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Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

Can Terenure College complete the season unbeaten? Can Blackrock College avoid relegation? All will be answered on Saturday afternoon in Division 1B of the Ulster Bank League.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday April 19

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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BELFAST HARLEQUINS (6th) v DUNGANNON (10th), Deramore Park

Belfast Harlequins should end their season by completing the double over their Ulster rivals. Sadly, Dungannon have had a disastrous season which has resulted in them being relegated in bottom spot in the table.

Last Saturday’s 44-10 home defeat at the hands of Terenure College confirmed the inevitable.  They just have not got going, winning just two games.

Belfast Harlequins, for their part, have proved erratic. A disappointing recent run put them within range of the relegation zone but they showed a major improvement to upset Corinthians 21-13 away last time out, a result which means that they are safe in Division 1B for next season.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (7th) v SHANNON (5th), Merrion Road

All credit to Dublin University. Last year’s third-placed team had a disastrous opening to their campaign, struggling in the relegation zone for most of the season.

But they showed a huge improvement in more recent times. Last weekend’s 26-12 victory over Blackrock College showed just how much they have come on.

Will Scott was particularly impressive, scoring two tries. While Shannon have done well to move up to mid-table after a poor start, they were very disappointing when losing 27-7 at home to Malone last Saturday.

MALONE (8th) v CORINTHIANS (3rd), Gibson Park

Third-from-bottom Malone will be bidding to make certain of staying ahead of Blackrock College when they face Corinthians at Gibson Park.

They would appear to have a real chance of doing so, especially as Corinthians are now out of the running for second spot in the table.

Unfortunately, that disappeared when they surprisingly went down 21-13 at home to Belfast Harlequins last Saturday.

Malone, by contrast, beat Shannon 27-7 at Thomond Park.  A point should do in their bid to stay in front of Blackrock but, if they repeat last Saturday’s effort, they may well get more.

TERENURE COLLEGE (1st) v BUCCANEERS (2nd), Lakelands Park

Champions Terenure College only need to defeat Buccaneers to complete the season with a 100% record.

To win all of their 18 games would be a remarkable achievement. There is no doubt that they are a well-organised and talented team that should hopefully hold their own in the top flight next season.

Buccaneers represent very decent opposition, although Terenure did beat them 13-0 at Dubarry Park.

Buccs made certain of second spot in the table with a dramatic 24-23 victory over another of the leading challengers UL Bohemians last Saturday, thereby taking the pressure off themselves for this Lakelands Park encounter.

UL BOHEMIANS (4th) v BLACKROCK COLLEGE (9th), Thomond Park

Unfortunately for them, Blackrock College look doomed to fill the second-from-bottom spot and thereby face relegation. They need to secure a good win and hope that Malone flop at home to Corinthians.

That is unlikely, particularly as Blackrock are playing one of the better teams in the division in UL Bohs.

The Limerick outfit has been in and around the top end of the table all season and only definitely lost out on the possibility of second spot when going down 24-23 to Buccaneers last Saturday.

While that narrow defeat must have come as a huge disappointment, they will no doubt be keen to finish their campaign on a winning note.

From Blackrock’s point of view, all they can do is to secure a victory and hope that Corinthians can do them a favour against Malone.