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AIB League: Division 1B Previews

AIB League: Division 1B Previews

Leaders Old Belvedere travel to Ballynahinch, Young Munster are away to Galwegians, Dungannon host Ballymena in a tasty Ulster derby and UCC host Buccaneers. All to play for in Division 1B ahead of the Christmas break.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, December 12

BALLYNAHINCH (7th) v OLD BELVEDERE (1st), Ballymacarn Park, 2.30pm

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AIB League Current Form – Ballynahinch: LWLLLW; Old Belvedere: WWDWLW
AIB League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Ryan Bambry 36; Tries: Nevin Spence, Jonny Cullen 2 each; Old Belvedere: Points: Fergus McFadden 37; Tries: David Mongan 8

Preview: Old Belvedere must be fancied to stay out at the head of proceedings of this division, after the way they demolished Dungannon 34-5 last Saturday.

Andy Dunne is in great form at out-half, while Leinster’s Fergus McFadden should be available to play outside him in the centre.

Ballynahinch did, however, put in a vastly improved performance to beat Buccaneers 13-9 away, and the game might not be as straightforward as it seems.

Last Season’s Meeting – Ballynahinch were in Division 2

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

DUNGANNON (5th) v BALLYMENA (6th), Stevenson Park, 2.30pm

AIB League Current Form – Dungannon: LWWLWL; Ballymena: WWLLLL
AIB League Top Scorers – Dungannon: Points: James Shiells 17; Tries: Craig Gilroy, Stuart McKenzie 2 each; Ballymena: Points: Rory Drysdale 36; Tries: Sam McKinney 3

Preview: Evenly-contested game expected between two teams hoping to bounce back. Dungannon really cannot have been pleased with their effort in conceding 34 points to Old Belvedere.

Ballymena only went down 16-13 to Galwegians at Crowley Park, but they lie third from bottom of the table and their overall form must improve. Expect a typically tough Ulster derby at Stevenson Park on Saturday.

Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, February 21, 2009: Dungannon 15 Ballymena 19, Stevenson Park

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

GALWEGIANS (3rd) v YOUNG MUNSTER (2nd), Crowley Park, 2.30pm

AIB League Current Form – Galwegians: WLLLWW; Young Munster: WLDWWW
AIB League Top Scorers – Galwegians: Points: Mark Butler 28; Tries: Mark Butler, John Cleary 3 each; Young Munster: Points: Alan Kingsley 33; Tries: Alan Kingsley, Clem Casey, Aaron Carroll 2 each

Preview: Second take on third. Young Munster seem to be getting better as their season progresses, althought they had to fight hard to overcome UCC 14-10 last Saturday.

The goalkicking of Alan Kingsley is again bound to prove important as the Cookies bid to keep their run going against a Galwegians side which is also on the upgrade.

‘Wegians put in a decent effort against Dolphin in the AIB Cup, before securing a hard earned success over Ballymena last weekend.

Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, December 13, 2008: Galwegians 15 Young Munster 10, Crowley Park

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

UCC (4th) v BUCCANEERS (8th), The Mardyke, 2.30pm

AIB League Current Form – UCC: LLWWWL; Buccaneers: LLWWLL
AIB League Top Scorers – UCC: Points: Andrew Burke 35; Tries: Brian Derham 3; Buccaneers: Points: Adam Kennedy 25; Tries: Billy Henshaw, Martin Staunton, John O’Brien, JH Potgieter, Colm Rigney 1 each

Preview: The students from Cork are entitled to fancy their chances here against a Buccaneers outfit that is struggling for consistency.

Buccs currently lie bottom after going down at home to the then bottom side Ballynahinch last time out. UCC, by contrast, have been very competitive in their more recent outings. The skull and crossbones of UCC should win out over the Pirates from Athlone.

Last Season’s Meeting – UCC were in Division 2

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