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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

The latest round of Ulster Bank League Division 1A action kicks off with a Friday Night Lights encounter between Lansdowne and leaders Terenure College, while defending champions Clontarf face a tough trip to Cork Constitution on Saturday.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, November 15

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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LANSDOWNE (2nd) v TERENURE COLLEGE (1st), Aviva Stadium back pitch, Friday, November 14, 7.30pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Lansdowne: WWWLLW; Terenure College: WWWWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 45; Tries: Ian Fitzpatrick, Cian Kelleher, Tom Farrell 2 each; Terenure College: Points: Mark O’Neill 40; Tries: Harry Moore, Kyle McCoy 5 each

Preview: Such is the competitive nature of Division 1A, this is the second top of the table clash for Terenure College in the space of a fortnight.

‘Nure dispatched defending champions Clontarf at the start of the month and last Friday’s clinical comeback at UCD made it 29 straight league wins. Another victory here would stretch their lead at the summit to double figures.

Second-placed Lansdowne looked in rude health during their six-try thrashing of St. Mary’s and having lost their most recent home game, Mike Ruddock’s men will be all out to avoid a second Aviva Stadium reversal.

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

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win

BALLYNAHINCH (5th) v DOLPHIN (10th), Ballymacarn Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Ballynahinch: LWLWWL; Dolphin: LLLLDD
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Richard Reaney 31; Tries: Ross Adair 4; Dolphin: Points: Rory Scannell 13; Tries: Eamonn Mills, Brian Quill, James Rochford, Ryan Murphy, Chris Rowe, Niall Scannell 1 each

Preview: Given their opponents’ lowly position, Ballynahinch will view this as a big opportunity to vault back into the top four after losing last week to Young Munster.

Seven tries scored in their last two outings shows ‘Hinch are motoring well and wingers Ross Adair (4 tries) and Steve Macauley (2) will have to be watched closely.

Bottom-placed Dolphin seem to be on an upward curve, though, with successive draws and the return of fit-again Munster forwards Niall Scannell and Dave O’Callaghan making them more competitive.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 30, 2013: Dolphin 25 Ballynahinch 18, Musgrave Park; Saturday, January 25, 2014: Ballynahinch 0 Dolphin 13, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballynahinch to win

CORK CONSTITUTION (8th) v CLONTARF (4th), Temple Hill

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Cork Constitution: LLWWLD; Clontarf: WWLWLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Darragh Lyons 38; Tries: Rob Jermyn 2; Clontarf: Points: David Joyce 48; Tries: David Joyce, Matt D’Arcy 2 each

Preview: Daniel Riordan’s late drop goal condemned Clontarf to their third league defeat last week and the north Dubliners’ title defence is in desperate need of a lift on Leeside.

‘Tarf are now 10 points adrift of leaders Terenure. They need a result on the road to stay in touch – a repeat of last November’s 26-13 success at Temple Hill would be a timely fillip.

Cork Constitution have dropped down to eighth following two winless and tryless outings, so both of these sides are chasing a chink of light in the November gloom. If they maintain their intensity for the full game, ‘Tarf should prevail.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 23, 2013: Cork Constitution 13 Clontarf 26, Temple Hill; Saturday, February 1, 2014: Clontarf 8 Cork Constitution 9, Castle Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

OLD BELVEDERE (7th) v UCD (6th), Anglesea Road

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Old Belvedere: WLLLDW; UCD: WLWLWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Old Belvedere: Points: Josh Glynn 36; Tries: Peter Robb, Daniel Riordan 2 each; UCD: Points: Ross Byrne 43; Tries: Harry McNulty, Adam Byrne, Sam Coghlan Murray 2 each

Preview: The momentum should be with Old Belvedere after a 17-point fight-back saw them win at Clontarf, ending their four-match losing run.

UCD lost a game they should have won when going down 26-17 to table-topping Terenure, even missing out on a losing bonus point during their late collapse at Belfield.

Winger Sam Coghlan Murray touched down twice against ‘Nure and could be a key figure at Anglesea Road, while fellow Leinster cap Steve Crosbie will look to spark the Old Belvedere back-line.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 5, 2013: UCD 33 Old Belvedere 26, Belfield; Saturday, March 22, 2014: Old Belvedere 19 UCD 8, Anglesea Road

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCD to win

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (9th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (3rd), Templeville Road

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – St. Mary’s College: LLWLLL; Young Munster: LWLWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – St. Mary’s College: Points: Gavin Dunne 38; Tries: Keelan McKenna, Stuart O’Flanagan, Conor Toolan, Richie Sweeney, Dave Fanagan, Ray Crotty, Rob Sweeney, Nick Timoney, Cathal Marsh 1 each; Young Munster: Points: Ben Martin 30; Tries: Barry Gibbons 2

Preview: St. Mary’s are at a low ebb having lost heavily to both Ballynahinch and Lansdowne in recent weeks, conceding 71 points and 10 tries in the process.

Their collective performances have been pockmarked with errors, but the good form of young guns Nick Timoney, Dave Fanagan and David O’Connor offers them hope of a turnaround in fortunes.

Mary’s would gladly swap places with Young Munster who have won three straight games to go third in the table. A fourth looks likely here, especially if they continue to convert scrum pressure into points.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, September 28, 2013: St. Mary’s College 18 Young Munster 26, Templeville Road; Saturday, March 29, 2014: Young Munster 30 St. Mary’s College 17, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win