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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Two mouth-watering Dublin derby clashes are top of the bill in Division 1A this weekend, with Friday Night Lights action at both Castle Avenue and Anglesea Road. Elsewhere, Limerick bragging rights will be on the line when Young Munster host Shannon on Saturday.


Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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CLONTARF (1st) v LANSDOWNE (5th), Castle Avenue, Friday, October 28, 7.30pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Clontarf: WWW; Lansdowne: LWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Richie Lane 35; Tries: Barry O’Mahony, Dermot O’Meara, Daragh O’Shea 1 each; Lansdowne: Points: Craig Ronaldson 39; Tries: Cian Aherne, Sean Carey, Craig Ronaldson, Kieran Essex 1 each

Preview: Clontarf make their ‘Friday Night Lights’ debut at home against Lansdowne this week. The table toppers started with a big win over Blackrock College and followed that with two narrow victories over Young Munster and Garryowen.

Lansdowne have already played a floodlit game this season and so may be better attuned to the requirements. They have recovered well from their opening day loss to Cork Constitution and will be hoping to add another Dublin scalp to that of St. Mary’s and Old Belvedere.

There should be a big crowd at the north Dublin venue for this Friday Night Lights clash and it could be a cracking game.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 27, 2010: Clontarf 25 Lansdowne 18, Castle Avenue; Saturday, February 26, 2011: Lansdowne 16 Clontarf 23, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win by 1-5 points

OLD BELVEDERE (9th) v BLACKROCK COLLEGE (10th), Anglesea Road, Friday, October 28, 7.30pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Old Belvedere: LLL; Blackrock College: LLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Old Belvedere: Points: Conal Keane 22; Tries: Henry Bryce 2; Blackrock College: Points: Conal Keane 19; Tries: Andrew Letham, Jan-Simon Byrne 1 each

Preview: Anglesea Road is no stranger to floodlit action and the hope is that ‘Friday Night Lights’ would become a regular fixture at this venerable ground.

The match itself is an interesting one as both teams are struggling for different reasons. The reigning champions must be worried with only three losing bonus points to their credit.

Blackrock College, on the other hand, will be hoping to put ‘off field’ difficulties behind them and pick up their first win of the campaign.

‘Belvo still look likely to improve on their recent form and will be keen to take the spoils in this ‘Old Boys’ encounter.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 23, 2010: Blackrock College 20 Old Belvedere 29, Stradbrook; Saturday, February 5, 2011: Old Belvedere 10 Blackrock College 9, Anglesea Road

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Old Belvedere to win by 6-10 points

CORK CONSTITUTION (4th) v GARRYOWEN (6th), Temple Hill

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Cork Constitution: WLW; Garryowen: LWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Gerry Hurley 25; Tries: Brian Hayes, Niall O’Driscoll 2 each; Garryowen: Points: Declan Cusack 27; Tries: Conan Doyle, Alan Gaughan, Ronan O’Mahony 1 each

Preview: Everything suggests that Cork Constitution are going to remain a force in the top division despite the loss of some of their top players.

So far, their only setback has been a narrow home loss to Shannon, a match they could very easily have won. They responded with an excellent 17-10 away success over Dolphin with centre Niall O’Driscoll grabbing two tries.

That moved them up to fourth in the table and the supporters will be optimistic of another success this weekend when the Trevor Barry Cup will be on offer. But they would be unwise to underestimate Garryowen.

Although they have lost two out of three, Garryowen have played some very decent rugby. They will be looking for a repeat of their last away outing, when they were very impressive in beating Old Belvedere.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 27, 2010: Garryowen 11 Cork Constitution 11, Dooradoyle; Saturday, February 26, 2011: Cork Constitution 11 Garryowen 11, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win by 6-10 points

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (8th) v DOLPHIN (7th), Templeville Road

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – St. Mary’s College: WLL; Dolphin: LWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – St. Mary’s College: Points: Gavin Dunne 33; Tries: Matt D’Arcy, Gavin Dunne, Rob Sweeney 1 each; Dolphin: Points: Barry Keeshan 20; Tries: Eric Moloney 2

Preview: What is wrong with St. Mary’s at the moment? After beating Garryowen away first time out, they have gone down to disappointing defeats to Lansdowne and Shannon.

They seem to be relying far too much on the goal-kicking of Gavin Dunne. It is time for them to demonstrate their ability to score tries, something which is not normally a problem for them.

Dolphin, of course, also have one of the best place-kickers around in Barry Keeshan. Even the presence of Munster and Ireland scrum half Tomas O’Leary was not enough to bring them victory over arch rivals Cork Constitution.

Both teams are locked together in the bottom half of the table on six points with one win out of three. Home advantage should make St. Mary’s slight favourites.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 30, 2010: Dolphin 9 St. Mary’s College 10, Musgrave Park; Saturday, February 12, 2011: St. Mary’s College 29 Dolphin 10, Templeville Road

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: St. Mary’s College to win by 6-10 points

YOUNG MUNSTER (3rd) v SHANNON (2nd), Tom Clifford Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Young Munster: WLW; Shannon: WWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Willie Staunton 50; Tries: Matthew Costelloe 2; Shannon: Points: Gareth Quinn McDonogh 36; Tries: Luke O’Dea 1

Preview: A cracking local derby in prospect at Tom Clifford Park between third-placed Young Munster and second-from-top Shannon.

Shannon, who only trail leaders Clontarf on points difference, have had an exceptional start. Victories over Cork Constitution and St. Mary’s speak for themselves.

They will be looking for Gareth Quinn McDonogh to maintain his excellent form with the boot. But Willie Staunton has been in equally good form for Young Munster.

He gave a a man-of-the-match performance in helping the Cookies put 37 points on Blackrock College. Saturday afternoon’s result could well depend on Quinn McDonogh and Staunton’s respective displays.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, November 26, 2010: Shannon 18 Young Munster 17, Thomond Park; Saturday, February 26, 2011: Young Munster 16 Shannon 3, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win by 1-5 points

Related Links –

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 2A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 2B Previews