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Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

Terenure College looked nailed on for promotion and Corinthians have that play-off spot in their sights, but there could be some twists still to come in Division 1B.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, March 1

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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BLACKROCK COLLEGE (9th) v BELFAST HARLEQUINS (5th), Stradbrook

BLACKROCK COLLEGE’S problems continue following their dramatic 19-18 home defeat at the hands of Shannon in the rearranged game at Stradbrook last Saturday.

In many ways it was an improved performance from Blackrock with Jan-Simon Byrne getting two tries, but they were unable to hold on after taking the lead going into the closing stages. Belfast Harlequins, currently lying fifth in the table, represent tough opposition.

They went on a three match winning run before going down 24-7 to Division 1B leaders Terenure College last time out. Their scrum was particularly impressive in that game with Rickly Lutton making a big impact.

CORINTHIANS (2nd) v DUNGANNON (10th), Corinthian Park

SHOULD be straightforward for second placed Corinthians as they take on the bottom side Dungannon.

Then again, Dungannon are absolutely desperate for a victory, so the home side would be wrong to take anything for granted. When the sides met at Stevenson Park earlier in the season, Dungannon gave them a decent game before losing 24-16.

They also have an outstanding back in Peter Nelson. Just the same, Corinthians, with home advantage, must be fancied to secure the double over their Ulster opponents.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (8th) v UL BOHEMIANS (3rd), Sydney Parade

INTERESTING match between an improving Dublin University outfit and a UL Bohemians side that lies fourth in the table.

Importantly, UL Bohs responded to their hammering by Belfast Harlequins with a bonus point success over Malone in their last outing.

Dublin University, meanwhile, were somewhat unfortunate to go down to a dramatic 20-17 defeat away to Buccaneers. They will be particularly anxious to secure a victory and move further clear of the bottom two.

When the sides met in Limerick, UL Bohs got home 16-13 and there’s unlikely to be much in it on this occasion as well.

MALONE (7th) v TERENURE COLLEGE (1st), Gibson Park

IT seems as if no one can stop Terenure College as they continue to top the table with 12 straight victories.

Given that Malone are fourth from bottom it would come as a major surprise should they manage to end Terenure’s unbeaten run.

That said, Malone have shown signs of improvement lately and Terenure cannot allow their standards drop.

Terenure have the ammunition with Fergal Walsh due to return to their pack and a potent half-back combination of Kevin and Mark O’Neill. They should add to their 27-10 success over Malone at Lakelands Park but it may well be a bit more competitive this time.

SHANNON (6th) v BUCCANEERS (4th), Coonagh

SHANNON’S young team continues to make progress up the table following their hard fought 19-18 success over Blackrock College in last Saturday’s rearranged encounter.

They showed considerable spirit and quite a bit of skill with Rob Guerin getting a late match winning try. Buccaneers, however, represent a very difficult test.

They are currently third in the table and surely in good mood after a Kolo Kiripati try snatched a late 20-17 victory over Dublin University.

It likely to be close, Buccaneers having won the first meeting between the two sides 25-22 at Dubarry Park.