Terenure College are now playing ‘catch me if you can’ as they remain unbeaten in Division 1B. Meanwhile, Dungannon and Dublin University will slog it out in a crucial basement clash on Saturday.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, February 1
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
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BELFAST HARLEQUINS (5th) v UL BOHEMIANS (3rd), Deramore Park
Preview: UL Bohemians must bounce back quickly from their 15-6 home loss to Terenure College last Saturday in order to keep in touch with second-placed Corinthians.
To be fair, their effort against Terenure was a lot better than many other clubs have managed against the prolific Lakelands Park outfit.
But UL Bohs will not have things easy against a Belfast Harlequins outfit which has shown a big improvement recently.
Last weekend’s 19-18 away victory over Buccaneers was a really good effort. And the fact that they scored three tries will surely boost their confidence.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UL Bohemians to win by 1-5 points
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (9th) v DUNGANNON (10th), Sydney Parade
Preview: Vital encounter between the two bottom sides in the table. Dungannon are currently last with Dublin University two points ahead of them.
The students are still trying to recover from a disastrous opening which saw them go down to a series of defeats, including a 21-6 away loss to Dungannon. But it does seem that they have come on quite a bit.
They produced a really decent performance to only lose out 23-22 away to second-placed Corinthians and a repeat of that effort will surely give them a great chance of securing a crucial victory.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dublin University to win by 1-5 points
MALONE (7th) v BUCCANEERS (4th), Gibson Park
Preview: Malone could represent a real threat to Buccaneers despite the fact that they have only won two of their 10 outings to date.
Last weekend’s 13-3 away victory over Dungannon represented a crucial success in their battle to avoid relegation.
Place-kicking centre Nathan Brown was very much the hero, scoring all of Malone’s points.
Worringly, Buccaneers have fallen away in recent games but they still lie in fourth spot in the table. They have already beaten Malone in a tight encounter 23-20 at home earlier in their campaign.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Buccaneers to win by 6-10 points
SHANNON (6th) v CORINTHIANS (2nd), Coonagh
Preview: One of the top matches in this division. Second-placed Corinthians are going to be at their best to overcome an improving Shannon side.
Shannon were most unfortunate when their game had to be abandoned, with the score 10-3 in their favour, away to Blackrock College last Saturday. Fortunately, the injury to Paddy Butler did not prove to be serious.
No doubt, they would love to get rid of their frustration with a victory over Corinthians. But the Galway club are a fine side, having won nine of their 10 games, and they have already beaten Shannon 30-16 on their home patch this season.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Corinthians to win by 6-10 points
TERENURE COLLEGE (1st) v BLACKROCK COLLEGE (8th), Lakelands Park
Preview: There seems to be no one capable of stopping Terenure College marching on to the Division 1B league title. Surprisingly though, Blackrock College have given them as tough a game as anyone in the first round of matches.
They only went down 19-18 in a very hard-fought match at Stradbrook. Unfortunately though, Blackrock’s performance’s have not always been of the same standard.
It would be a major shock if they were to raise their game sufficiently in order to stop Terenure from maintaining their 100% record.
Flanker and captain James O’Neill is clearly going to take a lot of stopping following his hat-trick of tries against UL Bohemians.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win by 10+ points