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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Two games in the top flight of the Ulster Bank League this weekend and one of them could be crucial in terms of the relegation battle as Shannon travel to St. Mary’s College.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, April 6

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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CLONTARF (2nd) v DOLPHIN (5th), Castle Avenue

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Clontarf: LLWWLWWLWLWWWWL; Dolphin: LWWWLLWLLLLWWWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Richie Lane 125; Tries: Michael McGrath 11; Dolphin: Points: Barry Keeshan 150; Tries: James Kiernan 4

Preview: After losing out narrowly to Lansdowne in last weekend’s televised clash, Clontarf will now be keen to secure second spot. A victory in this rearranged home fixture against Dolphin would be a major help in doing so.

Despite their respective defeats last weekend, both teams are in good form. Clontarf deserve huge credit for the way they came back against Lansdowne after going 14-3 down and they could so easily have secured a draw.

For their part, Dolphin are probably still wondering how they let their game against Cork Constitution slip. Ahead by 14 points at the interval, they lost out to an injury-time try.

Dolphin are a very decent side, lying in fifth spot in the table, so there is unlikely to be much in it. When the two sides met at Musgrave Park back in November, Clontarf just managed to win 20-18.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 4, 2012: Clontarf 32 Dolphin 23, Castle Avenue; Saturday, November 17, 2012: Dolphin 18 Clontarf 20, Musgrave Park

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

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (8th) v SHANNON (9th), Templeville Road

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – St. Mary’s College: WLLLLWLWLWWWWLL; Shannon: LLLLLLLWLWLWWLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – St. Mary’s College: Points: Gavin Dunne 110; Tries: Matthew D’Arcy 4; Shannon:
Points: Rob Guerin 92; Tries: John Shine, James Loxton 4 each

Preview: There will be an awful lot at stake in this second rearranged game at Templeville Road. Shannon are second last with St. Mary’s College just one place, and five points, above them.

It is hard to believe that St. Mary’s should find themselves in such a situation given that they proved good enough to beat Clontarf twice.

At their best they are clear a useful side but they have allowed things to slide, losing out to Old Belvedere last weekend.

Head coach Hugh Hogan will appreciate that they will need to lift their form considerably as Shannon are one of the most improved sides in the league. It is not so long ago that they were given no chances of surviving in the top division.

But they have turned things around, with Marcus Horan back featuring in the front row. Last Friday night’s victory over Garryowen was an encouraging result and, significantly, half-backs Rob Guerin and Tadhg Bennett seem to be performing very well.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 18, 2012: St. Mary’s College 24 Shannon 12, Templeville Road; Sunday, November 18, 2012: Shannon 3 St. Mary’s College 10, Coonagh

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: St. Mary’s College to win by 1-5 points