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AIB League: Division 1A & Division 2 Previews

AIB League: Division 1A & Division 2 Previews

Easter Saturday provides a chance for a number of teams to catch up on their postponed games in the AIB League. With play-offs and relegation at stake, every point counts before we head into the final round of games next week.

AIB LEAGUE: Saturday, April 3

DIVISION 1A:

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GARRYOWEN (5th) v BLACKROCK COLLEGE (6th), Dooradoyle, 2.30pm

AIB League Season’s Form – Garryowen: WLLLLWWDWWWL; Blackrock College: WWWLLLLLWWLL
AIB League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Conor Murray 75; Tries: Ronan O’Mahony 3; Blackrock College: Points: James Power 47; Tries: Andrew Conway 3

Preview: Both teams have taken a different route to their current position. Garryowen’s season stuttered in the early stages and they were rooted to the bottom of the table until they turned things around. Since December, they have beaten UL Bohemians, Dolphin twice, St. Mary’s College and managed a 6-6 draw with Cork Constitution.

Blackrock raced out of the blocks at the start of the season with early wins over UL Bohs and Cork Con and their young stars such as Andrew Conway and Brendan Macken helped them to the top of the table.

Conway has since debuted for Leinster and along with Macken, helped the Ireland U-20s win the RBS U-20 6 Nations title, but ‘Rock’s form has faltered.

Blackrock are now in danger of relegation – scant reward for the adventure which they have shown during the season – so a win at Dooradoyle would bring some welcome relief before facing UL Bohs a week later. Garryowen, however, will be out for revenge for the 48-14 drubbing they suffered in Stradbrook in October.

Last Season’s Meeting – Saturday, October 11, 2008: Garryowen 26 Blackrock College 30, Dooradoyle 

This Season’s First Meeting – Saturday, October 10, 2009: Blackrock College 48 Garryowen 14, Stradbrook

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

UL BOHEMIANS (8th) v CORK CONSTITUTION (2nd), Annacotty, 2.30pm

AIB League Season’s Form – UL Bohemians: LLLLWWLLLLLW; Cork Constitution: LWLWWWWWDWWL
AIB League Top Scorers – UL Bohemians: Points: Fergal Lawlor 30; Tries: Danny Riordan 4; Cork Constitution: Points: Scott Deasy 66; Tries: Richie Lane 6

Preview: It is still mathematically possible for UL Bohemians to avoid the drop. They need two bonus point wins and for Blackrock College and Clontarf to remain pointless in the remaining games.
 A tall order as they face possible leaders and definite title contenders Cork Constitution on Saturday. That said, UL managed a gutsy 16-13 win over Garryowen last Saturday at Dooradoyle.
Cork Con’s losing bonus point at Templeville Road last time out means a win this weekend would see them top of the table facing into the final game and it should also see them nail down a play-off spot as one of the top three teams in Division 1A.

Constitution will face Dolphin next week, with Cork bragging rights at stake, so they need to secure the points on Saturday.

Last Season’s Meeting – Sunday, December 14, 2008: UL Bohemians 19 Cork Constitution 25, Annacotty

This Season’s First Meeting – Saturday, October 10, 2009: Cork Constitution 16 UL Bohemians 3, Temple Hill

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

DIVISION 2:

Bruff can nail down the second promotion spot this weekend, while first-placed Lansdowne are the visitors to Rosbrien as Old Crescent look to avoid the drop in Division 2 of the AIB League.

Bruff (2nd) v Malone (9th), Kilballyowen Park, 2.30pm

Bruff need just one point to nail down promotion to Division 1B for next weekend. They are unlikely, however, to look at it from that point of view.

Nine wins, two draws and three try-scoring bonus points have seen them emerge from the chasing pack behind Lansdowne and they are formidable opponents on their own patch at Kilballyowen Park.

Malone are comfortable in mid-table and will travel with some confidence having posted big wins over Old Wesley, UCD and most gratifyingly for them, Belfast Harlequins.
That said, Bruff should have too much in the tank and are likely to seal promotion with a game to go.
Corinthians (10th) v Belfast Harlequins (7th), Corinthian Park, 2.30pm
Corinthians’ balance sheet is just on the right side with seven wins and six losses. They will not be pushing for play-offs or dreading relegation but they are unlikely to roll over for their visitors on Saturday.
Belfast Harlequins squeezed past Highfield last time out but they are still smarting from their loss to Malone the week before that.
Having threatened the top four early in the season, ‘Quins have fallen off since then. A win on Saturday would see them in the play-off zone with the last round of games to come.
Old Crescent (14th) v Lansdowne (1st), Rosbrien, 2.30pm

Every other team has had a go and DLSP and Highfield have come close to spoiling Lansdowne’s winning run at the top of Division 2.

This Saturday Old Crescent face the daunting task of trying to avoid relegation by toppling the team with a perfect record.

A win for the home team would be the result of the season but it is more likely that Lansdowne will remain unbeaten going into the final weekend and that Crescent’s game against Highfield a week later will be a winner-takes-all affair.

Terenure College (4th) v UCD (11th)  Lakelands Park, 2.30pm

A big game this for Terenure College. A win would secure their play-off spot as they are currently two points clear of Bective Rangers in fifth.

In fact, a bonus point win here and one the following week could put them in the frame for promotion in the unlikely event of Bruff or DLSP losing their last games.

UCD have struggled to make ground this season with a steady six wins, six losses and one draw to their name. They nailed down the Colours a few weeks ago but lost heavily to Malone last week – possibly after celebrating too much?

‘Nure are unbeaten in the last four games – Clonakilty, Greystones, Highfield and Bective – and last tasted defeat in the leage back in January at home to Bruff.

The points and the play-off berth should go the home team’s way at Lakelands this weekend.