Can Clontarf’s Cork brigade power them to another league victory? Can Old Belvedere bounce back from their opening weekend defeat to Young Munster? Find out in our Ulster Bank League Division 1A previews.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, October 8
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
CLONTARF (1st) v YOUNG MUNSTER (4th), Castle Avenue
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Clontarf: W; Young Munster: W
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Richie Lane 15; Tries: Barry O’Mahony, Dermot O’Meara, Daragh O’Shea 1 each; Young Munster: Points: Willie Staunton 18; Tries: Ray Moloney 1
Preview: An interesting meeting of two beaten semi-finalists from last season who both won last week. Clontarf were particularly impressive in beating Blackrock College 30-6.
Although Young Munster required a last-minute try to beat Old Belvedere, it was also a very useful victory. Willie Staunton more than made up for the departure of Alan Kingsley to Australia by landing six penalties.
So, this is a stern test for the Clontarf side, dubbed ‘Contarf’ following the arrival of Frank Cogan and Richie Lane to join their former Cork Con team-mate Evan Ryan. But the Castle Avenue club will still go into the match as favourites to record a second win.
Most Recent League Meetings – Saturday, March 16, 2002: Clontarf 37 Young Munster 10, Castle Avenue; Saturday, October 25, 2008: Young Munster 0 Clontarf 7, Tom Clifford Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win by 6-10 points
CORK CONSTITUTION (2nd) v SHANNON (5th), Temple Hill
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Cork Constitution: W; Shannon: W
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Gerry Hurley 18; Tries: -; Shannon: Points: Gareth Quinn McDonogh 15; Tries: –
Preview: After all the talk about the loss of many of their top players, Cork Constitution turned in a quality display to see off Lansdowne on the back pitch at the Aviva Stadium first time out.
They remain pretty competitive. Crucially, they are still able to call on the services of one of the best place-kickers around in Gerry Hurley, while Brian O’Hara, a son of former Ireland international Pat, made a big impression in the back row against Lansdowne.
Shannon, no doubt, will provide a sterner test. They did well to edge out Dolphin last week and like Constitution, have a very good kicker in Gareth Quinn McDonogh.
Most Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 30, 2010: Shannon 20 Cork Constitution 26, Coonagh; Saturday, February 12, 2011: Cork Constitution 17 Shannon 0, Temple Hill
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win by 1-5 points
DOLPHIN (6th) v BLACKROCK COLLEGE (10th), Musgrave Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Dolphin: L; Blackrock College: L
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Dolphin: Points: Eric Moloney 10; Tries: Eric Moloney 2; Blackrock College: Points: Darragh Fitzpatrick 6; Tries: –
Preview: Both sides are hoping to avoid a second defeat. On the evidence of the opening weekend, Dolphin would seem to be in the better position.
Whereas they lost out narrowly (21-18) to Shannon, Blackrock were well beaten at home by Clontarf. It does appear that Blackrock’s new head coach Eric Miller has a tough job on his hands.
He should find out a bit more about his team against a Dolphin outfit that has one of the best half-backs around in Barry Keeshan. His presence and the fact that they are at home suggests a Dolphin victory.
Most Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 9, 2010: Dolphin 16 Blackrock College 21, Musgrave Park; Saturday, January 29, 2011: Blackrock College 16 Dolphin 32, Stradbrook
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dolphin to win by 6-10 points
OLD BELVEDERE (8th) v GARRYOWEN (7th), Anglesea Road
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Old Belvedere: L; Garryowen: L
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Old Belvedere: Points: Conal Keane 14; Tries: Kevin Buckley 1; Garryowen: Points: Declan Cusack 9; Tries: –
Preview: Two good sides who lost close encounters in the opening week. Holders Old Belvedere will be particularly keen to make up for their last-minute defeat to Young Munster.
They are going to be very hard to beat at Anglesea Road. Although they have lost some players from last season, director of rugby Phil Werahiko still has plenty of talent to call on.
Garryowen probably did not do themselves justice when going under narrowly in difficult conditions at home to St. Mary’s College. They have plenty of ability behind the scrum, with Declan Cusack the key figure, and represent dangerous opposition.
Most Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 8, 2011: Old Belvedere 24 Garryowen 3, Anglesea Road; Saturday, March 26, 2011: Garryowen 13 Old Belvedere 3, Dooradoyle
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Old Belvedere to win by 6-10 points
ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (3rd) v LANSDOWNE (9th), Templeville Road
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – St. Mary’s College: W; Lansdowne: L
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – St. Mary’s College: Points: Gavin Dunne 8; Tries: Matt D’Arcy 1; Lansdowne: Points: Craig Ronaldson 9; Tries: –
Preview: The odds must heavily favour St. Mary’s College following their opening away success over Garryowen.
Importantly, they have plenty of experience, an ingredient lacking in a very young Lansdowne outfit. Coach Mike Ruddock, however, believes his team learned a good deal from their opening defeat by Cork Constitution.
Out-half Craig Ronandson’s contribution is going to be vital. He started really well against Constitution, kicking three penalties, but subsequently found the going much more difficult.
Most Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 14, 2006: Lansdowne 34 St. Mary’s College 18, Lansdowne Road back pitch; Saturday, February 16, 2008: St. Mary’s College 13 Lansdowne 9, Templeville Road
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: St. Mary’s College to win by 6-10 points
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