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Home Comfort For Young Munster

Home Comfort For Young Munster

Saturday, March 30, 2002. That was the last time Young Munster played a home match in Division One of the AIB League, so the Cookies’ clash with Old Belvedere at Tom Clifford Park this weekend has plenty of history attached to it.

Back in the top flight after six seasons in Division Two, Young Munster suffered a 21-10 defeat at Ballymena in their opening game last weekend.

But the Mike Lynch and Mick O’Halloran-coached side acquitted themselves well against the Braidmen, closing the gap to 11-10 before Ian Whitten and Ian Humphreys made the game safe for the hosts.

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Saturday is sure to see a bumper crowd at Tom Clifford Park, where the Cookies regularly got large gates during their promotion push last season.

Old Belvedere, under the tutelage of Phil Werahiko, enjoyed a five-try win over UCD last Saturday and it will be interesting to see if the Dublin 4 residents can maintain that sort of form.

Home advantage may just sway it for Young Munster, who will be eager to chalk up a win ahead of meetings later this month with Cork Constitution (the defending champions) and Clontarf (semi-finalists last season).

The pressure will be on two more Limerick sides, Shannon and Garryowen, to secure home wins after they were overturned by Blackrock College (41-27) and Clontarf (14-13) respectively last week.

Shannon host Buccaneers at Coonagh on Saturday, with their coach Geoff Moylan and number 8 David Quinlan going up against their former club.

Shannon will be all out to banish memories of last week’s six-try defeat to Blackrock and they will hope team captain Fiach O’Loughlin has recovered from the injury he shipped in that game.

Garryowen welcome a buoyant Blackrock outfit to Dooradoyle, while Galwegians and Dungannon will be gunning for their first points at Crowley Park.

Two of the unbeaten teams, St. Mary’s College and Ballymena, go head-to-head at Templeville Road where new out-halves Shaun McCarthy and Ian Humphreys could have a big say.

Cork Constitution will aim for back-to-back wins over Dublin sides when they visit UCD, while Terenure College, who lost away to Cork last week, need to regroup quickly for their capital clash with Clontarf.

Musgrave Park is in for some red-hot action on Sunday when Munster rivals Dolphin and UL Bohemians collide. Bohs beat the Cork men 34-7 last December but things should be much closer this time around.

In Division Two, the meeting of Limerick rivals Bruff and Thomond stands out as the big fixture. Bruff, impressive in beating Instonians last week, should have enough in the tank to claim the spoils at Kilballyowen Park.

At the Mardyke, UCC and Highfield will put their winning records on the line as they fight for the Cork bragging rights.

Meanwhile, the Ulster derby between Belfast Harlequins and Ballynahinch also has an intriguing edge to it as ‘Hinch flanker Andy Ward comes back to Deramore Park, where he was player-coach for three years.

In Division Three, table toppers County Carlow will be hosted by Nenagh Ormond as they look to build on last week’s runaway 42-0 success over Waterpark.

Both Connacht clubs, Connemara and Corinthians, are facing road trips, as are the Ulster trio of Banbridge, Queen’s University and Portadown.

Hika Reid’s Portadown side, 13-8 victors over Old Wesley last weekend, will head south to challenge Sundays Well at Musgrave Park, where they lost 20-12 on their last AIB League visit in October 2006.

2008/09 AIB LEAGUE: Saturday, October 11

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

DIVISION ONE:

Galwegians v Dungannon, Crowley Park
Garryowen v Blackrock College, Dooradoyle
Shannon v Buccaneers, Coonagh
St. Mary’s College v Ballymena, Templeville Road
Terenure College v Clontarf, Lakelands Park
UCD v Cork Constitution, Belfield
Young Munster v Old Belvedere, Tom Clifford Park
Dolphin v UL Bohemians, Musgrave Park (2.30pm, Sunday, October 12)

DIVISION TWO:

Belfast Harlequins v Ballynahinch, Deramore Park, 1.30pm 
Bruff v Thomond, Killballyowen Park
Clonakilty v Greystones, Shannonvale Cross
Lansdowne v Instonians, The RDS
Old Crescent v Dublin University, Rosbrien
UCC v Highfield, The Mardyke
Wanderers v Malone, Merrion Road
Bective Rangers v De La Salle Palmerston, Donnybrook (2.30pm, Sunday, October 12)

DIVISION THREE:

Ards v Corinthians, Hamilton Park
Barnhall v Connemara, Parsonstown
Nenagh Ormond v County Carlow, New Ormond Park
Old Wesley v Banbridge, Donnybrook
Rainey Old Boys v Midleton, Hatrick Park
Sundays Well v Portadown, Musgrave Park
Suttonians v Queen’s University, John J McDowell Memorial Ground
Waterpark v Naas, Ballinakill

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