They first played in the AIB League against Shannon in December 1997 – they lost 31-6 at Thomond Park back then
– In years gone by, they won just one of their first ten AIB League fixtures with Shannon. This weekend they play their 205th game in AIB League history
– They have scored the most tries (10) in Division One at this stage of the season
– They blew it at home to Ballymena last week and have been leapfrogged by two Leinster clubs – Terenure College and Lansdowne – in the table
– Their top points scorer so far is Daragh O’Shea (10 points). Their top try scorers are Max Rantz-McDonald and Derek Keane (2 each)

Shannon – Notes: – The second of five trips to Leinster this season
– This is the third of eight fixtures on the road in Division One this season
– They have won 30 of their previous 48 AIB League fixtures away in Leinster
– This is the first of four consecutive Division One games against clubs of Leinster and the club’s third away match in their four openers this season
– They lost 32-18 on their most recent AIB League visit to Castle Avenue (in January 2006), but beat the Dubliners 30-3 in the final at the end of that season
– They recently became the first club to chalk up 150 victories in the all-time AIB League
– With three wins from three, they have conceded the least points (25) in Division One so far this season
– Their top points scorer so far is Andrew Thompson (23 points)

CORK CONSTITUTION (1st) v GARRYOWEN (3rd), Temple Hill, 2.30pm
Referee: Alan Rogan (Leinster)

Previous League Meetings: 20 (Cork Constitution W9, D1, Garryowen W10); At Temple Hill: 9 (Cork Constitution W4, D1, Garryowen W4)

Last Season: January 6, 2007 – Garryowen 11 Cork Constitution 12, Dooradoyle

Form: Cork Constitution (most recent games on left hand side): WWWLW
Garryowen: WLWWW

Cork Constitution – Notes: – The first of three home games against Munster clubs this season
– This is the third of eight homes in Division One this season. They have won 18 of their previous 27 AIB League fixtures at home to Munster clubs
– They have just played three Leinster clubs as openers and won all three games
– They first played in the AIB League against Garryowen in January 1991 in a ‘winner takes all’ game at Dooradoyle – they won 9-3 to clinch the title
– They beat Garryowen 14-11 in the 1998/99 Division One final
– They have lost three of their last four Division One games with Garryowen
– They have won 12 of their last 13 AIB League fixtures and are top of the table with the most positive points difference (+33) of all 16 competing clubs in Division One
– Their top points scorer so far is Richie Lane (18 points). Their top try scorers are Billy Holland and Richie Lane (2 tries each)

Garryowen – Notes: – The first of two away fixtures in Munster this season
– This is the second of seven fixtures on the road in Division One this season
– They have won 16 of their previous 28 AIB League fixtures playing away in Munster. This weekend they play the last of three consecutive Division One fixtures against Munster clubs this season
– They won 28-17 on their most recent AIB League visit to Temple Hill (in January 2006). They beat Cork Constitution 16-15 in the AIB League Division One final at the end of last season
– This weekend they play their 21st league fixture with Constitution, more games than they have played against any other club in Division One
– They are presently one of three Munster clubs at the top of the Division One table. They moved up three places in the table after their one-point win at home to Dolphin last week.
– Their top points scorer so far is Conor Kilroy (28 points)

DOLPHIN (15th) v GALWEGIANS (7th), Musgrave Park, 2.30pm (to be played on Sunday, November 18)
Referee: David Keane (Leinster)

Previous League Meetings: 5 (Dolphin W2, D0, Galwegians W3); At Musgrave Park: 3 (Dolphin W2, Galwegians W1)

Last Season: January 6, 2007 – Galwegians 45 Dolphin 15, Crowley Park

Form: Dolphin (most recent games on left hand side): LWWLL
Galwegians: LWWLL

Dolphin – Notes: – The only home game against a Connacht club this season
– This is the third of eight homes in Division One this season
– They have enjoyed a 50% success rate in their previous eight AIB League games against Connacht clubs
– They first played in the AIB League against Galwegians in February 1993 – they won 21-8 at home to them in Division Two back then
– This weekend they play their 216th all-time AIB League fixture and they recently chalked up their 100th victory in the league – they were the 19th club to reach the milestone
– When James Coughlan plays in the back row, his presence ensures that Dolphin are a very difficult side to beat
– They have scored the most points (69) in Division One to date this season
– Their top points scorer so far is Barry Keeshan (39 points). Their top try scorer is Eric Maloney (2 tries)

Galwegians – Notes: – The first of two visits to Munster this season
– This is the second of eight fixtures on the road in Division One this season
– They have won ten of their previous 27 AIB League fixtures away in Munster. They won 20-3 on their most recent league visit to Musgrave Park (in February 2004)
– They have won their last three AIB League encounters with Dolphin
– Connacht play in the European Challenge Cup at the Sportsground on Friday so expect ‘Wegians to have three contracted players on the park on Sunday afternoon
– They do not get to travel to Cork much these days but have twice won there in four visits this century
– They have kicked only two penalty goals and conceded only two after three rounds this season. They dropped down three places in the table after their two-point defeat away to Terenure College last week
– Their top points scorer so far is Peter Durcan (10 points)

DUNGANNON (12th) v GREYSTONES (16th), Stevenson Park, 2.30pm
Referee: Ger English (Munster)

Previous League Meetings: 5 (Dungannon W3, Greystones W2); At Stevenson Park: 2 (Dungannon W2, Greystones W0)

Last Season: No game played as Greystones were in Division Two

Form: Dungannon (most recent games on left hand side): LLWLD
Greystones: LLLWW

Dungannon – Notes: – The second of four home games against Leinster clubs this season
– This is the second of seven home matches in Division One this season
– This weekend they play their 50th AIB League fixture at home to clubs from Leinster. They have turned over 30 wins in this category to date
– This is their fourth of five openers against Leinster clubs this season
– They first played in the AIB League against Greystones in January 1992 – they lost 34-6 away in County Wicklow back then
– They have won their last three meetings with Greystones. Recently they chalked up their 100th AIB League victory and were the 16th club to do so
– They have conceded the most points (82) and the most tries (11) to date in Division One this season. They are missing the sharp-shooting of Richard McCarter, who is out injured at the moment
– Their top points scorer so far is John McGuckin (18 points). Their top try scorer is Paul Magee (2 tries)

Greystones – Notes: – The only trip to Ulster this season
– This is the second of seven games on the road in Division One this season
– This weekend they play their 60th AIB League fixture against an Ulster club and are seeking their 37th success – they lost 30-6 on their most recent visit to County Tyrone (December 1998)
– They have previously played Dungannon twice in Division One and three times in Division Two
– David McKechnie needs one more try to become the fifth player to score 50 tries in AIB League history
– Saturday’s game is their 229th AIB League fixture – they have played more games than any other club in the league
– They have scored the least points (34) in Division One so far this season – they have lost their three openers as they did in the 1999/00 and 2002/03 seasons
– Their top points scorer so far is Reinhard Gerber (14 points). Their top try scorer is David McKechnie (2 tries)

LANSDOWNE (5th) v BLACKROCK COLLEGE (11th), The RDS, 2.30pm
Referee: Eanna O’Dowd (Leinster)

Previous League Meetings: 14 (Lansdowne W9, Blackrock College W5); At Lansdowne Road: 7 (Lansdowne W5, Blackrock College W2)

Last Season: January 6, 2007 – Blackrock College 20 Lansdowne 24, Stradbrook

Form: Lansdowne (most recent games on left hand side): WLWLW
Blackrock College: WLLWL

Lansdowne – Notes: – The second of three home games against Leinster clubs this season
– This is the second of seven home matches in Division One this season
– They have previously played 40 AIB League fixtures at home to Leinster clubs and won 23 of these games
– They first played in the AIB League against Blackrock College in January 1993 – they won 16-6 at home to them back then in Division Two
– They have won four of their last five home matches in the league against ‘Rock
– They still retain Leinster, Ireland and Lions star Shane Horgan as a dual status player even though the winger is now affiliated to junior club Boyne
– They are hoping this weekend to preserve their unbeaten AIB League home record at the RDS
– They picked up their first try bonus point in 17 outings when they won 35-10 away to Greystones last week
– Their top points scorer so far is Luke Cozens (23 points). Their top try scorer is Neil Walsh (2 tries)

Blackrock College – Notes: – The second of three away games in Leinster this season
– This is the third of eight fixtures on the road in Division One this season
– This weekend they play their 40th AIB League fixture at an away venue in Leinster and are seeking their 18th win
– This is the club’s third away game in their four openers this season
– They lost 71-15 on their most recent AIB League visit to Lansdowne (January 2006). They beat Lansdowne 32-23 earlier on this season in the quarter-finals of the Leinster Senior League Cup but subsequently lost the game in the committee room
– They have lost their last three AIB League fixtures with Lansdowne – this weekend’s game is their 205th outing in AIB League history
– They got their first Division One victory this season when they scored four tries to beat Dungannon 29-22 at Stradbrook last Saturday
– Their top points scorer so far is Fionn Carr (32 points). Their top try scorers are Fionn Carr and Shane Monahan (2 tries each)

OLD BELVEDERE (14th) v TERENURE COLLEGE (4th), Anglesea Road, 2.30pm
Referee: Leo Colgan (Munster)

Previous League Meetings: 7 (Old Belvedere W5, Terenure College W2); At Anglesea Road: 4 (Old Belvedere W4, Terenure College W0)

Last Season: No game played as Old Belvedere were in Division Two

Form: Old Belvedere (most recent games on left hand side): LLLLW
Terenure College: WWLWL

Old Belvedere – Notes: – This is the first of four home matches against Leinster clubs this season
– This is the second of eight home games in Division One this season
– This weekend they play their 70th AIBL fixture against a Leinster club and are seeking their 36th success
– They have the best Leinster clubs’ AIB League record playing at home to other Leinster clubs. This weekend they play the first of four consecutive Division One fixtures against Leinster opposition
– They have taken care of Terenure College on their previous four AIB League visits to Anglesea Road – the last five AIB League games between these two clubs have produced five home wins
– They have conceded the most penalty goals (9) in Division One so far this season
– Still without a win, they have collected two losing bonus points in their three outings to date
– Their top points scorer so far is Richie Murphy (24 points). Their top try scorer is Felix Jones (2 tries)

Terenure College – Notes: – The first of four games away to Leinster clubs this season
– This is the second of eight fixtures on the road in Division One this season
– They have previously played 40 AIB League fixtures at away venues in Leinster and won 14 of these games
– They lost 13-12 on their most recent AIB League visit to Anglesea Road (in Division Two in October 2005)
– They are this weekend on a hat-trick of AIB League defeats to Old Belvedere
– They have previously played ‘Belvo’ twice in Division One and five times in Division Two
– They have not looked back since the Kevin West/ James Blaney coaching combination took over two seasons back
– The 7-5 home win against Galwegians last Saturday has moved the Lakelands club into the heady heights of the top four
– Their top points scorer so far is David McAllister (36 points). Their top try scorers are Anthony Ronan, David McAllister and John Bollard (2 tries each)

UL BOHEMIANS (8th) v ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (15th), UL Bowl, 2.30pm
Referee: Jonathan Peake (Ulster)

Previous League Meetings: 5 (UL Bohemians W4, St. Mary’s College W1); At Thomond Park: 3 (UL Bohemians W2, St. Mary’s College W1)

Last Season: January 6, 2007 – St. Mary’s College 10 UL Bohemians 24, Templeville Road

Form: UL Bohemians (most recent games on left hand side): LWWLL
St. Mary’s College: LLLLD

UL Bohemians – Notes: – The third of four home matches against Leinster clubs this season
– This is the third of seven home matches in Division One this season
– They have previously played 40 AIB League fixtures at home to clubs from Leinster and lost just nine of these games
– This weekend they play their third home game in their four openers this season
– They first played in the AIB League against St. Mary’s College in April 2003 – they won 23-17 at Thomond Park in Division One back then
– They have won their three previous Division One matches with St. Mary’s College. They are hoping this weekend to preserve their unbeaten AIB League home record at the UL Bowl
– They dropped a full six places in the table after their 16-6 defeat away to Shannon last week
– Their top points scorer so far is Fergal Lawlor (26 points)

St. Mary’s College – Notes: – The first of three visits to Munster this season
– This is the third of seven fixtures on the road in Division One this season
– They have previously played 44 AIB League games away in Munster and won 14 of these matches
– They lost 18-14 on their most recent AIB League visit to UL Bohemians (in January 2006)
– They have lost their last three AIB League encounters with the Red Robins
– They have recently welcomed back their AIB Club international prop Robert ‘Chops’ Sweeney from Rotherham in England
– They have conceded only one penalty goal in their three Division One fixtures to date
– They have never before lost their three openers in an AIB League campaign
– Their top points scorer so far is Jonathan Sexton (15 points)

– AIB League statistics courtesy of Des Daly