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AIB League: Division 1B Previews

AIB League: Division 1B Previews

There could be plenty of movement in the Division 1B table come Saturday afternoon as the bottom four teams face off and the leading sides also lock horns. Much of the focus will be on third-placed Dungannon’s trip to leaders Old Belvedere.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, December 5

BALLYMENA (6th) v GALWEGIANS (5th), Eaton Park, 2.15pm

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AIB League Current Form – Ballymena: WWLLL; Galwegians: WLLLW
AIB League Top Scorers – Ballymena: Points: Rory Drysdale 36; Tries: Sam McKinney 3; Galwegians: Points: Mark Butler 28; Tries: Mark Butler, John Cleary 3 each

Preview: Two sides with very similar records. Both have won two and lost three, with Galwegians just ahead of their rivals in the table by virtue of a bonus point.

Ballymena lost 16-3 to Young Munster last time out, but tend to be much better at home. Galwegians, for their part, will be hoping to build on their surprise success against leaders Old Belvedere.

Ballymena’s honored guest and speaker at their pre-match lunch will be none other than Stewart McKinney, the former Irish International and Lion, whose son Sam is the Braidmen’s captain this season.

Stewart will be available to sign copies of his recently launched book, ‘Voices from the back of the Bus’, which is a great stocking filler for Christmas!

Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, October 18, 2008: Ballymena 5 Galwegians 19, Eaton Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballymena to win by 1-5 points

BUCCANEERS (7th) v BALLYNAHINCH (8th), Dubarry Park, 2.30pm

AIB League Current Form – Buccaneers: LLWWL; Ballynahinch: LWLLL
AIB League Top Scorers – Buccaneers: Points: Adam Kennedy 16; Tries: Billy Henshaw, Martin Staunton, John O’Brien, JH Potgieter, Colm Rigney 1 each; Ballynahinch: Points: Ryan Bambry 28; Tries: Nevin Spence 2

Preview: Good opportunity for the erractic Buccaneers side to get things going again, after their 27-3 hammering by Dungannon.

Ballynahinch have not enjoyed the best of seasons to date, with only one win from their five outings. They require a big improvement in order to stop the slide.

Last Season’s Meeting – Ballynahinch were in Division 2

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Buccaneers to win by 6-10 points

OLD BELVEDERE (1st) v DUNGANNON (3rd), Anglesea Road, 2.30pm

AIB League Current Form – Old Belvedere: WWDWL; Dungannon: LWWLW
AIB League Top Scorers – Old Belvedere: Points: Fergus McFadden 37; Tries: David Mongan 6; Dungannon: Points: James Shiells 17; Tries: Craig Gilroy 2

Preview: Leaders Old Belvedere badly need to return to winning form, after their defeats to Galwegians (league) and Ballymena (cup).

Significantly though, Old Belvedere were missing Fergus McFadden against Galwegians, while David Mongan and Andy Dunne were also absent for the AIB Cup defeat.

Third-placed Dungannon represent a tough challenge. With a strong side out and home advantage, ‘Belvo should take the spoils in this crucial game.

Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, March 7, 2009: Old Belvedere 5 Dungannon 6, Anglesea Road

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Old Belvedere to win by 6-10 points

YOUNG MUNSTER (2nd) v UCC (4th), Tom Clifford Park, 2.30pm

AIB League Current Form – Young Munster: WLDWW; UCC: LLWWW
AIB League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Alan Kingsley 24; Tries: Alan Kingsley, Clem Casey, Aaron Carroll 2 each; UCC: Points: Andrew Burke 30; Tries: Brian Derham 3

Preview: In form Young Munster are looking for a third win on the trot as they continue to push up the table. They are now up to second spot, just a point behind Old Belvedere.

But the students are also improving, with three successive wins, so this promises to be a highly competitive encounter at Tom Clifford Park. Both sides have been particularly strong in defence in recent league outings, with Young Munster only conceding 11 points in their last three games and UCC leaking just nine in their last two.

Last Season’s Meeting – UCC were in Division 2

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win by 6-10 points