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AIB League: Division One Previews

AIB League: Division One Previews

The final day of regulation phase action in AIB League Division One will decide the fourth club that will join Cork Constitution, Shannon and Garryowen in the semi-finals, who will have home advantage in the play-offs and who, out of Dungannon, Galwegians, Lansdowne and Greystones, will be relegated.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION ONE: Saturday, April 19

BALLYMENA (11th) v DUNGANNON (14th), Eaton Park, 2.30pm
Referee: Simon McDowell (Ulster)

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Previous AIB League Meetings: 11 (Ballymena won 5, Dungannon won 6); At Eaton Park: 5 (Ballymena won 4, Dungannon won 1)

Last Season: Saturday, January 20, 2007 – Dungannon 15 Ballymena 8, Stevenson Park

AIB League Form: Ballymena (most recent games on left hand side): LLWLL
Dungannon: LLWLL

BALLYMENA – NOTES: * This is their only home game against an Ulster club in this season’s AIB League and the last of seven home league fixtures for them
* They first played AIB League rugby against Dungannon in January 1993, losing 26-15 in Tyrone. This weekend they are on a hat trick of home AIB League victories over Dungannon
* The last four AIB League meetings between the clubs have produced home wins. They lost 38-11 at home to Dungannon, earlier in the season, in the Ulster Senior League
* They have previously played 14 AIB League matches at home to other Ulster clubs and won 11 of those games
* They have won just one of their last eight Division One matches. If they win by more than seven points this weekend, they just might end up as the only Ulster club in Division One next season
* The story at home in Division One so far this season is played 6, won 2 and lost 4. Last time out in the league, they lost 14-12 away to Terenure College

Top AIB League Points Scorer This Season: Craig Woods 54
Top AIB League Try Scorer This Season: Peter Budina 3

DUNGANNON – NOTES: * This is their only away game in Ulster in this season’s AIB League. This is their last of eight games on the road in Division One
* They lost 29-21 on their most recent AIB League visit to Eaton Park (April 2006). They have won two and lost three of their last five league encounters with Ballymena
* They drew 16-16 with Ballymena at Stevenson Park on December 26 last in the annual Kyle Cup match. They have previously played 15 AIB League games on the road in Ulster and won 9 of those games
* They have won just one of their last six Division One matches. Have spent the last nine seasons in Division One
* To avoid relegation on Saturday, they must get some points and hope that Lansdowne do not cash in at Lakelands Park
* The story on the road in Division One so far this season is played 7, won 0 and lost 7. Last time out in Division One, they lost 6-0 away to Lansdowne

Top AIB League Points Scorer This Season: Richard McCarter 49
Top AIB League Try Scorer This Season: David Pollock 4

BLACKROCK COLLEGE (6th) v ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (9th), Stradbrook, 2.30pm
Referee: Darragh McCormack (Munster)

Previous AIB League Meetings: 12 (Blackrock won 3, St. Mary’s College won 9); At Stradbrook: 5 (Blackrock won 1, St. Mary’s College won 4)

Last Season: Saturday, January 20, 2007 – St. Mary’s Collee 38 Blackrock College 10, Templeville Road

AIB League Form: Blackrock College (most recent games on left hand side): WWLWL
St. Mary’s College: WLLWW

BLACKROCK COLLEGE – NOTES: * This is the last of their four home AIB League matches against Leinster clubs this season and the last of their seven home games in Division One
* They first played AIB League rugby against St. Mary’s College in September 1993 – they won 21-18 at home th Mary’s back then. It was Blackrock’s first league match with current hooker Shane Byrne grabbing a try
* They have lost their last three Division One games at home to St. Mary’s College. They have won 23 of their previous 42 AIB League fixtures at home to other Leinster clubs
* They lost last weekend’s AIB Cup final 12-9 to Shannon at Dubarry Park
* Their full-back Fionn Carr has scored 308 AIB League points (including 23 tries) to date over the past three seasons
* They have conceded the most penalty goals (35) in Division One so far this season. No club that has lost six matches has ever made it through to the Division One semi-finals yet
* The story at home in Division One so far this season is played 6, won 4 and lost 2. Last time out in Division One, they won 17-16 at home to Clontarf

Top AIB League Points Scorer This Season: Fionn Carr 123
Top AIB League Try Scorer This Season: Fionn Carr 7

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE – NOTES: * This is their last of two away games in Leinster in this season’s AIB League and the last of seven league games on the road
* They won 22-17 on their most recent AIB League visit to Stradbrook (April 2006). They have, in the past, recorded seven consecutive league victories over ‘Rock and this weekend they are on a hat trick of league wins over them
* They have won 19 of their previous 34 AIB League fixtures on the road in Leinster. They lost the Leinster Senior Cup final 9-6 to Clontarf at Donnybrook last weekend
* They have had four former Blackrock College pupils – Barry Browne, Victor Costello, Peter Smyth and John Ryan – as club captains during the AIB League years
* They have lost three of their last four Division One matches on the road in Leinster. A 10th place finish last season looks like being repeated this year
* The story on the road in Division One so far this season is played 6, won 1 and lost 5. Last time out in Division One, they won 19-11 at home to Dolphin

TOP AIB LEAGUE POINTS SCORER THIS SEASON: Frank Lynch 77
TOP AIB LEAGUE TRY SCORER THIS SEASON: Matt D’Arcy 3

CLONTARF (4th) v GALWEGIANS (13th), Castle Avenue, 2.30pm
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ulster)

Previous AIB League Meetings: 10 (Clontarf won 7, drawn 1, Galwegians won 2); At Castle Avenue: 5 (Clontarf won 5, Galwegians won 0)

Last Season: Saturday, January 20, 2007 – Galwegians 8 Clontarf 8, Crowley Park

AIB League Form: Clontarf (most recent games on left hand side): LWWLW
Galwegians: LLWLL

CLONTARF – NOTES: * This is their only home match against Connacht opposition in this season’s AIB League. This is their last of eight home league games
* They first played AIB League rugby against Galwegians in November 1992, beating them 19-11 at home
* They are unbeaten in their last six AIB League encounters with Galwegians. Since they entered the league, they have seen off all 15 Connacht clubs at Castle Avenue
* Last time out in Division One, they became the fourth club to score more than 500 tries in the all-time league
* They won the Leinster Senior Cup final last weekend at Donnybrook, beating St. Mary’s College 9-6
* They have kicked the least penalty goals (17) in Division One since October 27. They will probably qualify for the play-offs and get an away semi-final against Cork Constitution
* The story at home in Division One so far this season is played 7, won 4 and lost 3. Last time out in Division One, they lost 17-16 away to Blackrock College

TOP AIB LEAGUE POINTS SCORER THIS SEASON: Ian Keatley 79
TOP AIB LEAGUE TRY SCORER THIS SEASON: Derek Keane 5

GALWEGIANS – NOTES: * This is their last of five away games against Leinster clubs in this season’s AIB League and the last of their eight games on the road
* They lost 32-6 on their most recent AIB League visit to Castle Avenue (April 2006). They have yet to avoid defeat in the league away in Dublin 3
* They have previously played Clontarf in Divisions One, Two and Three of the AIB League. They have won on 20 of their previous 43 league visits to Leinster
* They lost 8-5 in the AIB Cup semi-final at home to Shannon two weeks ago. They have won just one of their last eight Division One matches
* May not make AIB League history this weekend but, due to their superior points differential, they are in a decent position to avoid relegation even if they lose at Clontarf 
* The story on the road in Division One so far this season is played 7, won 2, drawn 1 and lost 4. Last time out in Division One, they lost 13-5 at home to Cork Constitution

TOP AIB LEAGUE POINTS SCORER THIS SEASON: Liam Bibo 52
TOP AIB LEAGUE TRY SCORER THIS SEASON: John Cleary 4

CORK CONSTITUTION (1st) v DOLPHIN (5th), Temple Hill, 2.30pm
Referee: Olan Trevor (Munster)

Previous AIB League Meetings: 5 (Cork Constitution won 5, Dolphin won 0); At Temple Hill: 0

Last Season: Sunday, January 21, 2007 – Dolphin 18 Cork Constitution 27, Musgrave Park

AIB League Form: Cork Constitution (most recent games on left hand side): WWWWW
Dolphin: LWWWW

CORK CONSTITUTION – NOTES: * This is their last of three home AIB League matches against Munster opposition this season and the last of their eight home games
* They first played AIB League rugby against Dolphin in February 1998, winning 35-29 at Musgrave Park with 3,000 spectators reportedly at the match
* They have scored four tries in two of their previous three AIB League games against Dolphin. They have lost seven of their previous 29 league games at home to other Munster clubs
* They have won their last six Division One matches. Are unbeaten in their last 18 AIB League games at Temple Hill
* Over the years, they have played four league games against Cork clubs and won them all
* Is Saturday the last occasion Temple Hill will be used for an AIB League regulation phase game? Are tipped to top the table and receive a home draw in the semi-finals
* The story at home in Division One so far this season is played 7, won 6 and drawn 1. Last time out in Division One, they won 13-5 away to Galwegians

TOP AIB LEAGUE POINTS SCORER THIS SEASON: Jeremy Manning 86
TOP AIB LEAGUE TRY SCORER THIS SEASON: Richie Lane 9

DOLPHIN – NOTES: * This is the last of their three away games in Munster in this season’s AIB League and the last of their seven away games
* They have had home advantage in their three previous league encounters with Constitution. They have not managed to avoid defeat in their three previous league meetings with Con
* They have won 14 of their previous 30 Division One matches on the road in their own province
* They have kicked the most penalty goals (35) in Division One so far this season. Have lost their last four league games at away venues in Munster
* Their former coach Terry Kingston is the opposition’s forwards coach on Saturday and their current coach David O’Mahony is a former Con captain
* They have enjoyed their best season yet in the AIB League but have only a slim chance of making the play-offs
* The story on the road in Division One so far this season is played 6, won 2 and lost 4. Last time out in Division One, they lost 19-11 away to St. Mary’s College

TOP AIB LEAGUE POINTS SCORER THIS SEASON: Barry Keeshan 143
TOP AIB LEAGUE TRY SCORER THIS SEASON: James Coughlan 6