The two most consistent teams in Division 1B will meet at Dubarry Park this Saturday, with Buccaneers bidding to reel leaders Clontarf in. Elsewhere, Bruff entertain UCC, bottom side Galwegian make the trip to Dungannon and UL Bohemians are Aviva Stadium bound to face Lansdowne.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, February 5
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
BRUFF (5th) v UCC (7th), Kilballyowen Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Bruff: LLWWWWLL; UCC: WLLLLWLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Bruff: Points: Brian Cahill 71; Tries: Cathal O’Regan 3; UCC: Points: Andrew Burke 60; Tries: James Ryan 3
Preview: It is vital for Bruff to get their act together again following a couple of league defeats, the most recent of which was a 35-8 hammering by high-flying Buccaneers.
No doubt, their cup exploits has seen them take their eye off the ball. The Limerick side are better than that, but they will be keen to prove themselves again in front of their home supporters.
That said, UCC will be no pushovers. Their 16-11 victory over Lansdowne was the shock result of the day last weekend and marked a massive improvement.
Most Recent Meeting – Saturday, October 23, 2010: UCC 13 Bruff 15, the Mardyke
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Bruff to win by 6-10 points
BUCCANEERS (2nd) v CLONTARF (1st), Dubarry Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Buccaneers: WWLWWWW; Clontarf: WWWLWWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Buccaneers: Points: Adam Kennedy 44; Tries: John O’Brien, Kolo Kiripati 4 each; Clontarf: Points: Noel Reid 58; Tries: Michael Keating 5
Preview: There are not many better matches than this in any of the divisions. Second against first in the table, and a cracking game in prospect.
Clontarf are five points clear but Buccaneers do have a game in hand. Furthermore, Hendre Marnitz’s charges will not be lacking in confidence after putting 35 points on Bruff.
If Buccs can add the scalp of Clontarf, they are indeed worthy contenders for the Division 1B play-off spot. But the north Dubliners remain a very impressive outfit, with players of the calibre of Barry O’Mahony and Ben Gissing in their pack.
Most Recent Meeting – Saturday, October 23, 2010: Clontarf 25 Buccaneers 15, Castle Avenue
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win by 1-5 points
DUNGANNON (6th) v GALWEGIANS (8th), Stevenson Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Dungannon: LLWWWLL; Galwegians: WLLLLLWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Dungannon: Points: Paddy Jackson 70; Tries: Craig Gilroy, Conor Gaston 4 each; Galwegians: Points: John Cleary 42; Tries: Ja Naughton 2
Preview: How Dungannon would love to have their Ireland Under-20 backs Craig Gilroy and Paddy Jackson available for Saturday’s clash.
Justin Fitzpatrick’s men have dropped off badly recently after some good early results. Even so, they will surely start favourites at home against a Galwegians side that lies bottom of the table.
Unlike their Connacht rivals Buccaneers, Galwegians just cannot seem to get going this season. They are struggling for tries and captain John Cleary has accounted for 42 of their 110 points to date.
Most Recent Meetings – Saturday, October 3, 2009: Galwegians 15 Dungannon 13, Crowley Park; Saturday, April 10, 2010: Dungannon 24 Galwegians 15, Stevenson Park; Saturday, October 23, 2010: Galwegians 25 Dungannon 26, Crowley Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dungannon to win by 6-10 points
LANSDOWNE (3rd) v UL BOHEMIANS (4th), Aviva Stadium back pitch
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Lansdowne: LWLWLLWL; UL Bohemians: LWWLLLLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Eoghan Hickey 108; Tries: Matt Healy 4; UL Bohemians: Points: JJ Hanrahan 55; Tries: Martin McPhail 3
Preview: The extraordinary season of Lansdowne continues. Astonishingly, they lie third in the table, despite losing five out of their eight games. The reason is a remarkable seven bonus points.
Willie Clancy’s side remain quite brilliant on the artificial back pitch at the Aviva Stadium and hugely disappointing away.
Everything points to their winning home record continuing on Saturday, although UL Bohemians did produce their best rugby for some time in beating Dungannon 32-22 last weekend.
The winners of the game will lift the Mick English Cup, which is awarded in memory of the former Munster, Ireland and Lions player who lined out with great distinction for both clubs.
Most Recent Meeting – Saturday, October 23, 2010: UL Bohemians 19 Lansdowne 9, Thomond Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win by 6-10 points
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