Jump to main content


AIB League: Division 1A Previews

AIB League: Division 1A Previews

There are no easy games in Division 1A. The meeting of last season’s finalists Clontarf and Shannon is actually overshadowed by the meeting of the top two – Cork Constitution and St. Mary’s College at Temple Hill. There is also the floodlit Limerick derby between UL Bohemians and Garryowen on Saturday night.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, December 12

BLACKROCK COLLEGE (3rd) v DOLPHIN (5th), Stradbrook, 2.30pm

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

AIB League Current Form – Blackrock College: WWWLLL; Dolphin: WWWLL
AIB League Top Scorers – Blackrock College: Points: James Power 47; Tries: Andrew Conway, David Moore 2 each; Dolphin: Points: Barry Keeshan 48; Tries: Barry Keeshan, Barry O’Mahony 2 each

Preview: Intriguing fixture between two sides who have had a tough time recently. Former leaders Blackrock College have lost three on the trot, while Dolphin have lost their last two.

To be fair to both sides, they have been hit by the absence of some of their best players, particularly Blackrock.

Because of representative call-ups and injuries, ‘Rock were forced to put out a side missing at least eight frontline players when beaten 25-3 by leaders St. Mary’s College last weekend.

In the circumstances, the Dubliners did well to be only 6-3 down well into the second half, but the wheels fell off in the final quarter.

They should have a much stronger team this Saturday, but then Dolphin are expected to have Nick Williams and James Coughlan available again after Munster calll-ups ruled them out of last Saturday’s shock 3-0 home defeat to UL Bohemians.

Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, January 17, 2009: Dolphin 19 Blackrock College 15, Musgrave Park

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

CLONTARF (6th) v SHANNON (4th), Castle Avenue, 2.30pm

AIB League Current Form – Clontarf: LLWWLW; Shannon: LLLWWL
AIB League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Martin Dufficy 41; Tries: Sean Carey, Michael Keating, Martin Garvey, Simon Crawford 1 each; Shannon: Points: Tadhg Bennett 29; Tries: Stephen Kelly 4

Preview: This is bound to be a fiercely-contested game between two teams reacting to very different situations last Saturday.

No problem for the improving Clontarf outfit in that they trounced Garryowen 18-3 at Dooradoyle. They are now level with Shannon on 13 points and very much back in the hunt.

Shannon, for their part, are trying to put their controversial injury-time 9-8 defeat to Cork Constitution behind them. As hard as it was to accept such a defeat, the only way to deal with it is on the pitch.

It does seem they will have Ian Dowling available to feature in a backs division along with Felix Jones, following his omission from the Munster side. But this is a useful Clontarf outfit which is bound to be very competitive on their home patch.

Last Season’s Meetings – Saturday, December 6, 2008: Shannon 6 Clontarf 8, Coonagh; Saturday, May 9, 2009: Shannon 19 Clontarf 19, Thomond Park (after extra-time; Shannon won having scored the game’s first try)

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

CORK CONSTITUTION (2nd) v ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (1st), Temple Hill, 2.30pm

AIB League Current Form – Cork Constitution: LWLWWW; St. Mary’s College: WWWWLW
AIB League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Scott Deasy 37; Tries: Richie Lane 3; St. Mary’s College: Points: Gavin Dunne 38; Tries: Robin Copeland 7

Preview: Match of the day between the two top sides in the division. Should Cork Constitution win they will be right up their beside St. Mary’s College at the top as the league reaches the halfway stage.

On their recent form, they are in with a real chance. While last Saturday’s victory over Shannon was only achieved well into injury-time, it was a huge result.

Once again, it showed that Cork Con have one of the best squads around and, crucially, a top class place-kicker in Scott Deasy. From St. Mary’s perspective, they have done everything that has been asked of them to lead the table but this is a game which will tell them how good they are.

Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, October 25, 2008: St. Mary’s College 16 Cork Constitution 9, Templeville Road

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: St. Mary’s College to win by 1-5 points

UL BOHEMIANS (7th) v GARRYOWEN (8th), Thomond Park, 7.30pm

AIB League Current Form – UL Bohemians: LLLLWW; Garryowen: WLLLL
AIB League Top Scorers – UL Bohemians: Points: Ed Torrie, Fergal Lawlor 13 each; Tries: Danny Riordan, Ed Torrie 2 each; Garryowen: Points: Conor Murray 26; Tries: Ronan O’Mahony 2

Preview: For once, Garryowen are the team going in against their Limerick rivals as the outfit with something to prove. They lie stranded at the bottom of the table after a hugely disappointing effort against Clontarf last time out.

UL Bohs, by comparision, have turned their campaign around with successive victories over St. Mary’s College and Dolphin. The victory over St. Mary’s came in a free-flowing game, while last Saturday’s 3-0 success over Dolphin was achieved in awful conditions at Musgrave Park.

So, there is clearly something to this UL Bohs side. Unfortunately for Garryowen, they just have not put anything together since beating Shannon in their opening game and they will need to show a big improvement.

The floodlights may inspire and should draw a good crowd to the game on Saturday evening.

Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, January 31, 2009: Garryowen 20 UL Bohemians 18, Dooradoyle

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