There are four intriguing ties in prospect in All-Ireland League Division 1B this Saturday as the in-form Bruff and Dungannon face off, Buccaneers and Galwegians meet in a Connacht derby, the high-flying Clontarf and Lansdowne battle it out in the capital and bottom side UCC entertain UL Bohemians.
ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, November 27
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
BRUFF (5th) v DUNGANNON (3rd), Kilballyowen Park
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Bruff: LLWWW; Dungannon: LLWWW
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Bruff: Points: Brian Cahill 52; Tries: Cathal O’Regan 2; Dungannon: Points: Paddy Jackson 65; Tries: Craig Gilroy 4
Preview: A hugely competitive game in prospect. Both sides are flying high after some very good recent form.
Dungannon lie in third spot having followed their victory over Clontarf by beating Lansdowne at home. Ireland Under-20 prospect Paddy Jackson again proved his worth by landing the match-winning drop goal in injury-time.
But Bruff were equally impressive in winning their third match on the trot by beating Galwegians at Crowley Park. They will be hoping that home advantage proves the difference.
Last Season’s Meetings – Bruff were in Division 2
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dungannon to win by 6-10 points
BUCCANEERS (2nd) v GALWEGIANS (7th), Dubarry Park
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Buccaneers: WWLWW; Galwegians: WLLLL
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Buccaneers: Points: David Connellan 25; Tries: John O’Brien, Kolo Kiripati, Brian Tuohy 3 each; Galwegians: Points: John Cleary 42; Tries: Ja Naughton 2
Preview: Buccaneers’ form to date suggests that they should be strong favourites in this Connacht derby.
They produced a huge performance to trounce UL Bohemians 26-3. It left them top of the table, only for Clontarf to overtake them the following day with a bonus point victory over UCC.
Galwegians, by comparision, have had a disappointing time to date, winning just once. They will have to be at their clinical best to get a result here.
Last Season’s Meetings – Saturday, October 31, 2009: Buccaneers 15 Galwegians 8, Dubarry Park; Saturday, January 23, 2010: Galwegians 12 Buccaneers 11, Crowley Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Buccaneers to win by 6-10 points
CLONTARF (1st) v LANSDOWNE (4th), Castle Avenue
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Clontarf: WWWLW; Lansdowne: LWLWL
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Noel Reid 43; Tries: Michael Keating 3; Lansdowne: Points: Eoghan Hickey 79; Tries: Shane Gahan 3
Preview: There is every reason to hope for an exciting and close match as Clontarf strive to stay top of the table.
Although they have failed to win any of their three away matches to date, Lansdowne respresent very tough opposition. They lie fourth in the table by virtue of two huge home wins and picking up four bonus points.
But they will have to start winning away from their artificial surface at the Aviva Stadium and that will be extremely difficult at Castle Avenue. Bernard Jackman’s side have enough quality to prevail here.
Last Season’s Meetings – Clontarf were in Division 1A and Lansdowne were in Division 2
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win by 6-10 points
UCC (8th) v UL BOHEMIANS (6th), the Mardyke
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – UCC: WLLLL; UL Bohemians: LWWLL
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCC: Points: Andrew Burke 37; Tries: Brian Derham, John Ryan 2 each; UL Bohemians: Points: JJ Hanrahan 23; Tries: Tommy O’Donnell 2
Preview: UCC, who have lost four matches on the bounce, will take some encouragement from an improved effort against Clontarf last time out in the league.
They take on a UL Bohs outfit which has tended to be very erractic to date. The 26-3 defeat to Bruff hardly inspires confidence and they will not be able to call on Barry Murphy and Tommy O’Donnell who are both starting for Munster this weekend.
A win for either side will provide a welcome boost as the Christmas break looms, and place-kickers Andrew Burke and JJ Hanrahan could be called upon to provide the winning points.
Last Season’s Meetings – UL Bohemians were in Division 1A
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UL Bohemians to win by 1-5 points