Bottom side Shannon host UL Bohemians in a Friday Night Lights derby in Division 1B while two top four ties at Crowley Park and Dooradoyle dominate the Saturday afternoon schedule.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, November 15
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
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SHANNON (10th) v UL BOHEMIANS (7th), Thomond Park, Friday, November 14, 7.30pm
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Shannon: LLLWLL; UL Bohemians: WWLLLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Shannon: Points: Tadhg Bennett 25; Tries: John Shine 3; UL Bohemians: Points: Shane Airey 47; Tries: Ed Kelly, Ian Condell 2 each
Preview: Shannon are still searching for their first win of the month, with two bonus point defeats not enough to prevent them from falling to bottom spot.
But Ian Sherwin’s side can overhaul UL Bohemians in the table if they win tonight’s Limerick derby. It is only round 7, but this could well be a season-defining game for both sides.
Bohs are enduring their own slump – they are winless since September 20 – and it was their out-of-sorts attack that cost them during last Friday’s 11-6 derby defeat to Garryowen.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 9, 2013: Shannon 13 UL Bohemians 9, Coonagh; Saturday, March 15, 2014: UL Bohemians 16 Shannon 15, Annacotty
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UL Bohemians to win
BUCCANEERS (5th) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (6th), Dubarry Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Buccaneers: LWWLLW; Dublin University: LLLWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Buccaneers: Points: Alan Gaughan 57; Tries: Rory O’Connor, Jacob Walshe 2 each; Dublin University: Points: Jack McDermott 37; Tries: Paddy Lavelle, Brian du Toit, Tim Maupin, Conor Kearns 2 each
Preview: A crucial encounter for these two mid-table sides. They have three wins and three losses apiece and just one point separates them in the table, with Buccaneers marginally ahead.
The Pirates have struggled for consistency at home but were much improved when winning away to Belfast Harlequins last week and will be looking for a repeat performance.
Trinity make the midlands trip on the back of three straight victories. Their backs have secured some important tries so far but, like Buccs, the students have yet to register a try-scoring bonus point.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 26, 2013: Dublin University 7 Buccaneers 15, Sydney Parade; Saturday, February 15, 2014: Buccaneers 20 Dublin University 17, Dubarry Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Buccaneers to win
CORINTHIANS (8th) v BELFAST HARLEQUINS (9th), Corinthian Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Corinthians: LWLLWL; Belfast Harlequins: LLWLWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Corinthians: Points: Conor Murphy 16; Tries: James Buckley, Jamie Dever, Eoghan Masterson 2 each; Belfast Harlequins: Points: Eamon Lane 46; Tries: Sean Reidy 3
Preview: There was no joy for Corinthians last week when losing at home to city rivals Galwegians. Pat Cunningham’s side simply have to score with more regularity. 14 points is their best total from their three recent outings.
Their discipline let them down against ‘Wegians with three sin-binnings, but youngsters Ultan Dillane and David Panter gave glimpses of the quality at Corinthians’ disposal.
Second-from-bottom Harlequins took few positives from their 20-7 loss to Buccaneers, but on their day are a very capable outfit and a tight game is anticipated in Galway.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 7, 2013: Belfast Harlequins 19 Corinthians 21, Deramore Park; Saturday, April 12, 2014: Corinthians 13 Belfast Harlequins 21, Corinthian Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Belfast Harlequins to win
GALWEGIANS (1st) v MALONE (4th), Crowley Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Galwegians: WWWWLW; Malone: WLLLWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Galwegians: Points: Jerome Harimate, Matt Dever, Colin Conroy 15 each; Tries: Jerome Harimate, Matt Dever, Colin Conroy 3 each; Malone: Points: Josh Pentland 53; Tries: Rory Campbell 4
Preview: Galwegians spent just a week off top spot following Ballymena’s Ulster derby loss to Malone, who are ‘Wegians’ opponents in round 7.
The Galway men won their own derby clash with Corinthians, coming through a tense affair with winger Jerome Harimate scoring his fourth try of the campaign and fit-again captain Ja Naughton impressing up front.
Buoyed by their win at Ballymena, Malone are sure to make life difficult for Matt Brown’s men. Goal-kicking centre Josh Pentland (53 points) could have an important role if it is a close encounter.
Recent League Meetings – N/A
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Galwegians to win
GARRYOWEN (3rd) v BALLYMENA (2nd), Dooradoyle
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Garryowen: WLWWLW; Ballymena: WWWWWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Jamie Gavin 49; Tries: James Frawley, Neil Cronin, Ed Rossiter 2 each; Ballymena: Points: Tim Small 33; Tries: David Shanahan, Tim Small 3 each
Preview: A vital fixture for Garryowen as they look to close the five-point gap between themselves and second-placed Ballymena in the table.
The Light Blues took the derby spoils at UL Bohemians last week thanks to an Ed Rossiter try, but are likely to need a much more complete performance against the Braidmen.
It will be interesting to see how Andy Graham’s charges react to their loss to Malone. They played second fiddle to Malone in the front five, and the forwards battle could well decide the outcome at Dooradoyle.
Recent League Meetings – The teams have not played each other since 2009
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballymena to win