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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

The ‘Friday Night Lights’ action returns to Dooradoyle for a mouth-watering Limerick derby between hosts Garryowen and second-placed Young Munster. Meanwhile on Saturday, there will be some heavyweight Division 1A clashes in Dublin, Cork and Limerick.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, November 5

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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GARRYOWEN (5th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (2nd), Dooradoyle, Friday, November 4, 7.30pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Garryowen: LWLW; Young Munster: WLWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Declan Cusack 27; Tries: Alan Gaughan 2; Young Munster: Points: Willie Staunton 59; Tries: Matthew Costelloe 2

Preview: Young Munster, under the tutelage of player-coach Mike Prendergast, are chasing their third straight league win and will not fear going to Dooradoyle.

At the same venue they were 20-14 winners of a Friday Nights Lights clash which opened the 2010/11 campaign, and they completed the double by beating Garryowen at home 23-18.

At the same time, they have been quite reliant on place-kicker Willie Staunton for most of their scores in recent weeks and Garryowen will be fired up for this derby after claiming the scalp of Cork Constitution last Saturday.

Will the Light Blues, who recently won the Munster Senior Cup, be able to record their first home win at the third attempt? Recent form suggests that the Cookies might just spoil their night under the floodlights.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, October 1, 2010: Garryowen 14 Young Munster 20, Dooradoyle; Saturday, April 2, 2011: Young Munster 23 Garryowen 18, Tom Clifford Park

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

LANSDOWNE (7th) v DOLPHIN (8th), Aviva Stadium back pitch, 2pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Lansdowne: LWWL; Dolphin: LWLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Craig Ronaldson 42; Tries: Matt Healy 2; Dolphin: Points: Barry Keeshan 22; Tries: Eric Moloney 2

Preview: A second successive visit to Dublin for Dolphin. They will clearly be hoping that things go somewhat better than last Saturday’s defeat to St. Mary’s.

In truth, they made many of their own problems in that game, and in their previous defeat to Cork Constitution, by failing to capitalise on some excellent possession. They will need to cut out the basic errors.

Another difficulty is trying to adapt to the artificial surface on the back pitch at the Aviva Stadium. Mike Ruddock’s Lansdowne outfit will have no such problems.

They have done reasonably well to win two out of four. Winger Matt Healy, scorer of two tries in the defeat by Clontarf, is a threat out wide.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 7, 2007: Lansdowne 23 Dolphin 17, Lansdowne Road back pitch; Saturday, December 1, 2007: Dolphin 21 Lansdowne 5, Musgrave Park

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

BLACKROCK COLLEGE (9th) v ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (6th), Stradbrook

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Blackrock College: LLLW; St. Mary’s College: WLLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Blackrock College: Points: Darragh Fitzpatrick 22; Tries: Andrew Letham, Jan-Simon Byrne, Des Dillon, Brendan Macken 1 each; St. Mary’s College: Points: Gavin Dunne 38; Tries: Matt D’Arcy, Gavin Dunne, Rob Sweeney, Ronan Doherty 1 each

Preview: At last Blackrock College are up and running after a dramatic late away victory over Old Belvedere last Friday night.

The return of Brendan Macken and Andrew Conway made a big difference, with Macken scoring a crucial try. The question now is whether Blackrock have what it takes to deliver a second winning performance at home to St. Mary’s?

While St. Mary’s have not set the world alight, they are a pretty decent team. The return of Peter Smyth as head coach has clearly helped matters.

Smyth was particularly pleased with the character shown by his side in edging out Dolphin 15-7 last weekend. He will be looking for more of the same this Saturday.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 27, 2010: Blackrock College 18 St. Mary’s College 21, Stradbrook; Saturday, February 26, 2011: St. Mary’s College 15 Blackrock College 34, Templeville Road

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

CORK CONSTITUTION (4th) v CLONTARF (1st), Temple Hill

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Cork Constitution: WLWL; Clontarf: WWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Gerry Hurley 34; Tries: Brian Hayes, Niall O’Driscoll 2 each; Clontarf: Points: Richie Lane 45; Tries: Barry O’Mahony, Dermot O’Meara, Daragh O’Shea, Jamie Chipman, Noel Reid, Ben Barclay 1 each

Preview: Probably leaders Clontarf’s toughest task to date. So far, they have not put a foot wrong, winning four out of four.

If they can add the scalp of Cork Constitution at Temple Hill, they clearly are going to be genuine contenders to finish top of the table.

On the face of it, Andy Wood’s charges has a real chance against a Cork Con outfit which has been pretty inconsistent to date, losing their two home games.

The fact that Clontarf will include three former Cork Con players in their line-up, Frank Cogan, Richie Lane and Evan Ryan, will add to what promises to a really hard-fought contest. You can catch the highlights on Irish Rugby TV.

Constitution head coach Brian Walsh badly needs his team to score more tries. They could only muster three penalties from Gerry Hurley in last weekend’s home defeat to Garryowen.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 14, 2009: Cork Constitution 21 Clontarf 18, Temple Hill; Saturday, February 20, 2010: Clontarf 18 Cork Constitution 20, Castle Avenue

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

SHANNON (3rd) v OLD BELVEDERE (10th), Coonagh

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Shannon: WWWL; Old Belvedere: LLLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Shannon: Points: Gareth Quinn McDonogh 39; Tries: Luke O’Dea 1; Old Belvedere: Points: Conal Keane 24; Tries: Henry Bryce, Karl Miller 2 each

Preview: Big game for boths teams for very different reasons. After losing for the first time against Young Munster, Shannon badly need to return to winning form to stay up with the top teams.

Old Belvedere, by contrast, are rooted to the bottom of the table with four defeats. Hard to believe that the defending champions should be in such a position.

To be fair, nothing has gone right for them both in terms of injuries and how some of the games have gone. Last weekend’s late 26-23 loss to Blackrock summed up their situation.

Hopefully, they will have Leo Auva’a available as he is not needed by Leinster this week. But they are going to need a much improved overall performance if they are to get that elusive first win.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 13, 2010: Old Belvedere 38 Shannon 16, Anglesea Road; Saturday, February 19, 2011: Shannon 23 Old Belvedere 30, Coonagh

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Old Belvedere 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