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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

All roads lead to Temple Hill tonight for another mouth-watering Friday Night Lights derby encounter as Cork Constitution host Dolphin in Division 1A. The round wraps up on Saturday with table-topping Terenure College entertaining a lively UCD side.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, December 20

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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CORK CONSTITUTION (3rd) v DOLPHIN (10th), Temple Hill, Friday, December 19, 7.30pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Cork Constitution: LLWWLDWDW; Dolphin: LLLLDDDLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Darragh Lyons 49; Tries: Rob Jermyn 3; Dolphin: Points: Barry Keeshan 22; Tries: Ryan Murphy 3

Preview: This is Dolphin’s final chance to open their win account before Christmas, and who better to do it against than their local rivals Cork Constitution?

A late penalty from Stuart Lee saw Dolphin draw 6-6 with Con in last month’s league meeting. There could be just a kick or two in it again tonight, as the corresponding fixture last season also failed to produce a try.

With two wins in their last three outings, Constitution are favoured to get a result on home turf and give themselves a boost ahead of next week’s Munster Senior Cup final against Garryowen.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, February 14, 2014: Cork Constitution 6 Dolphin 9, Temple Hill; Friday, November 7, 2014: Dolphin 6 Cork Constitution 6, Irish Independent Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

TERENURE COLLEGE (1st) v UCD (8th), Lakelands Park, 2pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Terenure College: WWWWWWLWL; UCD: WLWLWLLDW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Mark O’Neill 45; Tries: Kyle McCoy 6; UCD: Points: Ross Byrne 65; Tries: Sam Coghlan Murray 4

Preview: Terenure College seem to be going through a mid-season wobble, having lost to Lansdowne and Ballynahinch in the last three rounds. Their lead has been cut to a single point.

Head coach James Blaney said ‘Nure were ‘hugely inaccurate’ in the second half of their 14-10 loss at Ballynahinch. “Normally we are quite patient in those (tight) situations, but we just seemed to really panic in the last 15 minutes,” he said.

Blaney’s men will be on high alert this weekend as UCD were in a winning position when hosting Terenure last month. The 26-17 defeat stung the students who will be all out for revenge.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 29, 2011: UCD 27 Terenure College 13, Belfield; Friday, November 7, 2014: UCD 17 Terenure College 26, Belfield

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win

BALLYNAHINCH (7th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (4th), Ballymacarn Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Ballynahinch: LWLWWLDLW; Young Munster: LWLWWWLLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Richard Reaney 45; Tries: Ross Adair 4; Young Munster: Points: Ben Martin 38; Tries: Ed O’Keeffe 3

Preview: Having beaten the top two, Ballynahinch should be further up the table and that will be their clear aim over the New Year. They are in buoyant form with Terenure toppled and the Ulster Senior Cup title secured.

Head coach Derek Suffern said the win over leaders ‘Nure was ‘definitely the best performance we’ve had at home in two years in Division 1A’, singling out number 8 Michael Graham for high praise.

However, Young Munster are riding high in fourth place and won 29-20 at home to ‘Hinch last month. Ed O’Keeffe, who plays on the wing or at centre, has impressed with three recent tries.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, March 22, 2014: Ballynahinch 36 Young Munster 3, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, November 8, 2014: Young Munster 29 Ballynahinch 20, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballynahinch to win

OLD BELVEDERE (6th) v CLONTARF (5th), Anglesea Road

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Old Belvedere: WLLLDWWLL; Clontarf: WWLWLLLWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Old Belvedere: Points: Josh Glynn 70; Tries: Daniel Riordan 4; Clontarf: Points: David Joyce 73; Tries: Matt D’Arcy 3

Preview: Clontarf have already lost more games this season – five – than when they won the league title last year. But the play-offs give them a chance to hang in there.

The north Dubliners will be hugely fired up for this rematch with Old Belvedere, having lost a 17-3 lead when they sides met last month. A late Daniel Riordan drop goal gave ‘Belvo a stunning comeback win.

Riordan, with four tries, remains a big threat from full-back, while opposing kickers Josh Glynn (70 points) and David Joyce (73) are among the top three scorers in the division at present.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, March 28, 2014: Clontarf 20 Old Belvedere 13, Castle Avenue; Friday, November 7, 2014: Clontarf 17 Old Belvedere 20, Castle Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

LANSDOWNE (2nd) v ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (9th), Aviva Stadium back pitch, 4.30pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Lansdowne: WWWLLWWWW; St. Mary’s College: LLWLLLWWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 70; Tries: Tom Farrell, Joe McSwiney 3 each; St. Mary’s College: Points: Gavin Dunne 60; Tries: Nick Timoney 3

Preview: Lansdowne are on a four-match winning streak and with their British & Irish Cup players back on board, they look well-placed to make it five in a row.

Mike Ruddock’s men needed a penalty try to push them past Dolphin in a tight contest, but they are usually in more free-flowing form on home soil. A repeat of last month’s 38-20 win at St. Mary’s would do nicely.

Both sides’ try-scoring threats do not just lie in the backs, as flanker Joe McSwiney has touched down three times for Lansdowne and fellow back rower Nick Timoney (3 tries) is Mary’s leading try scorer.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 5, 2014: Lansdowne 18 St. Mary’s College 38, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Friday, November 7, 2014: St. Mary’s College 20 Lansdowne 38, Templeville Road

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win