The big games keep coming in Ulster Bank League Division 1A, with Terenure hosting Clontarf in a top of the table clash and Lansdowne and UCD – sitting third and fourth respectively – also taking each other on.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, November 1
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
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BALLYNAHINCH (6th) v ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (9th), Ballymacarn Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Ballynahinch: LWLW; St. Mary’s College: LLWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Ross Adair 15; Tries: Ross Adair 3; St. Mary’s College: Points: Gavin Dunne 28; Tries: Keelan McKenna, Stuart O’Flanagan, Conor Toolan, Richie Sweeney, Dave Fanagan 1 each
Preview: Ballynahinch would have wanted the four-week break to be cancelled after they beat Lansdowne last time out. Two-try full-back Rodger McBurney played a starring role.
Reaching that level of performance on a consistent basis will be the aim for ‘Hinch, whose coach Derek Suffern noted: ‘If we can get ourselves above four or five phases, we back ourselves to score some tries against anyone.’
St. Mary’s lost three of their opening four league games, relying on kicker Gavin Dunne for almost half of their points. They won 17-10 up in County Down last March, but Suffern’s side might not be so welcoming this time.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 26, 2013: St. Mary’s College 15 Ballynahinch 9, Templeville Road; Saturday, March 1, 2014: Ballynahinch 10 St. Mary’s College 17, Ballymacarn Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballynahinch to win
CORK CONSTITUTION (5th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (7th), Temple Hill
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Cork Constitution: LLWW; Young Munster: LWLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Darragh Lyons 26; Tries: Rob Jermyn 2; Young Munster: Points: Ben Martin 24; Tries: Barry Gibbons 2
Preview: A juicy Munster derby for club rugby fans to feast on post-Halloween. Cork Constitution have picked up the pace with back-to-back league wins and qualification for the Munster Senior Cup quarter-finals.
Young Munster are also through to the last-eight in Munster thanks to a 33-8 victory at Highfield, and John Staunton’s charges will be undaunted by the trip to Temple Hill – Colin Liston’s try secured their 16-10 win there last January.
Another tight tussle is expected on Leeside with the return of fit-again captain Gerry Hurley swaying it in the hosts’ favour.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 4, 2014: Cork Constitution 10 Young Munster 16, Temple Hill; Saturday, April 12, 2014: Young Munster 23 Cork Constitution 24, Tom Clifford Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win
LANSDOWNE (3rd) v UCD (4th), Aviva Stadium back pitch
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Lansdowne: WWWL; UCD: WLWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 34; Tries: Ian Fitzpatrick 2; UCD: Points: Ross Byrne 27; Tries: Harry McNulty, Adam Byrne 2 each
Preview: Both Lansdowne and UCD lost last time out in the league, and this is a crunch encounter as the Dublin 4 rivals jostle for position in the top four.
Scott Deasy will want a much better return with the boot after missing a few kicks against Ballynahinch. UCD will be poised to strike if he falters, having done the double on the headquarters club last season.
Both sides will welcome back players from Leinster ‘A’ duty, including backs Cian Kelleher and Adam Griggs who are two potential match winners for the home side.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, September 28, 2013: Lansdowne 14 UCD 27, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Friday, March 28, 2014: UCD 21 Lansdowne 17, Belfield
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win
OLD BELVEDERE (8th) v DOLPHIN (10th), Anglesea Road
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Old Belvedere: WLLL; Dolphin: LLLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Old Belvedere: Points: Josh Glynn 17; Tries: Peter Robb, Daniel Riordan 2 each; Dolphin: Points: Rory Scannell 13; Tries: Eamonn Mills, Brian Quill, James Rochford 1 each
Preview: Although they are only two places below Old Belvedere in the table, bottom side Dolphin are six points worse off owing to ‘Belvo’s knack of picking up losing bonus points.
Since beating Cork Constitution at home, Paul Cunningham’s men have lost three tight league games on the bounce. They need a slice of luck, especially after losing an extra-time thriller to Clontarf in the Leinster Senior League Cup.
Dolphin were at a low ebb following a thumping defeat to Terenure, but lifted their spirits by beating Shannon in their Munster Senior Cup opener and will be eager to break their league duck here before next week’s Cork derby against Con.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 4, 2014: Dolphin 10 Old Belvedere 22, Musgrave Park; Saturday, April 12, 2014: Old Belvedere 21 Dolphin 15, Anglesea Road
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dolphin to win
TERENURE COLLEGE (1st) v CLONTARF (2nd), Lakelands Park, 2.45pm
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Terenure College: WWWW; Clontarf: WWLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Mark O’Neill 36; Tries: Harry Moore, Kyle McCoy 5 each; Clontarf: Points: David Joyce 48; Tries: David Joyce 2
Preview: Free-scoring Terenure College have opened up a four-point lead at the top of the table. On Saturday they face their biggest test of the season so far from defending champions Clontarf.
In demolishing both Young Munster and Dolphin, James Blaney’s side racked up 99 points and 13 tries with winger Harry Moore and number 8 Kyle McCoy now top of the league’s scoring charts with five tries each.
Clontarf returned to winning ways with a workmanlike win over UCD and subsequently reached the Leinster Senior League Cup decider. Out-half David Joyce scored 48 points in the first four Division 1A rounds – could he be the man to end ‘Nure’s incredible 27-match winning run in the league?
Recent League Meetings – The teams have not played each other since 2008
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win