Old Belvedere and Cork Constitution will be aiming to maintain their winning ways but will there be a top spot swap again? There is also the not so small matter of a Dublin derby at Templeville Road and a Limerick derby at Tom Clifford Park.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, February 26
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
CORK CONSTITUTION (2nd) v GARRYOWEN (8th), Temple Hill
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Cork Constitution: WWWWLDWWLWW; Garryowen: LLWLLDLWLLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Richie Lane 67; Tries: Brian Hayes 4; Garryowen: Points: Declan Cusack 64; Tries: Ronan O’Mahony 3
Preview: Bottom of the table Garryowen are going to have to improve a lot if they are to gain an upset victory over high flying Cork Constitution.
Earlier this season the Limerick outfit managed a home draw with their Munster rivals. But their more recent form, particularly when losing to St. Mary’s last weekend, has not been good.
Cork Con, by contrast, already look in prime position to secure a play-off spot. Skipper Frank Cogan, who was in man-of-the-match form against Dolphin last Saturday, continues to lead by example and is a real contender for the Ulster Bank Club International series.
Most Recent Meetings – Saturday, October 31, 2009: Cork Constitution 17 Garryowen 13, Temple Hill; Saturday, January 23, 2010: Garryowen 6 Cork Constitution 6, Dooradoyle; Saturday, November 27, 2010: Garryowen 11 Cork Constitution 11, Dooradoyle
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win by 6-10 points
OLD BELVEDERE (1st) v DOLPHIN (5th), Anglesea Road
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Old Belvedere: WLWWWWWLWLW; Dolphin: WLLLWLLWWLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Old Belvedere: Points: Conal Keane 67; Tries: Daniel Riordan 6; Dolphin: Points: Barry Keeshan 114; Tries: Eric Moloney, Christy Condon 2 each
Preview: Old Belvedere are due a decent home performance after struggling to a victory over Blackrock College and then losing to Young Munster at Anglesea Road.
It does, however, appear that they returned to something like their best form when beating Shannon away. Winger David Mongan and Daniel Riordan at full-back continue to be among the best finishers in the competition.
Dolphin are capable of being tough opponents. They have a decent pack and captain Barry Keeshan is sure to take advantage of most of the goal-kicking chances that come his way.
Most Recent Meeting – Saturday, November 27, 2010: Dolphin 15 Old Belvedere 18, Musgrave Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Old Belvedere to win by 6-10 points
ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (3rd) v BLACKROCK COLLEGE (7th), Templeville Road
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – St. Mary’s College: LLWWWWLWLWW; Blackrock College: LWLWWLLLLWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – St. Mary’s College: Points: Gavin Dunne 84; Tries: Darren Hudson 7; Blackrock College: Points: Rob Keogh 64; Tries: Rob Keogh 3
Preview: The battle of the Holy Ghosts is always worth turning out for and Templeville Road has seen some good crowds this season thanks to trojan work by the club.
It is absolutely vital for St. Mary’s play-off ambitions that they secure a victory. Anthing less and Young Munster could be right at their heels.
But St. Mary’s played really well to demolish Garryowen last Saturday and a repeat effort should see them home. They have plenty of finishing power with young winger Darren Hudson adding to his growing reputation.
Blackrock have not enjoyed much luck recently, losing out narrowly to Young Munster in their most recent outing. They showed great spirit but lacked the necessary cutting edge behind the scrum.
Most Recent Meetings – Saturday, December 5, 2009: St. Mary’s College 25 Blackrock College 3, Templeville Road; Saturday, March 6, 2010: Blackrock College 9 St. Mary’s College 26, Stradbrook; Saturday, November 27, 2010: Blackrock College 18 St. Mary’s College 21, Stradbrook
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: St. Mary’s College to win by 1-5 points
YOUNG MUNSTER (4th) v SHANNON (6th), Tom Clifford Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Young Munster: WWLLLLWLWWW; Shannon: LWLLLWWLWLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Alan Kingsley 107; Tries: Matthew Costelloe 3; Shannon: Points: Tadhg Bennett 50; Tries: David Quinlan 4
Preview: Young Munster are hoping to continue their recent impressive run which has seen them get within touching distance of the play-offs.
Last weekend in their 13-11 victory over Blackrock, they were not at their best but still managed to dig out a victory. It helps when you have a place-kicker of the calibre of Alan Kingsley and such a strong defence.
Shannon, for their part, have been very inconsistent. Their form has been disappointing recently but this is a Limerick derby and anything can happen.
It will be pretty vocal at Tom Clifford Park on Saturday afternoon despite the fact that the Cookies will not have Paul O’Connell in their ranks for this one.
Most Recent Meeting – Friday, November 26, 2010: Shannon 18 Young Munster 17, Thomond Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win by 6-10 points