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Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

New leaders Belfast Harlequins face a tough trip to Dungannon in the latest round of action in Division 1B. Buccaneers and Ballymena are poised to take advantage if ‘Quins slip up, while lowly Bruff and UCC need to make home advantage count against UCD and Ballynahinch respectively.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, February 11

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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BRUFF (9th) v UCD (7th), Kilballyowen Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Bruff: LWLLLLWLWLL; UCD: LWLWDLWDLWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Bruff: Points: Brian Cahill 55; Tries: John Shine 4; UCD: Points: Niall Earls 93; Tries: Sam Coghlan Murray, David Lynch 3 each

Preview: A lot at stake for second-from-bottom Bruff but UCD will also be keen to secure a victory in order to stay clear of the relegation zone.

The students came within a whisker of upsetting Buccaneers last weekend, only going down 16-15 to a late try. They will be looking for a repeat effort.

But Bruff also showed signs of an improvement when losing 17-8 away at Ballymena and will surely feel that home advantage should give them an edge. Likely to be a very close encounter.

Most Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 31, 2009: Bruff 24 UCD 12, Kilballyowen Park; Saturday, October 29, 2011: UCD 21 Bruff 8, Belfield

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

BUCCANEERS (2nd) v UL BOHEMIANS (6th), Dubarry Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Buccaneers: WWWWWLWLWLW; UL Bohemians: LWWLWLLWLWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Buccaneers: Points: Jack Carty 86; Tries: John O’Brien, Paul Harte, Shane Layden 3 each; UL Bohemians: Points: JJ Hanrahan 94; Tries: Ben Martin 3

Preview: Interesting match between second-placed Buccaneers and the much-improved UL Bohemians outfit.

Buccaneers will be concious that a few weeks back UL Bohs travelled north to upset Dungannon away. So, they are not to be taken lightly.

That said, Buccaneers will start favourites on the basis that they tend to be extremely hard to beat at Dubarry Park. In captain Kolo Kiripati they will also boast a potential match winner.

Most Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 19, 2011: Buccaneers 11 UL Bohemians 18, Dubarry Park; Saturday, October 29, 2011: UL Bohemians 8 Buccaneers 12, Annacotty

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

DUNGANNON (5th) v BELFAST HARLEQUINS (1st), Stevenson Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Dungannon: WLLWLWLWWLD; Belfast Harlequins: WLWLWWLWWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Dungannon: Points: Michael Lawton 46; Tries: Chris Cochrane 9; Belfast Harlequins: Points: Michael Heaney 62; Tries: Neil McComb 4

Preview: Fifth against first, but there are only four points between them. Hard to know quite what to expect from Dungannon, their backs can be brilliant.

Last weekend they relied on a late try to get a 22-22 draw with another of the leading contenders, Ballynahinch. This Ulster derby could be every bit as exciting.

Belfast Harlequins will, no doubt, again look to Ian Porter for inspiration. He rarely seems to miss with the boot.

Most Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 6, 2007: Belfast Harlequins 6 Dungannon 23, Deramore Park; Saturday, October 29, 2011: Belfast Harlequins 15 Dungannon 27, Deramore Park

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

GALWEGIANS (8th) v BALLYMENA (3rd), Crowley Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Galwegians: LLLLWWWLLWL; Ballymena: WLWWDWWLLWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Galwegians: Points: Tadhg Leader 69; Tries: Barry Lee, John Cleary, Tadhg Leader, Ivan Muldoon 3 each; Ballymena: Points: John Semple 57; Tries: Richard Aingworth 4

Preview: Dangerous fixture for third-placed Ballymena. Galwegians are quite capable of turning over the best of outfits on their home ground.

They gave a good account of themselves away to Belfast Harlequins last time out. So, Ballymena will know they have a real match on their hands.

It might depend who they can call on. Centre Luke Marshall proved the difference against Bruff, scoring a crucial try.

Most Recent League Meetings – Saturday, March 6, 2010: Galwegians 17 Ballymena 16, Crowley Park; Saturday, October 29, 2011: Ballymena 32 Galwegians 19, Eaton Park

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

UCC (10th) v BALLYNAHINCH (4th), the Mardyke

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – UCC: LLLLLLLWLLL; Ballynahinch: WWWWLWLDWLD
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – UCC: Points: Brian Kingston 67; Tries: Brian O’Callaghan 3; Ballynahinch: Points: James Lash 87; Tries: James Thompson, David Nicholson 5 each

Preview: On paper, this would seem to be pretty straightforward for one of the front-running teams, Ballynahinch. In reality, it may not be so.

While UCC are bottom of the table, with just one victory ot their credit, they are well capable of rasing their game. That one victory came against high-flying Buccaneers at the Mardyke.

That said, Ballynahinch should secure a victory, providing they perform close to their best.

Most Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 20, 2010: UCC 32 Ballynahinch 10, the Mardyke; Saturday, October 29, 2011: Ballynahinch 31 UCC 11, Ballymacarn Park

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

Related Links –

Ulster Bank League Tables