Templeville Road, Stradbrook, Dooradoyle and Musgrave Park should be packed out this weekend for some cracking club clashes. Some of the heroes from the recent Ulster Bank Club International matches will be in action and there is matter of the play-offs and relegation to be decided.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, March 26
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
BLACKROCK COLLEGE (5th) v SHANNON (7th), Stradbrook
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Blackrock College: LWLWWLLLLWLW; Shannon: LWLLLWWLWLLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Blackrock College: Points: Rob Keogh 68; Tries: Rob Keogh, Alex Dunlop, Jan-Simon Byrne 3 each; Shannon: Points: Tadhg Bennett 50; Tries: David Quinlan 4
Preview: No doubt, Blackrock College supporters will be hoping for great things after the shock away success over St. Mary’s College last time out.
To go to Templeville Road and win 34-15, scoring five tries with Jan-Simon Byrne getting two of them, was quite a performance. The win saw them jump to fifth in the table, and most importantly move seven points clear of bottom-placed Garryowen.
Shannon, on the other hand, are in second last spot, just three points ahead of their local rivals Garryowen. So, they will be desperate for a victory, and on that basis, look certain to represent dangerous opponents.
Most Recent Meetings – Saturday, November 14, 2009: Blackrock College 15 Shannon 21, Stradbrook; Saturday, February 20, 2010: Shannon 3 Blackrock College 25, Coonagh; Saturday, January 8, 2011: Shannon 38 Blackrock College 22, Stradbrook
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Blackrock College to win by 1-5 points
GARRYOWEN (8th) v OLD BELVEDERE (1st), Dooradoyle
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Garryowen: LLWLLDLWLLLD; Old Belvedere: WLWWWWWLWLWD
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Declan Cusack 64; Tries: Ronan O’Mahony 3; Old Belvedere: Points: Conal Keane 70; Tries: Daniel Riordan 7
Preview: Last against first. On form, Old Belvedere will be expected to get the victory which would assure them of one of the play-off spots.
But the Anglesea Road outfit can take nothing for granted for a number of reasons. The most obvious is that Garryowen are facing a ‘must win’ situation in their bid to stay in the premier division – and we all know how Munster sides trive on adversity.
Old Belvedere will also be aware that Garryowen managed to hold Cork Constitution to a 6-6 draw away from home in their last match. But the fact that the Limerick outfit have a number of players in the Munster squad will not help their cause.
Most Recent Meeting – Saturday, January 8, 2011: Old Belvedere 24 Garryowen 3, Anglesea Road
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Old Belvedere to win by 6-10 points
ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (3rd) v CORK CONSTITUTION (2nd), Templeville Road
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – St. Mary’s College: LLWWWWLWLWWL; Cork Constitution: WWWWLDWWLWWD
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – St. Mary’s College: Points: Gavin Dunne 89; Tries: Darren Hudson 7; Cork Constitution: Points: Richie Lane 67; Tries: Brian Hayes 4
Preview: This repeat of last season’s Division 1 final should be a cracker. St. Mary’s College are now looking over their shoulders with the possibility of Young Munster overtaking them for one of the play-off spots.
Clearly, they can ill-afford to play as they did when losing to Blackrock and with a big crowd expected for Ladies Day, the club’s first team should be primed for a big performance..
There should be a right old battle between Ireland Club International team-mates Frank Cogan and Hugh Hogan in the back row.
Although Constitution will again be without some of their players because of Munster commitments, they are bound to field a strong side in their bid to make sure of a play-off place.
Most Recent Meetings – Saturday, December 12, 2009: Cork Constitution 16 St. Mary’s College 9, Temple Hill; Saturday, March 27, 2010: St. Mary’s College 24 Cork Constitution 20, Templeville Road; Saturday, May 8, 2010: Division 1 final: Cork Constitution 17 St. Mary’s College 10, Dubarry Park (after extra-time); Saturday, January 8, 2011: Cork Constitution 22 St. Mary’s College 17, Temple Hill
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win by 1-5 points
DOLPHIN (6th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (4th), Musgrave Park (Sunday, March 27, 2.30pm)
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Dolphin: WLLLWLLWWLLD; Young Munster: WWLLLLWLWWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Dolphin: Points: Barry Keeshan 130; Tries: Eric Moloney, Christy Condon 2 each; Young Munster: Points: Alan Kingsley 115; Tries: Matthew Costelloe 3
Preview: Young Munster continue their bid to grab the third Division 1A play-off spot with a Sunday away game against Dolphin.
But Dolphin are quite capable of providing very tough opposition. They were, after all, good enough to secure a 16-16 draw away to Old Belvedere with the impressive Barry Keeshan scoring all of the points.
What is more, they may well need a victory to stay clear of relegation trouble. That said, Young Munster, on current form, will go in as favourites.
Most Recent Meeting – Saturday, January 8, 2011: Young Munster 35 Dolphin 0, Tom Clifford Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dolphin to win by 1-5 points
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