The match of the day in All-Ireland League Division 1B sees table-topping Clontarf hosting their closest rivals, Buccaneers. Elsewhere, the Mick English Cup will go to the winners of the UL Bohs v Lansdowne clash, while Galwegians and UCC entertain Dungannon and Bruff respectively.
ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, October 23
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
CLONTARF (1st) v BUCCANEERS (2nd), Castle Avenue
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Clontarf: WW; Buccaneers: WW
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Noel Reid 19; Tries: Sam Cronin 2; Buccaneers: Points: Adam Kennedy 11; Tries: John O’Brien 2
Preview: Top of the table Clontarf take on second-placed Buccaneers. No one will be greatly surprised that Clontarf have started so well.
Bernard Jackman’s charges have been enormously impressive to date, comfortably beating Bruff and Galwegians.
They will be fancied to win again on their home track but Buccaneers should provide them with their toughest match to date.
An under-strength Buccs suffered a disappointing Connacht Senior Cup semi-final defeat to Corinthians last weekend, but they showed their potential when beating Lansdowne on the opening day and a repeat performance could see them nick a result here.
Last Season’s Meetings – Clontarf were in Division 1A
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win by 1-5 points
GALWEGIANS (5th) v DUNGANNON (7th), Crowley Park
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Galwegians: WL; Dungannon: LL
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Galwegians: Points: John Cleary 15; Tries: Dave Clarke, Ian Cullinane 1 each; Dungannon: Points: Paddy Jackson 23; Tries: Craig Gilroy, Conor Gaston 2 each
Preview: Galwegians will be hoping that home advantage proves decisive when they take on a Dungannon side seeking their first victory of the league campaign.
Unfortunately, home advantage did not do a lot for Galwegians against the powerful Clontarf outfit two weeks back. They had a facile 47-13 victory over Connemara in the Connacht Senior Cup last weekend, and should have a few contracted players available.
Last Saturday Dungannon made it through to the semi-final stage of the Ulster Senior Cup, beating Ballymena 25-18.
‘Gannon should have a number of players back on board after their involvement in the Ulster Ravens’ British & Irish Cup opener against Swansea, and that could make the difference.
Last Season’s Meetings – Saturday, October 3, 2009: Galwegians 15 Dungannon 13, Crowley Park; Saturday, April 10, 2010: Dungannon 24 Galwegians 15, Stevenson Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Galwegians to win by 1-5 points
UCC (6th) v BRUFF (8th), the Mardyke
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – UCC: WL; Bruff: LL
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCC: Points: Andrew Burke 26; Tries: Olan Dennehy, Willie Walsh, John Ryan, Andrew Cudmore 1 each; Bruff: Points: Brian Cahill 14; Tries: Cathal O’Regan, Alfie Laffan, Peter Malone 1 each
Preview: Things can only get better for UCC after conceding 61 points against Lansdowne last time out. They collapsed in the second half, after taking an early lead with hooker Andrew Cudmore contributing a try.
They, no doubt, will be glad to be back at the Mardyke where they defeated Dungannon in their first outing. Bruff, bottom of the table following two defeats, need to get their act together quickly.
A win for the Limerick men would really boost their confidence after opening defeats to the division’s leading sides, Clontarf and Buccaneers. They have the players to get such a result in Cork, but UCC, with out-half Andrew Burke standing out in a talented back-line, should prevail on the day.
Last Season’s Meetings – Bruff were in Division 2
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCC to win by 1-5 points
UL BOHEMIANS (4th) v LANSDOWNE (3rd), Thomond Park
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – UL Bohemians: LW; Lansdowne: LW
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UL Bohemians: Points: JJ Hanrahan, Stuart O’Flanagan 8 each; Tries: Martin McPhail, Tommy O’Donnell, Kieran Essex, Darren Moroney 1 each; Lansdowne: Points: Eoghan Hickey 32; Tries: Shane Gahan, John Cooney, Matt Healy 2 each
Preview: If they play as they did when scoring eight tries against UCC in their first outing at the Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne are clearly going to take a lot of beating.
It was a great reaction after their surprise opening away defeat to Buccaneers. UL Bohemians are not short of of try scoring potential themselves, so this promises to be a very attractive encounter.
The winners of this tie will lift the Mick English Cup for the first time. This trophy is in memory of Mick who played with great distinction for both clubs. The former Munster, Ireland and Lions player passed away earlier in the year.
Last Season’s Meetings – Lansdowne were in Division 2
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win by 6-10 points