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All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

In the third round of All-Ireland League Division 1A, reigning champions Cork Constitution entertain Young Munster in a top of the table clash, Blackrock College take on Old Belvedere in a mouth-watering Dublin derby, and Dolphin and Shannon both face road trips.

ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, October 23

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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BLACKROCK COLLEGE (6th) v OLD BELVEDERE (3rd), Stradbrook

All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Blackrock College: LW; Old Belvedere: WL
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Blackrock College: Points: Rob Keogh 13; Tries: Alex Dunlop, Niall Morris, Andrew Conway, Paul Graham 1 each; Old Belvedere: Points: Andy Dunne 10; Tries: Kieran Hurrell, Richie Leyden 1 each

Preview: A good test here for Old Belvedere following their near miss against the league leaders Cork Constitution.

Blackrock have made a decent start under their new coaching set-up, led by New Zealander Andy Wood. If they make full use of the talents of Ireland Under-20 winger Andrew Conway, they can be very dangerous.

Much depends on whether or not player-coach Andy Dunne is available to Old Belvedere. Strangely, the talented out-half was not used from the start against Cork Con and then picked up a hamstring injury after coming on as a second half replacement.

A tough one to call, given it is still early in the season and the two-week gap between games. ‘Belvo have enough in their armoury to take the match points and get back on the winning trail.

Last Season’s Meetings – Old Belvedere were in Division 1B

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

CORK CONSTITUTION (1st) v YOUNG MUNSTER (2nd), Temple Hill

All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Cork Constitution: WW; Young Munster: WW
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Richie Lane 25; Tries: Darragh Lyons, Frank Cogan, Richie Lane, Stephen Archer 1 each; Young Munster: Points: Alan Kingsley 25; Tries: Darragh O’Neill, Danny Grace 1 each

Preview: First against second in what is the match of the day. As expected, Munster’s Magners League game against Benetton Treviso has robbed Cork Constitution of some key players.

Scott Deasy is in the Munster starting line-up, with Duncan Williams and Peter O’Mahony on the replacements bench. But Cork Con’s strength in depth is such that they will still have a very decent side on duty.

Young Munster, however, must be respected, especially after their victory over St. Mary’s last time out. Cork Con cannot afford to provide an in-form Alan Kingsley with too many place-kicking oportunities. Home advantage and their greater level of experience should see the Leesiders prevail.

Last Season’s Meetings – Young Munster were in Division 1B

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

GARRYOWEN (7th) v DOLPHIN (4th), Dooradoyle

All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Garryowen: LL; Dolphin: WL
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Conor Murray 18; Tries: Robert Meyer 1; Dolphin: Points: Barry Keeshan 22; Tries: James Coughlan, Eric Moloney 1 each

Preview: Big match for Garryowen who lie second-from-bottom in the table, having lost their opening two matches.

Dolphin started well with a 16-9 victory over Shannon but, in the absence of the hugely influential James Coughlan, they suffered a disappointing home defeat to Blackrock College.

Coughlan is again needed by Munster this weekend, so Dolphin must show that they can perform without him.

Garryowen have been very disappointing in their two games to date, and a close, tense match is in prospect with place-kickers Conor Murray and Barry Keeshan set to go head-to-head.

Last Season’s Meetings – Sunday, February 7, 2010: Garryowen 13 Dolphin 12, Dooradoyle; Saturday, February 20, 2010: Dolphin 9 Garryowen 21, Musgrave Park

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

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (8th) v SHANNON (5th), Templeville Road

All-Ireland League Season’s Form – St. Mary’s College: LL; Shannon: LW
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – St. Mary’s College: Points: Ian McKinley 9; Tries: -; Shannon: Points: Gareth Quinn McDonogh 25; Tries: Gareth Quinn McDonogh 1

Preview: Hard to believe that last season’s Division 1 runners-up. St. Mary’s College, are bottom of the table after two defeats.

They are much better than that but the longer the losing run goes on the more the pressure grows. Shannon gave their own confidence an important boost by defeating Garryowen last time out and, as usual, will be very hard to beat.

But St. Mary’s simply cannot afford to lose for a third time. They need to get back to the sort of basics which made them so hard to beat last season, and new head coach Ciaran Potts will have them primed for a big peformance.

Potts’ charges got a boost courtesy of last weekend’s 16-15 Leinster Senior League Cup semi-final victory over Old Belvedere. They would take a similar result here.

Last Season’s Meetings – Saturday, October 10, 2009: Shannon 7 St. Mary’s College 12, Thomond Park; Saturday, January 30, 2010: St. Mary’s College 16 Shannon 27, Templeville Road

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: St. Mary’s College to win by 1-5 points