The Ulster Bank League returns with a full round of matches next weekend, but before that Old Wesley and De La Salle Palmerston will fight it out for Division 2 spoils at Donnybrook, while Highfield and Naas have home advantage in the two Division 3 games down for decision.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: Saturday, January 22
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
Old Wesley (12th) v De La Salle Palmerston (15th), Donnybrook
The only Ulster Bank League match in Dublin this Saturday looks set to be a humdinger, with Old Wesley and De La Salle Palmerston both in desperate need of a lift.
Eric Miller’s Wesley side beat Clonakilty away, back in October, for their only league win to date. DLSP also have a played six, won one and lost five record – they beat Belfast Harlequins at home three months ago.
Last time out, Wesley garnered a losing bonus point, away to Midleton, while ‘Salmo also took a point away from Clonakilty. So. there is not a lot to choose between these teams, with just a point separating them in the league standings.
Wesley were denied in Midleton by a late penalty goal, but are a much tougher proposition at Donnybrook and players of the calibre of Brian Hastings, Ian Cassidy and Greg Jacob should guided them to a long-awaited second victory of the campaign.
Old Wesley will be showing the Ulster and Munster Heineken Cup matches on a big screen in the clubhouse, so you can keep up to date with matters both before and after the ‘main event.’
Highfield (9th) v NUIM Barnhall (11th), Woodleigh Park, 2pm
A gritty mid-table tussle is on the cards at Woodleigh Park this Saturday. Highfield are a point ahead by dint of their draw against Suttonians previously, and face into two league games in the space of six days.
With the bad weather leaving both sides without a Division 3 game since November 27, a victory here could offer a springboard in terms of challenging for promotion.
Highfield, who face Sunday’s Well at Musgrave Park next Friday, also have a slight edge on Barnhall in the ‘points against’ column, having conceded only 86 points to the Leixlip outfit’s 117.
A tough one to call this as Denis Bowes’ Barnhall have shown some good flashes in their three wins to date, while Highfield have been impressive in theirs. Home advantage could be the deciding factor.
Naas (6th) v Nenagh Ormond (8th), Forenaughts
Naas’ three wins so far in Division 3 this season have all come at ‘fortress’ Forenaughts, and another one here would put them right back in the play-off mix.
The Kildare side, who are coached by former Clontarf hooker Niall Carson, began the New Year with an impressive 31-3 victory over Connemara. Number 8 Johnny Holmes scored a hat-trick of tries on the day, and centre Steve Mulhall finished with a brace.
But, on current form, Nenagh Ormond look particularly sharp after starting 2011 with successive home wins over Wanderers (23-16) and Ards (36-5). On their travels earlier in the season, the Tipperary men drew with Suttonians and were eight-point losers to current table toppers Instonians.
Neck on the line time and we are plumping for Nenagh to prevail, some 12 months on from their 32-13 defeat of Naas at New Ormond Park.