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Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

Terenure College may be champions but there is still a shot at promotion for Buccaneers, Corinthians and UL Bohemians and the question of which club will join Dungannon in being relegated from Division 1B.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, April 12

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated :-

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SHANNON (5th) v MALONE (9th), Thomond Park, 1pm

More at stake for Malone than Shannon. The Belfast outfit are currently lying second from bottom and desperately need a victory.

But that will not come easy against a Shannon side hoping to complete the double over their rivals. To be fair, there was nothing in it at Gibson Park in December when Shannon just got home 19-18.

They also had a narrow 16-15 success away to Belfast Harlequins a few weeks back, winning with a late try. Overall, their young side has done reasonably well to hold their own in the division after a very poor start.

For Malone this is another cup final. They are in a battle with Blackrock College, Dublin University and Belfast Harlequins to avoid that second-from-bottom spot.

BLACKROCK COLLEGE (8th) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (7th), Stradbrook

Massive game for both teams. The threat of relegation means that Blackrock College, in particular, will not want to contemplate the possibility of losing.

As things stand, Blackrock are third last, just a point ahead of Malone. Dublin University lie fourth-from-bottom, two points in front of Blackrock.

So, there is all to play for in what should prove to be a very interesting encounter. Blackrock, no doubt, will be looking to repeat the effort which saw them defeat Malone in their most recent home encounter.

But they will be up against a Dublin University side that beat them 20-13 at Sydney Parade. What is more, their form has shown a distinct improvement lately.

BUCCANEERS (2nd) v UL BOHEMIANS (4th), Dubarry Park

Huge game at Dubarry Park. Buccaneers currently lie second with UL Bohemians in fourth spot, four points adrift of the Connacht side.

Buccs are entitled to feel good having moved ahead of their great rivals Corinthians following a recent impressive run.

But they know that it is going to take a lot to hold on to second spot, particularly as they are away to Terenure College in their final game.

Firstly, it is absolutely imperative that they beat UL Bohs. But that will not be easy as UL Bohs are a top class side and have already defeated Buccs at home back in December.

Both sides seem to be in excellent shape just now, Buccs having put 32 points on Blackrock last time out while UL Bohs accumulated 41 points when trouncing Dungannon.

CORINTHIANS (2nd) v BELFAST HARLEQUINS (6th), Corinthian Park

There is an awful lot at stake at Corinthian Park. After spending so long in second spot, Corinthians must be disappointed to have dropped to third – a point behind Buccaneers.

But all is far from lost. They put in a really decent effort when going under 21-12 to runaway leaders Terenure College away and Buccaneers still, of course, have to travel to Lakelands Park for their final game.

On the face of it, Corinthians should prove too strong for struggling Belfast Harlequins who find themselves just above the relegation zone following a recent run of poor results.

But Corinthians would be wrong to underestimate the Ulster outfit who can prove very competitive when they have their full side out.

DUNGANNON (10th) v TERENURE COLLEGE (1st), Stevenson Park

Terenure College look set to take another step in their bid to finish the season having won all of their games.

It would be astonishing if Dungannon put an end to their unbeaten run. While Terenure have won all 16 games to date, Dungannon lie stranded 13 points adrift at the bottom of the table.

And their most recent effort, a 41-17 away hammering by UL Bohs, suggests that things are not about to improve.

On the last occasion they played Terenure, Dungannon were absolutely demolished 63-7 at Lakelands Park.  Hopefully, they can manage a better effort this time around.