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AIB League: Division 1B Previews

AIB League: Division 1B Previews

Only a point separates table toppers Old Belvedere and second-placed Young Munster as they turn for home in AIB League Division 1B. Every game is of the must-win variety and none more so than bottom side Buccaneers’ evening showdown with fellow strugglers Dungannon at Dubarry Park.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, February 20 

BALLYMENA (5th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (2nd), Eaton Park, 2.30pm

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AIB League Season’s Form – Ballymena: WWLLLLWWLW; Young Munster: WLDWWWWWWW 
AIB League Top Scorers – Ballymena: Points: David O’Hara 60; Tries: Sam McKinney 4; Young Munster: Points: Alan Kingsley 75; Tries: Alan Kingsley 3 

Preview: Tough match for high-flying Young Munster. Ballymena showed just how good they can be on their home patch when beating UCC 19-10 in their last outing.

Young Munster, of course, are in a rich vein of from themselves, with just one defeat to date in their campaign. But they were not at their best when just getting the better of Dungannon 13-12 at home in their last league game.

So, this could be a very tough examination for Mike Prendergast’s team as they continue their battle at the top of the table with Old Belvedere.

Last Season’s Meetings – Saturday, October 4, 2008: Ballymena 21 Young Munster 10, Eaton Park 

This Season’s First Meeting – Saturday, November 14, 2009: Young Munster 16 Ballymena 3, Tom Clifford Park 

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

OLD BELVEDERE (1st) v GALWEGIANS (4th), Anglesea Road, 2.30pm

AIB League Season’s Form – Old Belvedere: WWDWLWWLWW; Galwegians: WLLLWWLLWW
AIB League Top Scorers – Old Belvedere: Points: David Mongan 70; Tries: David Mongan 14; Galwegians: Points: Mark Butler 36; Tries: Mark Butler, John Cleary, Ati Olive, Tiernan O’Halloran 3 each 

Preview: Old Belvedere have responded well to their dramatic late defeat to Young Munster, although they did recently lose a closely-fought Leinster Senior League Cup decider to St. Mary’s College.

If Old Belvedere’s forwards can deliver, then Galwegians are really going to have to be on top of their game to stop winger David Mongan. Extremely quick, Mongan seems to score tries virtually every league game.

To be fair, Galwegians are a decent enough side, but Old Belvedere must be strongly fancied on their home patch.

Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, October 25, 2008: Galwegians 14 Old Belvedere 12, Crowley Park 

This Season’s First Meeting – Saturday, November 14, 2009: Galwegians 13 Old Belvedere 12, Crowley Park 

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

UCC (3rd) v BALLYNAHINCH (6th), The Mardyke, 2.30pm

AIB League Season’s Form – UCC: LLWWWLWWWL; Ballynahinch: LWLLLWLLLW
AIB League Top Scorers – UCC: Points: Andrew Burk 43; Tries: Ivan Dineen, Sean Scanlon, Brian Derham 4 each; Ballynahinch: Points: Ryan Bambry 72; Tries: Jonny Cullen, Nevin Spence 2 each 

Preview: This is an intriguing encounter. UCC were in smashing form until Ballymena put a stop to their gallop at Eaton Park.

They will now be very keen to respond but that will not be easy against a Ballynahinch outfit that has suddenly found form. Their 35-11 demolition of Dungannon last weekend was a mighty effort.

The game saw ‘Hinch lead 25-6 at the interval and score five tries in all. So, the Cork students will surely have their hands full.

Last Season’s Meeting – Division 2 – Saturday, January 24, 2009: UCC 21 Ballynahinch 9, The Mardyke; Division 2 Final: Saturday, May 9, 2009: UCC 21 Ballynahinch 28, Dooradoyle  

This Season’s First Meeting – Saturday, November 14, 2009: Ballynahinch 6 UCC 15, Ballymacarn Park 

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

BUCCANEERS (8th) v DUNGANNON (7th), Dubarry Park, 5pm

AIB League Season’s Form – Buccaneers: LLWWLLLLLL; Dungannon: LWWLWLLLLL
AIB League Top Scorers – Buccaneers: Points: Adam Kennedy 34; Tries: Billy Henshaw, Brian Tuohy, Martin Staunton, John O’Brien JH Potgieter, Colm Rigney, Conor Higgins, Conor Lavelle, Troy Nathan, Alex Hayman 1 each; Dungannon: Points: James Shiells 53; Tries: Craig Gilroy 3 

Preview: Bottom of the table clash. It is hard to have great faith in either side but perhaps home advantage will prove decisive for Buccaneers.

Certainly, Dungannon will need to do an awful lot better than their effort last weekend when conceding 35 points to Ballynahinch. The opportunity is definitely there for Buccaneers to secure a much-needed victory, with the later kick-off sure to add to the atmosphere. 

Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, November 29, 2008: Dungannon 23 Buccaneers 36, Stevenson Park 

This Season’s First Meeting – Saturday, November 14, 2009: Dungannon 27 Buccaneers 3, Stevenson Park 

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