Lansdowne and UCC will make history on Saturday afternoon when they take part in the first All-Ireland League match to be held on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch. There will be another first at Kilballyowen Park as Bruff meet Buccaneers in their maiden Division 1B home tie.
ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, October 9
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
BRUFF (8th) v BUCCANEERS (2nd), Kilballyowen Park
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Bruff: L; Buccaneers: W
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Bruff: Points: Brian Cahill 6; Tries: Cathal O’Regan 1; Buccaneers: Points: David Connellan 7; Tries: Colin Watters, Kolo Kiripati, Paul Harte 1 each
Preview: Buccaneers pulled off one of the surprises of the opening weekend by beating Lansdowne at Dubarry Park.
All credit to them but they could find it hard to follow it up with another victory at Kilballyowen Park. Although they went down 26-11 to Clontarf in their first game, Bruff are a strong outfit, especially on home soil.
This is Bruff’s first top flight game at Kilballyowen Park, and a big crowd is expected. The Cathal O’Regan-captained side will be keen to bounce back from that opening defeat.
Last Season’s Meetings – Bruff were in Division 2
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Bruff to win by 1-5 points
DUNGANNON (5th) v UL BOHEMIANS (6th), Stevenson Park
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Dungannon: L; UL Bohemians: L
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Dungannon: Points: Craig Gilroy 10; Tries: Craig Gilroy 2; UL Bohemians: Points: JJ Hanrahan 6; Tries: Martin McPhail 1
Preview: A difficult test for a UL Bohs team hoping to make up for the disappointment of losing their first game, 14-13, at home to Galwegians last Saturday.
Dungannon also lost, 33-29 away to UCC, but at least they had the consolation of scoring four tries to secure a second bonus point.
UL will need to make better use of their chances this time around, and curb the try-scoring threat of Craig Gilroy and Conor Gaston.
Last Season’s Meetings – UL Bohemians were in Division 1A
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dungannon to win by 6-10 points
GALWEGIANS (4th) v CLONTARF (1st), Crowley Park
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Galwegians: W; Clontarf: W
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Galwegians: Points: John Cleary 9; Tries: Colin Conroy 1; Clontarf: Points: Noel Reid 11; Tries: Sam Cronin, Michael Keating, Paul O’Donohoe 1 each
Preview: Following their away success over UL Bohs, Galwegians are entitled to feel very good about themselves. But they will need to play very well if they are to overcome this powerful Clontarf outfit.
Clontarf look the team to beat in the division after putting 26 points on Bruff last Saturday. They have made some great signings, with Ben Gissing and Barry O’Mahony in the pack, and Sam Cronin and Noel Reid at half-back.
‘Wegians had a try-scoring debut from centre Colin Conroy last weekend, while newly-appointed captain John Cleary and lock Dave Nolan are in very good form. Their Ivan Muldoon-led back row unit will look to have a big say here.
Last Season’s Meetings – Clontarf were in Division 1A
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win by 1-5 points
LANSDOWNE (7th) v UCC (3rd), Aviva Stadium, 3.15pm
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Lansdowne: L; UCC: W
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Eoghan Hickey 6; Tries: Shane Gahan, Ross McCarron 1 each; UCC: Points: Andrew Burke 18; Tries: Olan Dennehy, Willie Walsh, John Ryan 1 each
Preview: It is an amazing coincidence that in the week Moss Keane dies, two of his two former clubs, Lansdowne and UCC, should meet on the new all-weather back pitch at the Aviva Stadium.
No doubt, they will produce a game to do him proud. There is a bit more at stake for Lansdowne, particularly as they went down to that surprise defeat to Buccaneers first time out.
Their new half-backs Eoghan Hickey and John Cooney will want to get a talented back-line moving, while UCC out-half Andrew Burke has the kicking skills – as evidenced by his 18-point haul against Dungannon – to punish any Lansdowne indiscretions.
* There will be a minute’s silence held before the match to honour the passing of Moss.
Last Season’s Meetings – Lansdowne were in Division 2
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win by 6-10 points