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AIB League: Division 1B Previews

AIB League: Division 1B Previews

Old Belvedere and Young Munster have secured promotion from AIB League Division 1B, but a semi-final spot is still up for grabs and further twists and turns lay ahead in the relegation battle. It all makes for another intriguing Saturday of club rugby.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, March 27

BALLYMENA (5th) v DUNGANNON (8th), Eaton Park, 2.30pm

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AIB League Season’s Form – Ballymena: WWLLLLWWLWLL; Dungannon: LWWLWLLLLLLL
AIB League Top Scorers – Ballymena: Points: David O’Hara 65; Tries: Sam McKinney 4; Dungannon: Points: James Shiells 65; Tries: Craig Gilroy 3

Preview: Both of these teams would have expected to have had a better season. Really, the Ulster sides just have not featured.

Now it is all about staying clear of relegation trouble. On the basis that they are at home, Ballymena should probably hold an edge but it is very hard to know just how things will turn out.

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

This Season’s First Meeting – Saturday, December 12, 2009: Dungannon 15 Ballymena 21, Stevenson Park 

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

BUCCANEERS (6th) v UCC (3rd), Dubarry Park, 2.30pm

AIB League Season’s Form – Buccaneers: LLWWLLLLLLWW; UCC: LLWWWLWWWLWL
AIB League Top Scorers – Buccaneers: Points: Adam Kennedy 43; Tries: Brian Tuohy 3; UCC: Points: Andrew Burke 52; Tries: Brian Derham, Sean Scanlon 5 each

Preview: After moving off the bottom of the table, Buccaneers will be hoping that they can improve their chances of avoiding relegation with a futher victory.

On paper, a UCC team that has been chasing the top two, Old Belvedere and Young Munster, all season should have too much ability for them. Then again, their most recent defeat to Young Munster means that the students now have very little to play for.

Last Season’s Meeting – UCC were in Division 2 

This Season’s First Meeting – Saturday, December 12, 2009: UCC 25 Buccaneers 6, the Mardyke 

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

OLD BELVEDERE (1st) v BALLYNAHINCH (7th), Anglesea Road, 2.30pm

AIB League Season’s Form – Old Belvedere: WWDWLWWLWWWW; Ballynahinch: LWLLLWLLLWLL
AIB League Top Scorers – Old Belvedere: Points: David Mongan 70; Tries: David Mongan 14; Ballynahinch: Points: Ryan Bambry 77; Tries: Jonny Cullen, Nevin Spence, Aaron Ferris, Michael Kirkwood 2 each

Preview: Leaders Old Belvedere must keep on winning if they are to get the play-off spot ahead of Young Munster.
The fact that they had three players, Fergus McFadden, Eoin O’Malley and Chris Keane, named in the Leinster squad earlier this week has not helped, but some of them should be available.

Either way, player/coach Andy Dunne has a pretty good squad at his disposal.

It is a match that Old Belvedere must be expected to win but Ballynahinch are desperate for points to avoid relegation and that in inself could make them dangerous.

Last Season’s Meeting – Ballynahinch were in Division 2 

This Season’s First Meeting – Saturday, December 12, 2009: Ballynahinch 10 Old Belvedere 29, Ballymacarn Park 

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

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

AIB League Season’s Form – Young Munster: WLDWWWWWWWWW; Galwegians: WLLLWWLLWWLW
AIB League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Alan Kingsley 101; Tries: Alan Kingsley 4; Galwegians: Points: Mark Butler 36; Tries: John Cleary 4

Preview: The main aim of the season has been achieved with promotion already assured but Young Munster would love nothing better than to pip Old Belvedere for that play-off spot.

Player/coach Mike Prendergast will surely be asking for a repeat of the performance which brought them that crucial away success over UCC.

They should be up to the task, especially as Galwegians tend to reserve their best rugby for their home ground.

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

This Season’s First Meeting – Saturday, December 12, 2009: Galwegians 9 Young Munster 16, Crowley Park

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