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AIB League: Division 1A Previews

AIB League: Division 1A Previews

It is another huge Saturday in AIB League Division 1A as leaders Cork Constitution travel to Garryowen ahead of the sides’ AIB Cup final clash next weekend, there are two mouth-watering local derbies on offer and Dolphin and St. Mary’s College will battle it out at Musgrave Park.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, January 23

BLACKROCK COLLEGE (4th) v CLONTARF (5th), Stradbrook, 2.30pm

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AIB League Current Form – Blackrock College: WWWLLLLL; Clontarf: LLWWLWLW
AIB League Top Scorers – Blackrock College: Points: James Power 47; Tries: Andrew Conway, David Moore 2 each; Clontarf: Points: Martin Dufficy 52; Tries: Michael Keating 3

Preview: This is a crucial match for both outfits with the teams level in mid table on the 17 points mark. Blackrock must arrest a slide which has seen them slip from top spot.

To be fair, Blackrock performed much better following the return of some of their top players last weekend. They were unfortunate not to get a draw when losing 18-15 away to the new league leaders Cork Constitution.

But they will not find it easy against an improving Clontarf side which beat them 9-3 at Castle Avenue earlier in the season.

Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, November 29, 2008: Clontarf 26 Blackrock College 8, Castle Avenue

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

DOLPHIN (6th) v ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (2nd), Musgrave Park, 2.30pm

AIB League Current Form – Dolphin: WWWLLWL; St. Mary’s College: WWWWLWLL 
AIB League Top Scorers – Dolphin: Points: Barry Keeshan 50; Tries: Barry Keeshan, Barry O’Mahony 2 each; St. Mary’s College: Points: Gavin Dunne 50; Tries: Robin Copeland 7

Preview: St. Mary’s College will be hoping to make a statement after losing three out of the last four to lose their position at the top of the table. While they always knew their winning run was too good to last, last Saturday’s 16-13 home defeat to Garryowen caused grounds for concern.

They left themselves far too much to do when trailing by 16-3 at the interval, and simply must start better at Musgrave Park on Saturday afternoon.

Dolphin have not been enjoying the best of times themselves of late after a good start to their campaign, but they are going to be hard to beat on their home patch.

Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, November 29, 2008: Dolphin 38 St. Mary’s College 3, Musgrave Park

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

GARRYOWEN (7th) v CORK CONSTITUTION (1st), Dooradoyle, 2.30pm

AIB League Current Form – Garryowen: WLLLLWW; Cork Constitution: LWLWWWWW
AIB League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Conor Murray 40; Tries: Ronan O’Mahony 2; Cork Constitution: Points: Scott Deasy 50; Tries: Richie Lane 5

Preview: First of two meetings between these old rivals over the next few weeks, they also clash in the AIB Cup final on Saturday week. At long last, Garryowen seem to be finding some form.

They did well to beat St. Mary’s College away and would like nothing better than to follow it up with a victory over the new leaders Cork Con. If scrum half Conor Murray continues to kick as well as he has done recently, they will not be without a chance.

But Cork Con are a very hard team to beat these days. They have the strongest squad around and in Scott Deasy a potential match winner.

Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, December 6, 2008: Garryowen 20 Cork Constitution 19, Dooradoyle

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

UL BOHEMIANS (8th) v SHANNON (3rd), Thomond Park Stadium, 2.30pm

AIB League Current Form – UL Bohemians: LLLLWWLL; Shannon: LLLWWLWW
AIB League Top Scorers – UL Bohemians: Points: Ed Torrie 18; Tries: Ed Torrie 3; Shannon: Points: Tadhg Bennett 52; Tries: Stephen Kelly 6

Preview: Shannon will be looking to continue their push up the table against local rivals UL Bohemians.

Given that they emphatically won the first meeting between the sides 38-19, anything other than a Shannon success will be a big surprise. Stephen Kelly continues to score tries, and the emerging Eoghan Grace added to his reputation by securing two in last Saturday’s victory over Dolphin.

UL Bohs are back at the bottom of the table, but they did show signs of an improvement in the second half against Clontarf last Saturday.

Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, April 11, 2009: UL Bohemians 6 Shannon 12, Annacotty

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