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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Clontarf and UCD lock horns in a tasty Friday Night Lights fixture which will be streamed live here on www.IrishRugby.ie, while Saturday’s Division 1A schedule includes a trip for table-topping Terenure to bottom side Dolphin.


Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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CLONTARF (3rd) v UCD (4th), Castle Avenue, 7.30pm, Friday, October 3 (live on www.IrishRugby.ie)

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Clontarf: WWL; UCD: WLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: David Joyce 35; Tries: David Joyce 2; UCD: Points: Ross Byrne 27; Tries: Harry McNulty, Adam Byrne 2 each

Preview: Last April Clontarf lost to both UCD and Lansdowne before going on to be crowned champions. A repeat of those defeats, so early in the season, would certainly dent the north Dubliners’ confidence.

David Joyce – the division’s top scorer with 35 points – missed two late kickable penalties during last week’s 9-6 loss at Lansdowne. The Irish Rugby TV-streamed visit of UCD to Castle Avenue gives Andy Wood’s men an immediate chance to bounce back.

Fresh from a bonus point win over Dolphin, the students will be no pushovers but Leinster ‘A’ call-ups have robbed them of some key individuals including Ross Byrne, Sam Coghlan Murray and Josh van der Flier.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, November 8, 2013: Clontarf 25 UCD 16, Castle Avenue; Saturday, April 5, 2014: UCD 39 Clontarf 33, Belfield

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

BALLYNAHINCH (8th) v LANSDOWNE (2nd), Ballymacarn Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Ballynahinch: LWL; Lansdowne: WWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Ross Adair 15; Tries: Ross Adair 3; Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 29; Tries: Ian Fitzpatrick 2

Preview: Second-placed Lansdowne are on course to finish the first block of league games with their fourth straight victory, but hosts Ballynahinch will provide a stiff test.

Mike Ruddock’s side squeezed past Clontarf in a defence-dominated clash last Saturday – a sign of their strength in depth was Ian Prendiville’s solid performance in place of injured prop Peter Dooley.

Last week’s losing bonus point at Cork Constitution showed ‘Hinch’s battling qualities. They lost 21-14 to Lansdowne in last season’s corresponding fixture, with back rower Charlie Butterworth – now a Ballynahinch and Ulster Ravens player – touching down for the Dubliners.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 2, 2013: Ballynahinch 14 Lansdowne 21, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, March 15, 2014: Lansdowne 41 Ballynahinch 26, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win

DOLPHIN (10th) v TERENURE COLLEGE (1st), Musgrave Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Dolphin: LLL; Terenure College: WWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Dolphin: Points: Rory Scannell 13; Tries: Eamonn Mills, Brian Quill, James Rochford 1 each; Terenure College: Points: Mark O’Neill 26; Tries: Shane Donovan, Kyle McCoy 3 each

Preview: Top plays bottom and it is hard to see anything other than a fourth win on the bounce for free-scoring leaders Terenure College, who are already just six points shy of the 100-point mark.

Dolphin endured a 20-point defeat at UCD – the positives being tries for forwards Brian Quill and James Rochford – and this is their first meeting with Terenure in five years.

‘Nure venture south on the back of a 42-0 thrashing of Young Munster, with their right winger Shane Donovan and number 8 Kyle McCoy currently averaging a try per game.

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

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (6th) v CORK CONSTITUTION (7th), Templeville Road

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – St. Mary’s College: LLW; Cork Constitution: LLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – St. Mary’s College: Points: Gavin Dunne 23; Tries: Keelan McKenna, Stuart O’Flanagan, Conor Toolan 1 each; Cork Constitution: Points: Darragh Lyons 10; Tries: Luke Cahill, Niall Kenneally, James Murphy, Rob Jermyn, Tomás Quinlan 1 each

Preview: St. Mary’s College may have to chase their first home win of the season without two of their leading lights – out-half Cathal Marsh is on duty with Leinster ‘A’ and captain Kevin Sheahan is nursing a rib injury sustained against Old Belvedere.

Mary’s and Cork Constitution have the same lost-lost-won record after three rounds of the league, so this is an important fixture for both ahead of the four-week break.

Stand-in captain Darragh Lyons led by example in Constitution’s maiden win over Ballynahinch, but their Rob Sweeney-led scrum could give Mary’s a vital platform in what is expected to be a one-score game.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 7, 2013: St. Mary’s College 18 Cork Constitution 22, Templeville Road; Saturday, April 19, 2014: Cork Constitution 30 St. Mary’s College 30, Temple Hill

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

YOUNG MUNSTER (9th) v OLD BELVEDERE (5th), Tom Clifford Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Young Munster: LWL; Old Belvedere: WLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Shane O’Leary 11; Tries: Barry Gibbons 2; Old Belvedere: Points: Aidan Wynne 14; Tries: Peter Robb 2

Preview: Young Munster have been licking their wounds following last Saturday’s 42-0 hammering by table toppers Terenure, and a home success against Old Belvedere would be the ideal response.

John Staunton’s charges usually produce the goods in Greenfields – they beat UCD there a fortnight ago and garnered five home victories last season – but ‘Belvo were 13-10 winners on their last visit to Tom Clifford Park.

Still, the Dubliners will need other players to step up to the plate this weekend as Jack Conan and Steve Crosbie, who scored their 13 points against Munsters last November, are both subbing for Leinster of late.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 2, 2013: Young Munster 10 Old Belvedere 13, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, March 15, 2014: Old Belvedere 34 Young Munster 12, Anglesea Road

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win