A big game on the back pitch at the Aviva Stadium as Munster Senior Cup winners Bruff visit Lansdowne. Meanwhile, table toppers Clontarf are on the road to UL Bohemians, while Buccaneers travel to Dungannon and Galwegians host UCC in a ‘must win’ encounter for both sides.
ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, January 8
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
DUNGANNON (4th) v BUCCANEERS (2nd), Stevenson Park (Match postponed due to an unplayable pitch)
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Dungannon: LLWWWL; Buccaneers: WWLWWW
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Dungannon: Points: Paddy Jackson 70; Tries: Craig Gilroy 4; Buccaneers: Points: Adam Kennedy 32; Tries: John O’Brien, Kolo Kiripati, Brian Tuohy 3 each
Preview: A real test for second-placed Buccaneers as they attempt to extend their impressive winning run in the league to four matches.
Dungannon lost out 21-10 away to Bruff last time out but their home form has been very good, with Paddy Jackson and recent Ulster debutant Craig Gilroy top-scoring for them. Clontarf and Lansdowne have been among their victims at Stevenson Park.
So, if Buccaneers can win there, they will show themselves to be a very formidable outfit indeed and will pile the pressure on ‘Tarf at the top of the table.
Last Season’s Meetings – Saturday, November 14, 2009: Dungannon 27 Buccaneers 3, Stevenson Park; Saturday, February 20, 2010: Buccaneers 15 Dungannon 10, Dubarry Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dungannon to win by 1-5 points
GALWEGIANS (8th) v UCC (7th), Crowley Park (Match postponed due to an unplayable pitch)
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Galwegians: WLLLLL; UCC: WLLLLW
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Galwegians: Points: John Cleary 42; Tries: Ja Naughton 2; UCC: Points: Andrew Burke 49; Tries: Brian Derham, James Ryan, John Ryan, Brian O’Callaghan 2 each
Preview: Bottom of the table Galwegians badly need to turn their season around with a home victory.
On the face of it, they would be appear to be in with a reasonable chance against another struggling outfit UCC. The students lie second from bottom, behind UL Bohs on points difference.
But they did show a big improvement to defeat UL Bohs 32-23 in their most recent league outing. That makes them very dangerous opposition.
Last Season’s Meetings – Saturday, October 24, 2009: Galwegians 11 UCC 19, Crowley Park; Saturday, January 16, 2010: UCC 19 Galwegians 13, the Mardyke
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Galwegians to win by 1-5 points
LANSDOWNE (5th) v BRUFF (3rd), Aviva Stadium back pitch
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – Lansdowne: LWLWLL; Bruff: LLWWWW
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Eoghan Hickey 87; Tries: Matt Healy 4; Bruff: Points: Brian Cahill 60; Tries: Cathal O’Regan 3
Preview: One of the games of the day. Bruff are on the crest of a wave at the moment following their success in the ODM Munster Senior Cup final against Garryowen last weekend.
They have also picked up hugely in the All-Ireland League after a disappointing opening. Following four victories, they now lie third, behind Buccaneers and leaders Clontarf.
It is going to be interesting to see how Lansdowne perform. So far they have not been able to produce away, losing four times, but have scored runaway wins in their two matches on the artificial turf back pitch at the Aviva Stadium.
This is a repeat of last season’s Division 2 final which Lansdowne won on a 17-10 scoreline. They also humbled Bruff 15 months ago at Kilballyowen Park.
Last Season’s Meetings – Division 2 – Saturday, October 10, 2009: Bruff 13 Lansdowne 54, Kilballyowen Park; Saturday, May 8, 2010: Division 2 final: Lansdowne 17 Bruff 10, Anglesea Road
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win by 1-5 points
UL BOHEMIANS (6th) v CLONTARF (1st), Annacotty
All-Ireland League Season’s Form – UL Bohemians: LWWLLL; Clontarf: WWWLWW
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UL Bohemians: Points: JJ Hanrahan 31; Tries: Tommy O’Donnell, Martin McPhail 2 each; Clontarf: Points: Noel Reid 53; Tries: Michael Keating 3
Preview: On recent form, league leaders Clontarf will undoubtedly be favourites to win this one. Bernard Jackman’s men have claimed back-to-back wins since losing to Dungannon in late October.
They recorded an impressive 25-18 victory over Lansdowne last time out, while UL Bohs lost 32-23 to UCC in a disappointing display at the Mardyke.
But UL Bohs can certainly raise their game and will be dangerous opponents on home turf here. Clontarf would be very unwise to take anything for granted, but should have enough quality to maintain their position at the top of the table..
Last Season’s Meetings – Division 1A – Saturday, October 24, 2009: UL Bohemians 3 Clontarf 8, Thomond Park; Saturday, January 16, 2010: Clontarf 21 UL Bohemians 12, Castle Avenue
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win by 6-10 points
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