Last week’s opening round of Ulster Bank League Division 1A was focused on the capital, but this Saturday there are games in four separate counties with action in Cork, Down, Dublin and Limerick.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, September 20
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
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BALLYNAHINCH (7th) v OLD BELVEDERE (3rd), Ballymacarn Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Ballynahinch: L; Old Belvedere: W
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Chris Quinn 10; Tries: Ross Adair 2; Old Belvedere: Points: Aidan Wynne 14; Tries: Jack O’Beirne 1
Preview: Ballynahinch face Dublin opposition for the second week running and will be determined to bounce back from their 32-20 loss at Terenure.
Derek Suffern’s side let a 20-14 lead slip against ‘Nure and will need no reminding that they lost six times at Ballymacarn Park in last season’s league.
Old Belvedere opened the new campaign with a 24-8 dismissal of Cork Constitution and will fancy their chances of making it two wins out of two, especially with Daniel Riordan still having a crucial influence from full-back.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 9, 2013: Old Belvedere 30 Ballynahinch 26, Anglesea Road; Saturday, March 8, 2014: Ballynahinch 17 Old Belvedere 23, Ballymacarn Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Old Belvedere to win
CORK CONSTITUTION (8th) v LANSDOWNE (1st), Temple Hill
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Cork Constitution: L; Lansdowne: W
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Luke Cahill 5; Tries: Luke Cahill 1; Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 15; Tries: Ian Fitzpatrick, Adam Griggs, Cian Kelleher, Dylan Donnellan 1 each
Preview: Out-half Scott Deasy could return to haunt his former club Cork Constitution as Lansdowne look to make it two victories on the bounce.
Deasy kicked 15 points in Lansdowne’s bonus point win at home to Dolphin, and it is hard to oppose Mike Ruddock’s table-topping team here given their early season showings.
Con did the double on Lansdowne last year, so will not be lacking in confidence. Their assistant coach David Corkery has promised they will ‘fight every inch of the way’ to reach the play-offs.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 5, 2013: Cork Constitution 33 Lansdowne 16, Temple Hill; Saturday, March 22, 2014: Lansdowne 18 Cork Constitution 24, Aviva Stadium main pitch
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win
DOLPHIN (10th) v CLONTARF (2nd), Musgrave Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Dolphin: L; Clontarf: W
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Dolphin: Points: Barry Keeshan 6; Tries: -; Clontarf: Points: David Joyce 12; Tries: Jimmy Hawkshaw, Martin Garvey, Peter du Toit, Rob McGrath, Brian Keelan 1 each
Preview: It is a tough start to the league for Steve Ford’s Dolphin. Seven days on from a 31-point defeat to Lansdowne, they host reigning Division 1A champions Clontarf.
The Cork club, whose record points scorer Barry Keeshan is now also assistant coach, blooded eight debutants last week – two of them in the front row (powerful props Peter McCabe and James ‘Rocky’ Rochford).
Winning on the road became a welcome habit for Andy Wood’s ‘Tarf side last year and barring a big improvement from Dolphin, the north Dubliners should come away from Musgrave Park with the points.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 26, 2013: Dolphin 15 Clontarf 21, Musgrave Park; Saturday, March 1, 2014: Clontarf 59 Dolphin 7, Castle Avenue
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win
YOUNG MUNSTER (9th) v UCD (5th), Tom Clifford Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Young Munster: L; UCD: W
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Shane O’Leary 11; Tries: Shane O’Leary, Barry Gibbons 1 each; UCD: Points: Ross Byrne 13; Tries: Liam Hyland 1
Preview: UCD director of rugby Bobby Byrne will find out a good deal more about his current crop of players when they make the trip south to Greenfields.
The students came good at home to St. Mary’s thanks to a late penalty try, and now face a Young Munster side hurting from a 37-19 reversal at Clontarf.
This looks an intriguing clash and particularly the midfield battle where Young Munster pair Shane O’Leary and Dan Goggin will try to outdo UCD’s Stephen Murphy and Jordan Coghlan.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 7, 2013: Young Munster 22 UCD 16, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, April 19, 2014: UCD 45 Young Munster 24, Belfield
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win
ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (6th) v TERENURE COLLEGE (4th), Templeville Road, 2.45pm (live on www.IrishRugby.ie)
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – St. Mary’s College: L; Terenure College: W
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – St. Mary’s College: Points: Gavin Dunne 10; Tries: Keelan McKenna 1; Terenure College: Points: Stephen O’Neill 11; Tries: Shane Donovan, Niall Lalor, Kyle McCoy 1 each
Preview: Both clubs have waited a long time for this one – since April 2009, to be exact – so expect some big collisions in ‘the Battle of Dublin 6W’ between St. Mary’s College and Terenure College.
A huge turnout is anticipated at Templeville Road with league points, local bragging rights and the Mick Smyth Cup all on the line (Smyth is a Terenure College RFC man fondly remembered by both clubs).
It would be a huge statement of intent if Division 1B champions Terenure could record back-to-back wins on their return to the top flight. But Mary’s will be all out to ensure that does not happen, and their reliable goal-kicker Gavin Dunne could be the man to decide the outcome.
Recent League Meetings – The teams have not played each other since 2009
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: St. Mary’s College to win