With just four rounds of regulation matches remaining in Ulster Bank League Division 1A, the action is certainly heating up in the top flight. The current top four sides are all away this Saturday, with the Dolphin v Cork Constitution derby clash sure to draw a big crowd to Musgrave Park.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, February 19
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
BLACKROCK COLLEGE (7th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (4th), Stradbrook
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Blackrock College: LWLWWLLLLW; Young Munster: WWLLLLWLWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Blackrock College: Points: Rob Keogh 58; Tries: Alex Dunlop, Brendan Macken, Rob Keogh 2 each; Young Munster: Points: Alan Kingsley 99; Tries: Darragh O’Neill, Matthew Costelloe, Aaron Carroll 2 each
Preview: Young Munster are very much the form team at present having beaten the two top teams, Cork Constitution and Old Belvedere, in recent weeks.
They have turned their season around to the point that they are now in fourth spot and within range of a possible play-off spot. If Alan Kingsley continues his outstanding place-kicking form, they are still in a chance of making the top three.
But they are unlikely to find it easy against a Blackrock outfit which has shown a much-needed improvement in the last two weeks. After very nearly upsetting Old Belvedere, they moved off the bottom of the table by recording a vital 21-20 away success over fellow strugglers Garryowen.
Most Recent Meeting – Saturday, November 13, 2010: Young Munster 14 Blackrock College 15, Tom Clifford Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win by 1-5 points
DOLPHIN (5th) v CORK CONSTITUTION (1st), Musgrave Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Dolphin: WLLLWLLWWL; Cork Constitution: WWWWLDWWLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Dolphin: Points: Barry Keeshan 103; Tries: Eric Moloney, Christy Condon 2 each; Cork Constitution: Points: Richie Lane 67; Tries: Brian Hayes 4
Preview: Both sides are missing players to the Munster set-up this weekend but Cork Constitution could feel the impact more, given they have so many involved at provincial level. Constitution will be very keen to take revenge for their home defeat to Dolphin earlier this season.
They should manage to do so but nothing can be taken for granted in this derby encounter. Dolphin would like nothing better than to put another one over their Cork rivals.
While they lost out 29-10 to St. Mary’s last weekend, Dolphin tend to be very effective on their home patch. That said, it is hard to go against Cork Con, particularly with Gerry Hurley in such good form with the boot.
Most Recent Meetings – Saturday, October 3, 2009: Dolphin 13 Cork Constitution 12, Musgrave Park; Saturday, April 10, 2010: Cork Constitution 23 Dolphin 13, Temple Hill; Semi-final – Saturday, April 17, 2010: Cork Constitution 31 Dolphin 18, Temple Hill; Saturday, November 13, 2010: Cork Constitution 9 Dolphin 19, Temple Hill
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win by 6-10 points
GARRYOWEN (8th) v ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (3rd), Dooradoyle
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Garryowen: LLWLLDLWLL; St. Mary’s College: LLWWWWLWLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Declan Cusack 64; Tries: Ronan O’Mahony 3; St. Mary’s College: Points: Gavin Dunne 70; Tries: Darren Hudson 6
Preview: After losing at home to Blackrock College, bottom of the table Garryowen badly need a victory.
But they will need to show a considerable improvement if they are to overcome third-placed St. Mary’s. The Dublin outfit played very well, scoring four tries in their victory over Dolphin.
The fact that St. Mary’s lost out to Shannon on their last visit to Limerick will, however, give Garryowen some encouragement. They need a big contribution from their place-kicker Declan Cusack if they are to get back on the winning trail.
Most Recent Meetings – Saturday, October 24, 2009: Garryowen 3 St. Mary’s College 6, Dooradoyle; Saturday, January 16, 2010: St. Mary’s College 14 Garryowen 16, Templeville Road; Saturday, November 13, 2010: St. Mary’s College 29 Garryowen 6, Templeville Road
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win by 1-5 points
SHANNON (6th) v OLD BELVEDERE (2nd), Coonagh
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Shannon: LWLLLWWLWL; Old Belvedere: WLWWWWWLWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Shannon: Points: Tadhg Bennett 50; Tries: David Quinlan 3; Old Belvedere: Points: Conal Keane 57; Tries: Daniel Riordan 5
Preview: Old Belvedere badly need to get back to winning form after their home defeat at the hands of Young Munster.
In truth, they have not played well in their last few games, as they were fortunate to beat Blackrock the week previously. Clearly, the absence of former Leinster winger Simon Keogh has not helped matters.
Shannon, for their part, were hammered 17-0 by Cork Con last Saturday, but they tend to be a different proposition in front of their home fans. So, this promises to be a real test for Old Belvedere.
Most Recent Meeting – Saturday, November 13, 2010: Old Belvedere 38 Shannon 16, Anglesea Road
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Old Belvedere to win by 1-5 points
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