Something has got to give at Dubarry Park on Saturday as the top two sides in Division 1B, second-placed Buccaneers and pacesetters Ballynahinch, put their unbeaten records on the line. Tonight Bruff will entertain UL Bohemians in a floodlit Limerick derby at Kilballyowen Park.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, November 5
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
BRUFF (8th) v UL BOHEMIANS (5th), Kilballyowen Park, Friday, November 4, 6.30pm
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Bruff: LWLL; UL Bohemians: LWWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Bruff: Points: Brian Cahill 27; Tries: John Shine 3; UL Bohemians: Points: JJ Hanrahan 41; Tries: Darren Moroney 2
Preview: Bruff will be hugely motivated to beat local rivals UL Bohemians and put recent defeats to Ballymena and UCD behind them.
Peter Malone’s men have been making poor starts, going behind early on in their matches to date and will need a focused 80-minute performance in order to beat Bohs.
UL have been struggling to score tries and young out-half JJ Hanrahan has been responsible for all but 10 of their points so far in the campaign.
This is likely to be a tight, low-scoring affair with Bruff’s hard-working pack and the class of the Cahill brothers behind the scrum possibly the deciding factors.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 30, 2010: Bruff 14 UL Bohemians 13, Kilballyowen Park; Saturday, February 12, 2011: UL Bohemians 28 Bruff 25, Annacotty
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Bruff to win by 1-5 points
BALLYMENA (3rd) v UCD (7th), Eaton Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Ballymena: WLWW; UCD: LWLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Ballymena: Points: John Semple 27; Tries: Richard Aingworth 3; UCD: Points: Niall Earls 36; Tries: Sam Coghlan Murray 2
Preview: Sure to be a lot tougher for third-placed Ballymena than last weekend’s impressive 32-19 victory over bottom of the table Galwegians.
UCD showed real signs of improvement when beating Bruff at home last time out. They have plenty of pace with Andrew Boyle and Sam Coghlan Murray real threats.
But Ballymena are not short of firepower themselves, having picked up two try-scoring bonus points in their three victories to date. Watch out for their South African centre Richard Aingworth who has made quite an impact since his recent arrival.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 6, 2008: UCD 6 Ballymena 16, Belfield; Saturday, February 26, 2011: UCD 40 Ballymena 24, Belfield
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballymena to win by 6-10 points
BUCCANEERS (2nd) v BALLYNAHINCH (1st), Dubarry Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Buccaneers: WWWW; Ballynahinch: WWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Buccaneers: Points: Jack Carty 21; Tries: Paul Harte, Denis Buckley, Martin Staunton 2 each; Ballynahinch: Points: James Lash 39; Tries: Aaron Ferris 3
Preview: Comfortably the match of the day between second and first respectively in the Division 1B table. Furthermore, they are the only two outfits remaining with a 100% winning record.
So something has to give. Buccaneers, no doubt, will be hoping that the fact that they are playing at Dubarry Park will give them an advantage.
But they are going to have to perform awfully well to defeat a Ballynahinch side that has scored 116 points in winning their four matches to date.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 5, 2009: Buccaneers 9 Ballynahinch 13, Dubarry Park; Saturday, March 6, 2010: Ballynahinch 17 Buccaneers 22, Ballymacarn Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballynahinch to win by 1-5 points
GALWEGIANS (10th) v DUNGANNON (4th), Crowley Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Galwegians: LLLL; Dungannon: WLLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Galwegians: Points: Tadhg Leader 38; Tries: Tadhg Leader 2; Dungannon: Points: Peter Nelson 20; Tries: Chris Cochrane 3
Preview: It is about time that Galwegians got up and running. They lie stranded at the bottom of the table without a single point.
At least they did give their fans some hope by running in three tries against Ballymena but their defence left a lot to be desired. They will need to be a lot more solid if they are to overcome Dungannon.
The Tyrone outfit lie fourth after an excellent 27-15 away victory over Belfast Harlequins. A repeat of that sort of form is going to make them very hard to beat this Saturday.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 23, 2010: Galwegians 25 Dungannon 26, Crowley Park; Saturday, February 5, 2011: Dungannon 21 Galwegians 15, Stevenson Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dungannon to win by 6-10 points
UCC (9th) v BELFAST HARLEQUINS (6th), the Mardyke
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – UCC: LLLL; Belfast Harlequins: WLWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – UCC: Points: Brian Kingston 26; Tries: Brian O’Callaghan, Brian Slater 1 each; Belfast Harlequins: Points: Michael Heaney 29; Tries: Rory Scholes, Richard Lutton, Ian Porter, Michael Allen, Andrew Gillespie, Matt Holmes, Rory Blake-Knox, Alistair Heatlie, Michael Ferguson 1 each
Preview: UCC are another side in the doldrums currently after four straight defeats. Their only consolation is a couple of losing bonus points.
Predictably, they were no match for leaders Ballynahinch last weekend, losing 31-12. But they should have a better chance at home to Belfast Harlequins.
That said, it is not going to be easy. Adam Larkin’s ‘Quins have won two of their four games, a statistic which surely makes them favourites for this tie.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 10, 2007: Belfast Harlequins 13 UCC 20, Deramore Park; Saturday, November 29, 2008: UCC 7 Belfast Harlequins 0, the Mardyke
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Belfast Harlequins to win by 1-5 points
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