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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Dublin dwellers are spoilt for choice this weekend with five top quality Ulster Bank League Division 1A on their doorsteps. The action gets underway tonight when UCD host St. Mary’s College in a ‘Friday Night Lights’ clash that will be streamed live here on www.IrishRugby.ie.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, September 13

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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UCD v ST. MARY’S COLLEGE, Belfield, Friday, September 12, 7.30pm (live on www.IrishRugby.ie)

Preview: It is fitting that two Dublin clubs get to kick off proceedings in Division 1A given that six capital sides now compete in the top flight.

UCD have shown some good early season form in reaching the Leinster Senior Cup semi-finals, with back-three regulars Barry Daly and Andrew Boyle each scoring hat-tricks against Seapoint last week.

Impressive back rower Kevin Sheahan leads a St. Mary’s side hungry to get back to the heights of their 2012 title win. They did the double on UCD last season, but the students should gain revenge in this Irish Rugby TV-live streamed opener.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, November 22, 2013: UCD 16 St. Mary’s College 18, Belfield; Friday, January 31, 2014: St. Mary’s College 26 UCD 15, Templeville Road

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCD to win


Preview: Clontarf begin their title defence at home to Young Munster, knowing that no club since Shannon (2005-06) has retained the All-Ireland League crown.

Head coach Andy Wood has set his troops a new challenge of winning the league via the reintroduced play-off route, and they stand a decent chance despite some turnover in players.

Young Munster, now the only Limerick club in Division 1A, have brought in Rob Guerin and Martin Kelly. A tough first away trip for the Cookies, but it should be closer than their last visit to Castle Avenue – a 46-28 defeat.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 30, 2013: Clontarf 46 Young Munster 28, Castle Avenue; Saturday, January 25, 2014: Young Munster 9 Clontarf 26, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

LANSDOWNE v DOLPHIN, Aviva Stadium main pitch

Preview: Twelve months ago Lansdowne lost their opening home match to UCD and Mike Ruddock’s men will be determined to avoid such a result against Dolphin.

Newcomers Jack Dilger and Aaron Conneely bolster a back row contingent led by new Lansdowne captain Ron Boucher, while scrum half Adam Griggs has joined from Blackrock.

Staging Saturday’s clash on the Aviva Stadium’s main pitch will whet appetites for the final in May, and Dolphin, who had a Cork Charity Cup walkover last week, may struggle against their more battle-hardened hosts.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 7, 2013: Lansdowne 61 Dolphin 11, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Saturday, April 19, 2014: Dolphin 16 Lansdowne 18, Musgrave Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win


Preview: Another Dublin-Cork match-up and two teams with serious ambitions of finishing in the top four – Old Belvedere were runners-up last year, while Cork Constitution are Bateman Cup holders.

Josh Glynn’s 19-point haul helped ‘Belvo beat St. Mary’s in the Leinster Senior Cup last week, but Darragh Lyons has been equally influential for Con in recent outings.

This fixture is traditionally a tight one, there was a 3-3 draw last term and Steve Crosbie steered the Dubliners to a 26-24 win in Cork. Constitution may just edge what is Tom Tierney’s first league game in charge.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 26, 2013: Old Belvedere 3 Cork Constitution 3, Anglesea Road; Saturday, March 1, 2014: Cork Constitution 24 Old Belvedere 26, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win


Preview: An interesting first Division 1A test for Terenure College whose perfect 18-from-18 record last season saw them power their way to promotion.

It was a different story for Ballynahinch who had to battle hard to avoid relegation. Derek Suffern’s side are a resilient bunch and their new signings include Chris Quinn and Kenny Morton and Ulster’s Charlie Butterworth will also be available to them.

‘Nure boast a settled squad – James Thornton, Adam Clarkin and Lucas Machin from Oyonnax are among their newcomers – and they should win their first top flight game since 2009.

Recent League Meetings – The teams have not played each other since 2010

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win