Defending champions Shannon will face another stiff test when they visit high-flying Blackrock College in AIB League Division 1A on Saturday. When these sides met at Stradbrook in the league last season, ‘Rock blasted their way to a 41-27 win. Could a repeat be on the cards?
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, November 14
BLACKROCK COLLEGE (2nd) v SHANNON (5th), Stradbrook, 2.30pm
AIB League Current Form – Blackrock College: WWWL; Shannon: LLLW
AIB League Top Scorers – Blackrock College: Points: James Power 29; Tries: David Moore, Andrew Conway 2 each; Shannon: Points: Tadhg Bennett 20; Tries: David Quinlan 3
Preview: A match which should reveal a lot about both teams. Blackrock, having suffered their first defeat at the hands of Clontarf, will be without centre Kyle Tonetti (broken thumb).
Consequently, James Power moves to the centre and Darragh Fitzpatrick comes in at out-half. Otherwise, Blackrock have everyone available, with Leinster’s Trevor Hogan starting on the bench.
Hard to know what to expect from Shannon. After decisively beating UL Bohemians for their first league success, they went under 33-14 to Cork Constitution in the AIB Cup last weekend.
Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, October 4, 2008: Blackrock College 41 Shannon 27, Stradbrook
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Blackrock College to win by 1-5 points
CORK CONSTITUTION (4th) v CLONTARF (6th), Temple Hill, 2.30pm
AIB League Current Form – Cork Constitution: LWLW; Clontarf: LLWW
AIB League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Richie Lane 18; Tries: Richie Lane 2; Clontarf: Points: Martin Dufficy 28; Tries: Sean Carey, Michael Keating, Martin Garvey 1 each
Preview: Cork Constitution seem to be on a bit of a roll. Their form over the past few weeks has been encouraging, beating Garryowen in the AIB League and then accounting for Shannon in the AIB Cup.
Throw in the fact that they threw away a good opportunity of defeating Blackrock prior to those games, and you are left in no doubt that they are on the up.
Clontarf, to their credit, did account for Blackrock in their last league outing, but last weekend’s 17-14 cup defeat at the hands of Old Belvedere suggests that they still are not at their best.
Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, March 7, 2009: Cork Constitution 17 Clontarf 13, Temple Hill
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win by 6-10 points
GARRYOWEN (7th) v DOLPHIN (3rd), Dooradoyle, 2.30pm
AIB League Current Form – Garryowen: WLLL; Dolphin: WWWL
AIB League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Conor Murray 23; Tries: Ronan O’Mahony 2; Dolphin: Points: Barry Keeshan 48; Tries: Barry O’Mahony, Barry Keeshan 2 each
Preview: A difficult season to date in the league for Garryowen but maybe things are about to change. Certainly, last weekend’s decisive 19-3 AIB Cup success over St. Mary’s College indicated a significant improvement.
That said, they will be need to be good to get the better of a Dolphin outfit whose only league defeat came away to St. Mary’s last time out. The goalkicking battle between Garryowen’s Gerry Hurley and Barry Keeshan of Dolphin will prove crucial.
Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, April 11, 2009: Dolphin 14 Garryowen 9, Musgrave Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win by 1-5 points
UL BOHEMIANS (8th) v ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (1st), Thomond Park Stadium, 2.30pm
AIB League Current Form – UL Bohemians: LLLL; St. Mary’s College: WWWW
AIB League Top Scorers – UL Bohemians: Points: Darragh Frawley 12; Tries: Danny Riordan, Mark Doyle 1 each; St. Mary’s College: Points: Gavin Dunne 23; Tries: Robin Copeland 4
Preview: League leaders St. Mary’s College were brought down to earth when losing to Garryowen in the AIB Cup last weekend. Yet, they will still go in as firm favourites against bottom of the table UL Bohemians.
Apart from injured winger Conor McPhillips, St. Mary’s will have all their top players available. In some ways, the cup defeat could work in their favour, as there will be no complacency, and they will be extra keen to prove a point on Saturday afternoon.
Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, December 6, 2008: St. Mary’s College 18 UL Bohemians 6, Templeville Road
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: St. Mary’s College to win by over 10 points