Table toppers Clontarf face a tough trip to Dungannon, while second-placed UL Bohemians are also on the road to bottom side Bruff. A busy Saturday’s action awaits in Division 1B of the All-Ireland League.
ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, October 30
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
BRUFF (8th) v UL BOHEMIANS (2nd), Kilballyowen Park
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Bruff: LLW; UL Bohemians: LWW
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Bruff: Points: Brian Cahill 29; Tries: Cathal O’Regan, Alfie Laffan, Peter Malone 1 each; UL Bohemians: Points: JJ Hanrahan 12; Tries: Tommy O’Donnell 2
Preview: This has all the makings of a cracking match, particularly after Bruff got their season going with an away success over UCC last weekend.
But the Limerick men still lie bottom of the table and will be up against a Bohemians side which has been in great form in their most recent matches.
Bohs’ victory over Lansdowne moved them up to second spot in the table and showed that Ian Costello’s charges can be live contenders in this division.
It will be interesting to see if the fit-again Barry Murphy is involved again. He scored a crucial try against Lansdowne last Saturday, but is on the replacements bench for Munster on Friday night.
Last Season’s Meetings – Bruff were in Division 2
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UL Bohemians to win by 6-10 points
BUCCANEERS (3rd) v UCC (7th), Dubarry Park
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Buccaneers: WWL; UCC: WLL
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Buccaneers: Points: John O’Brien 15; Tries: John O’Brien 3; UCC: Points: Andrew Burke 29; Tries: Olan Dennehy, Willie Walsh, John Ryan, Andrew Cudmore, James Ryan, Brian Derham 1 each
Preview: Buccaneers will be fancied to get back to winning ways after a good start which has seen them win two of their first three league matches, under head coach Hendre Marnitz.
Although they went down 25-15 to Clontarf last Saturday, the Connacht outfit put up a very decent performance with in-form full-back John O’Brien showing well in defence and attack.
Unfortunately, UCC have stumbled somewhat, conceding over 60 points to Lansdowne and then losing at home to Bruff. They boast a quality place-kicker in Andrew Burke, but this one is likely to be decided by the packs and the Pirates look to have the edge.
Last Season’s Meetings – Saturday, December 12, 2009: UCC 25 Buccaneers 6, the Mardyke; Saturday, March 27, 2010: Buccaneers 18 UCC 11, Dubarry Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Buccaneers to win by 6-10 points
DUNGANNON (4th) v CLONTARF (1st), Stevenson Park
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Dungannon: LLW; Clontarf: WWW
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Dungannon: Points: Paddy Jackson 34; Tries: Craig Gilroy 3; Clontarf: Points: Noel Reid 29; Tries: Sam Cronin, Michael Keating 2 each
Preview: So far everthing has gone right for Clontarf. They currently lead the table by four points and it will come as a surprise if Dungannon can halt their progress.
Still, the Tyrone side did record a 26-25 away success over Galwegians last time out. So, Clontarf would be unwise to underrate Justin Fitzpatrick’s men, especially with finishers of the calibre of Chris Cochrane and Craig Gilroy in their line-up.
Michael Keating, who was down in Limerick training with the Ireland squad this week, will look to convert ‘Tarf’s chances out wide, while the out-half battle between youngsters Paddy Jackson and Noel Reid is sure to be a fascinating one.
Last Season’s Meetings – Clontarf were in Division 1A
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win by 1-5 points
LANSDOWNE (5th) v GALWEGIANS (6th), Aviva Stadium
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Lansdowne: LWL; Galwegians: WLL
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Eoghan Hickey 41; Tries: Shane Gahan, John Cooney, Matt Healy 2 each; Galwegians: Points: John Cleary 30; Tries: Ja Naughton 2
Preview: It is hard to know what to expect from this powerful Lansdowne squad. One week they put 61 points on UCC, the next they cannot manage a single try away to UL Bohemians. A poor first half let them down at Thomond Park, and a much better display is expected here.
It will be a surprise if they do not return to winning form. In fact, Galwegians could be in for a hard day against a Lansdowne side determined to prove a point.
‘Wegians have been reliant on full-back and captain John Cleary for most of their points so far this season, and their defence will have to tighten up if they are to get a result here.
Last Season’s Meetings – Lansdowne were in Division 2
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win by 1-5 points