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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

The mouth-watering meeting of Lansdowne and Clontarf – the last two Division 1A champions – is undoubtedly the match of the day in the Ulster Bank League’s top flight.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, September 27

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Cork Constitution: LL; Ballynahinch: LW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Gerry Hurley 6; Tries: Luke Cahill, Niall Kenneally, James Murphy 1 each; Ballynahinch: Points: Ross Adair 15; Tries: Ross Adair 3

Preview: Surely Cork Constitution will break their winning duck at the third attempt? The Leesiders are second-from-bottom in the table after losing to Old Belvedere and leaders Lansdowne.

Late tries from Niall Kenneally and James Murphy showed what they can do against Lansdowne, and a more complete performance at their Temple Hill base should be enough to beat Ballynahinch.

Thanks to their comeback victory over ‘Belvo, ‘Hinch have climbed to sixth and Con must keep tabs on winger Ross Adair, whose three tries make him Division 1A’s top try scorer so far.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, September 28, 2013: Ballynahinch 17 Cork Constitution 24, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, March 29, 2014: Cork Contitution 8 Ballynahinch 35, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

LANSDOWNE (1st) v CLONTARF (2nd), Aviva Stadium main pitch

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Lansdowne: WW; Clontarf: WW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 26; Tries: Ian Fitzpatrick 2; Clontarf: Points: David Joyce 29; Tries: David Joyce 2

Preview: There is huge interest in this early season top of the table clash as pacesetters Lansdowne host defending champions Clontarf on the Aviva Stadium’s main pitch.

Neither has hit top form just yet with ‘Tarf guilty of some sluggish starts and Lansdowne struggling to see off 14-man Cork Con in the closing stages last Saturday.

Scott Deasy (26 points) and David Joyce (29) have led the way for their respective sides in the opening two rounds. Expect more of the same from the opposing out-halves, with Deasy’s Lansdowne looking the safer bet.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 4, 2014: Clontarf 16 Lansdowne 13, Castle Avenue; Friday, April 11, 2014: Lansdowne 34 Clontarf 27, Aviva Stadium main pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win

OLD BELVEDERE (4th) v ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (8th), Anglesea Road

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Old Belvedere: WL; St. Mary’s College: LL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Old Belvedere: Points: Aidan Wynne 14; Tries: Jack O’Beirne, Peter Robb 1 each; St. Mary’s College: Points: Gavin Dunne 19; Tries: Keelan McKenna, Stuart O’Flanagan 1 each

Preview: St. Mary’s College have played well in fits and starts so far without getting a win. Being overhauled by local rivals Terenure College last week must have hurt.

They need to get more out of a back-line led by Leinster prospect Cathal Marsh. The same can be said for hosts Old Belvedere whose only try against Ballynahinch had a touch of good fortune about it.

‘Belvo are unbeaten in their last four league clashes with Mary’s – three wins and a draw – but their Dublin rivals have enough quality to edge this latest battle.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 30, 2013: St. Mary’s College 24 Old Belvedere 27, Templeville Road; Saturday, January 25, 2014: Old Belvedere 22 St. Mary’s College 22, Anglesea Road

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: St. Mary’s College to win

TERENURE COLLEGE (3rd) v YOUNG MUNSTER (7th), Lakelands Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Terenure College: WW; Young Munster: LW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Mark O’Neill 16; Tries: Shane Donovan 2; Young Munster: Points: Shane O’Leary 11; Tries: Barry Gibbons 2

Preview: A familiar face will be plotting the downfall of high-flying Terenure College when Young Munster make their second trip of the season to the capital.

Former ‘Nure out-half Willie Staunton played a key role in Munsters’ maiden win at home to UCD last week, with youngsters Dan Goggin, Diarmaid Dee and David O’Mahony also standing out.

But Terenure have turned Lakelands into a real fortress and their ability to ‘kick on’ in the second half has been decisive so far against Ballynahinch and St. Mary’s. Will the Cookies be the third team to crumble?

Recent League Meetings – The teams have not played each other since 2009

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win

UCD (5th) v DOLPHIN (10th), Belfield

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – UCD: WL; Dolphin: LL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: Ross Byrne 22; Tries: Liam Hyland, Stephen Murphy, Harry McNulty 1 each; Dolphin: Points: Rory Scannell 11; Tries: Eamonn Mills 1

Preview: Dolphin gave it a really good crack against title holders Clontarf, breaking into a 13-point lead before eventually losing by a six-point margin.

Steve Ford’s side are better than their position of 10th suggests, with the Quill cousins – lock Brian and flanker John – part of an ever-improving pack.

UCD will have learned some harsh lessons from their reversal at Young Munster. If they can tighten up defensively and keep their discipline, the students should make it two wins out of three.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 2, 2013: UCD 22 Dolphin 7, Belfield; Sunday, March 16, 2014: Dolphin 32 UCD 55, Musgrave Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCD to win