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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

The derby matches are coming thick and fast in the early rounds of Ulster Bank League Division 1A. Tonight sees Clontarf entertaining Old Belvedere in the capital, while Young Munster will have the official switching on of their floodlights before they take on Garryowen at Tom Clifford Park.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Friday, September 18

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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CLONTARF (3rd) v OLD BELVEDERE (2nd), Castle Avenue, 7.30pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Clontarf: W; Old Belvedere: W
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Joey Carbery 14; Tries: Mick McGrath 2; Old Belvedere: Points: Shane McDonald 12; Tries: Rory O’Loughlin, Ed Rossiter 1 each

Preview: Third plays host to second in the top flight tonight, with Clontarf looking to back up their opening night win at UCD where Leinster’s Mick McGrath bagged a brace of tries.

New signings Willie Staunton and Ed Rossiter made an immediate impact as Old Belvedere overcame Terenure College (27-8), and Paul Cunningham’s men certainly look in fine early season fettle.

The out-half duel between Joey Carbery and Staunton will be fascinating to watch as the north Dubliners aim to avenge last season’s two narrow defeats to ‘Belvo (20-17 and 24-21).

Recent League Meetings – Friday, November 7, 2014: Clontarf 17 Old Belvedere 20, Castle Avenue; Saturday, December 20, 2014: Old Belvedere 24 Clontarf 21, Anglesea Road

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

YOUNG MUNSTER (10th) v GARRYOWEN (4th), Tom Clifford Park, 7.30pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Young Munster: L; Garryowen: W
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Paul Downes 6; Tries: -; Garryowen: Points: James Frawley 9; Tries: Shane Buckley 1

Preview: Young Munster’s floodlights get their official switch-on (at 5.45pm) as local rivals Garryowen make the short trip to Tom Clifford Park for this evening’s derby clash.

The pressure is on Anthony Mathison’s side to deliver a winning performance as they are bottom of the table following last week’s second half slide at Lansdowne.

Garryowen look primed to pinch the points, however, with their Kiwi captain Josh Hrstich saying: “This is a massive game for us. We’ve got a good squad and we’re not here just to take part. We want to win the league and anything less we’re going to be disappointed with.”

Recent League Meetings – Friday, November 8, 2013: Garryowen 8 Young Munster 9, Dooradoyle; Saturday, February 15, 2014: Young Munster 16 Garryowen 33, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win

BALLYNAHINCH (7th) v UCD (8th), Ballymacarn Park, 2.30pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Ballynahinch: L; UCD: L
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Jordan Grattan, Chris Quinn 5 each; Tries: Jordan Grattan 1; UCD: Points: Conall Doherty 11; Tries: Brian Cawley 1

Preview: Two teams that suffered tight defeats in the opening round, with Ballynahinch paying the price for a sloppy second half at Garryowen.

Former Ulster player David McIlwaine is back on the left wing for ‘Hinch with ex-Belfast Harlequin Willie Stewart in the centre. The hosts will be hoping for more from new signing Manihera Eden and Ireland Sevens ace Aaron Cairns at half-back.

UCD’s pack, and their scrum in particular, had a very good outing against Clontarf, but better cohesion in the back-line will be required if Barry Daly and Billy Dardis are to threaten out wide.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 3, 2015: UCD 31 Ballynahinch 24, Belfield Bowl; Saturday, February 28, 2015: Ballynahinch 18 UCD 16, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballynahinch to win

CORK CONSTITUTION (6th) v LANSDOWNE (1st), Temple Hill, 4.30pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Cork Constitution: L; Lansdowne: W
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Tomas Quinlan 6; Tries: Kerry Desmond 1; Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 9; Tries: Tom Farrell, Ross Deacon, Tom Daly 1 each

Preview: Former Cork Constitution duo Scott Deasy and Philip Donnellan return to Temple Hill having helped Lansdowne make a winning start to their title defence last week.

Second row Donnellan was part of a well conditioned pack that put Young Munster to the sword in the second half of a 29-6 victory. Cork Con, meanwhile, are smarting from a 12-11 reversal at Galwegians.

Twelve months ago, at this same venue, Constitution outscored Lansdowne by two tries to one only for out-half Deasy to land a decisive injury-time penalty. Could the script be written for the former Munster player to repeat the trick in another tight tussle?

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, September 20, 2014: Cork Constitution 13 Lansdowne 16, Temple Hill; Saturday, March 7, 2015: Lansdowne 27 Cork Constitution 20, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win

TERENURE COLLEGE (9th) v GALWEGIANS (5th), Lakelands Park, 4.30pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Terenure College: L; Galwegians: W
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Robert Duke 5; Tries: Robert Duke 1; Galwegians: Points: Cormac Brennan, Ed O’Keeffe 1 each; Tries: Cormac Brennan, Ed O’Keeffe each

Preview: Galwegians head coach Matt Brown will have been buoyed by the manner of their gritty one-point triumph over top flight regulars Cork Con last Saturday.

Now eyeing up a Dublin scalp, Brown said: “We’re stepping into the unknown (in Division 1A). There’s a lot of recruitment that’s gone on in and around Dublin. It might take us a little while to adjust, but fingers crossed we’re got the right talent to compete with these sides.”

Terenure’s error count was high as they succumbed to in-form Old Belvedere (27-8). They were missing some key players through injury, including James Thornton and Ian Hanly, and will want to put that forgettable performance behind them at ‘fortress Lakelands’.

Recent League Meeting – Saturday, September 29, 2012: Terenure College 19 Galwegians 8, Lakelands Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win