Will Garryowen hang on to their Division 1A status? Or can Buccaneers break the Leinster-Munster hegemony? Find out at Dooradoyle on Saturday afternoon in the Ulster Bank League promotion/relegation play-off.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1 PROMOTION/RELEGATION PLAY-OFF: Saturday, April 16
GARRYOWEN (8th, Division 1A) v BUCCANEERS (3rd, Division 1B), Dooradoyle, 2.30pm
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Garryowen: LLWLLDLWLLLDWL; Buccaneers: WWLWWWWWLLLLLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Declan Cusack 95; Tries: Ronan O’Mahony, Declan Cusack 3 each; Buccaneers: Points: Adam Kennedy 58; Tries: John O’Brien 9
Preview: It has been a tough season for both Garryowen and Buccaneers, but they now have a shot at redemption in this crucial play-off at Dooradoyle.
For Garryowen their status as a Division 1A team is at stake. The Limerick side have struggled to make their mark on the league this year, losing nine league games though they did manage five losing bonus points.
Two draws with defending champions Cork Constitution and a recent victory over semi-finalists Old Belvedere show what they are capable of. Still, it is a far cry from their all conquering 2006/07 campaign when they won virtually every bit of silverware available to them.
Buccaneers, under newly-appointed head coach Hendre Marnitz, enjoyed a good start to this season and seemed a dead cert alongside Clontarf for the automatic promotion spots.
However, a loss of form saw the Pirates end the league phase with six straight defeats. Their winless run included a ‘winner-takes-all’ game against Lansdowne with the Dubliners taking the spoils.
Results elsewhere were kind enough and Buccs held onto third place and a shot at promotion via this play-off.
Saturday is their chance to fly the Connacht flag in the top flight, and they did manage to beat Garryowen in an early season friendly. We can expect a tough, tense game in Limerick with so much at stake.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 16, 2006: Buccaneers 8 Garryowen 6, Dubarry Park; Saturday, October 25, 2008: Garryowen 19 Buccaneers 8, Dooradoyle;
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win by 1-5 points