A big game on the back pitch at the Aviva Stadium this Saturday as Division 1B leaders Clontarf and their Dublin rivals Lansdowne go head-to-head. Meanwhile, in Limerick, UL Bohemians host UCC in a Munster derby at Thomond Park.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, February 26
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
DUNGANNON (7th) v BRUFF (5th), Stevenson Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Dungannon: LLWWWLLWLL; Bruff: LLWWWWLLWLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Dungannon: Points: Paddy Jackson 70; Tries: Conor Gaston 5; Bruff: Points: Brian Cahill 84; Tries: Cathal O’Regan, Brendan Deady 3 each
Preview: Two teams that have gone off the boil recently. Dungannon are not helped by the continued absence of their talented Ireland Under-20 out-half Paddy Jackson.
Bruff are a decent side but they have lost form since their Munster Senior Cup success and qualification for the Bateman All-Ireland Cup final. Last weekend they appeared to have Galwegians beaten, but lost out to two late tries.
Only two points separate these teams in the table and with relegation on the horizon both sides should be fired up.
Most Recent Meeting – Saturday, November 27, 2010: Bruff 21 Dungannon 10, Kilballyowen Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dungannon to win by 1-5 points
GALWEGIANS (8th) v BUCCANEERS (2nd), Crowley Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Galwegians: WLLLLLWLLLW; Buccaneers: WWLWWWWWLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Galwegians: Points: John Cleary 46; Tries: Ja Naughton 2; Buccaneers: Points: Adam Kennedy 53; Tries: John O’Brien 6
Preview: What has happened to Buccaneers? After beating table toppers Clontarf a few weeks back, they have gone down to two successive defeats.
They badly need to regain their winning touch. Galwegians lie bottom of the table but they did produce their best display for some time by recording an away victory over Bruff.
Buccs need to win to maintain their second place in the standings as Lansdowne and UL Bohemians are waiting to pounce.
Most Recent Meetings – Saturday, October 31, 2009: Buccaneers 15 Galwegians 8, Dubarry Park; Saturday, January 23, 2010: Galwegians 12 Buccaneers 11, Crowley Park; Saturday, November 27, 2010: Buccaneers 16 Galwegians 12, Dubarry Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Buccaneers to win by 1-5 points
LANSDOWNE (3rd) v CLONTARF (1st), Aviva Stadium back pitch
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Lansdowne: LWLWLLWLLWW; Clontarf: WWWLWWWWLWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Eoghan Hickey 144; Tries: Matt Healy 7; Clontarf: Points: Noel Reid 86; Tries: Michael Keating 5
Preview: One of the best matches of the day, in any division. Leaders Clontarf can more or less make certain of a play-off spot with a victory here.
But it will be far from easy against a talented Lansdowne outfit which at last seems to have got their act together.
They have an outstanding finisher in winger Matt Healy, who has lined out for the Ireland Club International side, and are generally very good on the back pitch at the Aviva Stadium.
Watch out for the updates on www.twitter.com/LansdowneFC and maybe a post match tweet from @bernardjackman.
Most Recent Meeting – Saturday, November 27, 2010: Clontarf 25 Lansdowne 18, Castle Avenue
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win by 6-10 points
UL BOHEMIANS (4th) v UCC (6th), Thomond Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – UL Bohemians: LWWLLLLWWWW; UCC: WLLLLWLWLWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – UL Bohemians: Points: JJ Hanrahan 62; Tries: Martin McPhail, Darren Moroney 4 each; UCC: Points: Andrew Burke 69; Tries: James Ryan, Willie Walsh, John Ryan 3 each
Preview: UL Bohemians are in tremendous form at present, their most recent effort seeing them overcome second-placed Buccaneers at Dubarry Park.
They are now up in fourth spot, very much in the shake-up for promotion. But they will need to be at their best against a UCC side that has also strung together some good results recently, and very nearly beat Clontarf last weekend.
Munster are on duty in Italy this weekend so Thomond Park should see a good crowd for this Limerick v Cork clash.
Most Recent Meeting – Saturday, November 27, 2010: UCC 32 UL Bohemians 23, the Mardyke
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UL Bohemians to win by 6-10 points