The Friday Night Lights basement battle between Dungannon and Malone gets the action underway in Division 1B, with table toppers Terenure’s visit to UL Bohemians being the match of the day on Saturday.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, January 25
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated
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DUNGANNON (10th) v MALONE (9th), Stevenson Park, Friday, January 24, 7.30pm
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Dungannon: LWLLWLLLL; Malone: WLLLLLLLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Dungannon: Points: Peter Nelson 58; Tries: Peter Nelson, Paul Jackson 2 each; Malone: Points: James McKinney 29; Tries: Taylor Acheson 4
Preview: A bottom-of-the-table meeting between these two Ulster rivals. Malone have now lost eight on the trot since beating Dungannon 20-10 in their opening game.
It is hard to understand why it has gone so badly wrong since. There were, however, some badly needed signs of a bit of an improvement when losing 10-3 away to Corinthians last time out.
While Dungannon have managed two victories, they have also gone down to some huge defeats, notably against Terenure. But they do have a potential match wnner in full-back Peter Nelson.
Recent League Meetings – Friday, March 29, 2013: Dungannon 46 Malone 19, Stevenson Park; Saturday, September 28, 2013: Malone 20 Dungannon 10, Gibson Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dungannon to win by 1-5 points
BLACKROCK COLLEGE (7th) v SHANNON (5th), Stradbrook
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Blackrock College: WLLLLWLLL; Shannon: LLWLWLWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Blackrock College: Points: Rob Keogh 48; Tries: Mark Scott-Lennon, Richie Marsh 4 each; Shannon: Points: Tadhg Bennett 58; Tries: David O’Donovan 3
Preview: Much has changed since Blackrock defeated Shannon 23-16 in the opening game of the campaign at Coonagh.
Shannon, after a dreadful start, have regrouped to move up to fifth spot in the table. Their most recent 20-5 success over Dublin University suggests that they are in a good frame of mind right now.
Blackrock, meanwhile, are trying to get over the disappointment of blowing a 21-7 lead against UL Bohemians. Clearly, they will need to defend much better if they are to complete the double against Shannon.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 14, 2012: Shannon 21 Blackrock College 3, Coonagh; Saturday, September 28, 2013: Shannon 16 Blackrock College 23, Thomond Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Shannon to win by 6-10 points
BUCCANEERS (4th) v BELFAST HARLEQUINS (6th), Dubarry Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Buccaneers: WWWWLWWLL; Belfast Harlequins: LLLWWWLLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Buccaneers: Points: Jack Carty 53; Tries: Billy Henshaw 4; Belfast Harlequins: Points: Liam Cambridge 97; Tries: Neil McComb, Ewan Strang, Liam Cambridge 2 each
Preview: Buccaneers badly need a victory in order to stay in the promotion race. They currently lie in fourth spot behind runaway leaders Terenure.
Unsurprisingly, they were unable to stop Terenure at home in their last outing, losing 13-0. But Belfast Harlequins are unlikely to prove nearly as tough.
That said, Buccaneers will not be taking anything for granted. They only won 29-21 at Deramore Park on the opening day of the season and ‘Quins do possess an outstanding goal-kicker in out-half Liam Cambridge.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 6, 2013: Buccaneers 39 Belfast Harlequins 22, Dubarry Park; Saturday, September 28, 2013: Belfast Harlequins 21 Buccaneers 29, Deramore Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Buccaneers to win by 6-10 points
CORINTHIANS (2nd) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (8th), Corinthian Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Corinthians: WWWWWWLWW; Dublin University: LLLLLLWWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Corinthians: Points: Sean O’Hagan 65; Tries: Finn Gormley 3; Dublin University: Points: Conor Kearns 45; Tries: Brian du Toit 3
Preview: Their humiliation at the hands of Terenure College apart, Corinthians have been the model of consistency this season.
They still lie in second spot in the table and will surely fancy their chances of staying there with a second victory over Dublin University. That said, the students have improved quite a bit since losing 25-7 to Corinthians at home at the start of the season.
Two victories have seen them move from the bottom of the table up to third last, but they were decisively beaten 20-5 by Shannon last time out.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 29, 2011: Corinthians 6 Dublin University 9, Corinthian Park; Saturday, September 28, 2013: Dublin University 7 Corinthians 25, Sydney Parade
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Corinthians to win by 6-10 points
UL BOHEMIANS (3rd) v TERENURE COLLEGE (1st), UL North Campus
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – UL Bohemians: LWWWLLWWW; Terenure College: WWWWWWWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – UL Bohemians: Points: Robert Bourke 44; Tries: Adrian Enright 4; Terenure College: Points: Mark O’Neill 82; Tries: Kevin O’Neill, Robbie Smyth 5 each
Preview: UL Bohemians are the latest side to try and inflict a first defeat on the runaway leaders Terenure College.
Although the Limerick outfit tend to be at their best on their home patch, it is asking a lost for them to secure that win. Terenure – 36-9 winners over UL Bohs on the opening day of the season – have been in devastating form of late.
Two runaway wins over Dungannon and Corinthians were followed by a more workmanlike 13-0 away success over Buccaneers.
So, UL Bohs are going to have to produce some performance if they are to stop Terenure making it 10 victories on the trot.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, March 7, 2009: UL Bohemians 34 Terenure College 0, Annacotty; Saturday, September 28, 2013: Terenure College 36 UL Bohemians 9, Lakelands Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win by 1-5 points