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AIB League Is Back With A Bang

AIB League Is Back With A Bang

After a five-week break from action, the AIB League swings back into the towns and cities of Ireland this Saturday, so why not kick the Christmas shopping to touch and get out and support your local club!

Headlining the Division One bill this weekend is the top of the table clash between Clontarf and Blackrock College.

Clontarf, who lost the Leinster Senior League Cup final to Lansdowne last Saturday, are the only unbeaten team left in Division One.

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Andy Wood’s men will be eager to bounce back from that defeat and also gain revenge on Blackrock for their 34-17 loss in last season’s AIB Cup semi-finals.

Thankfully for the north Dubliners, Blackrock’s 29-point hero from that game, Fionn Carr, is now plying his trade with Connacht but the Stradbrook side still have a number of potential match winners at their disposal.

‘Rock, coached by Barry Gibney and Emmet Farrell, lost 10-6 to UCD in their last league game before the international break, bringing their unbeaten start to the campaign to an end.

Incredibly, ‘Rock will be playing 13 of their 15 AIB League fixtures in the Dublin area this season and that could be a key feature as they strive to remain in play-off contention.

They lost 26-22 to ‘Tarf on their last visit to Castle Avenue in December 2006 but they came away with a 13-8 win in January 2005 and another tight game can be expected.

Thomond Park Stadium will host another showpiece occasion on Saturday as UL Bohemians officially open their new clubhouse at the redeveloped ground before taking on Young Munster for league spoils.

The game is a rerun of the first ever match played at Thomond Park back in 1934, which was a Munster Senior League game between the same two clubs, Bohs and Munsters. Young Munster claimed an 8-0 win that day.

Elsewhere, bottom side Terenure College face a tough trip to Ballymena’s Eaton Park, where they have lost on their last three league visits.

‘Nure should, however, be able to call on fit-again second row Darragh O’Doherty and centre Killian Coleman, while influential scrum half Mark Mahony is also back after a spell on the sidelines.

Although boosted by their qualification for the third round of the AIB Cup, Galwegians’ recent winning run may come to an end at Temple Hill.

Cork Constitution, the defending champions, have slipped down to seventh in the table and will be itching for a big performance, particularly with Munster’s Jeremy Manning available to them.

The Dolphin v St. Mary’s clash at Musgrave Park will see the Cork club, who have conceded the most tries (16) in the top flight so far this season, entertaining the team that has scored the most tries (14).

Fresh from a 36-7 friendly win over Corinthians last weekend, Buccaneers are off on their travels again with a visit to Dungannon.

It is 9th plays 12th at Stevenson Park and the match could mark the league return of out-half Richard McCarter, who has been battling a hamstring injury.

2006/07 Division One champions Garryowen will be gunning for just their second league win of the current season when they take on Old Belvedere at Anglesea Road.

Dara O’Sullivan’s light blues have struggled for early form, posting a win, a draw and two defeats, whereas Belvedere are currently fourth in the standings with three wins and a single loss.

Meanwhile, at Coonagh, Shannon will be keen to chalk up a win over UCD to mark the passing last week of the legendary Frankie O’Flynn.

It would be a fitting tribute to the man and as Des O’Dea said, after an emotional few days, Frankie would want the players to get back to what they do best – playing rugby.

AIB LEAGUE: Saturday, November 29

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –


Ballymena v Terenure College, Eaton Park
Clontarf v Blackrock College, Castle Avenue
Cork Constitution v Galwegians, Temple Hill
Dolphin v St. Mary’s College, Musgrave Park
Dungannon v Buccaneers, Stevenson Park
Old Belvedere v Garryowen, Anglesea Road
Shannon v UCD, Coonagh
UL Bohemians v Young Munster, Thomond Park