Two juicy Dublin derby matches kick off the action in Ulster Bank League Division 1A tonight, as Old Belvedere entertain defending champions Lansdowne and Terenure College make the trip to in-form UCD.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, October 17
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
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OLD BELVEDERE (2nd) v LANSDOWNE (5th), Anglesea Road, tonight, 7.30pm
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Old Belvedere: WLWW; Lansdowne: WDWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Old Belvedere: Points: Shane McDonald 38; Tries: Rory O’Loughlin 4; Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 37; Tries: Brian Moylett, Tom Farrell 2 each
Preview: Lansdowne had no complaints after their 21-point defeat at Galwegians in the last round, with Mike Ruddock’s men leaking five tries in all – four of them out wide.
This is a tough assignment for the defending champions under the Anglesea Road floodlights, particularly as Old Belvedere are chasing their fourth win in five games.
Lansdowne won both meetings last season by a combined margin of five points. Cian Aherne’s late try-saving tackle on Aidan Wynne proved vital in February’s 17-13 away victory, and the visitors are likely to need similar defensive grit to get a result tonight.
Recent League Meetings – Friday, January 2, 2015: Lansdowne 21 Old Belvedere 20, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Friday, February 27, 2015: Old Belvedere 13 Lansdowne 17, Anglesea Road
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win
UCD (3rd) v TERENURE COLLEGE (7th), Belfield Bowl, tonight, 7.30pm
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – UCD: LWWD; Terenure College: LWLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: Billy Dardis 23; Tries: Billy Dardis, Barry Daly 3 each; Terenure College: Points: Stephen O’Neill 20; Tries: Robert Duke, Harry Moore, Oisin Heffernan, Eoin Joyce, James O’Donoghue, James O’Neill, Niall Lalor, Stephen O’Neill, Ian Hanly 1 each
Preview: UCD director of rugby Bobby Byrne felt their 19-all draw with Cork Constitution was ‘a fair result’, albeit that they left a few try-scoring opportunities behind them on Leeside.
The students are four places before off than Terenure who have had an up-and-down campaign so far, with Jake Swaine’s 82nd-minute penalty edging them past Garryowen last time out.
‘Nure have happy memories of last November’s visit to Belfield when they came from nine points down in the final quarter to win 26-17. Tries from James O’Donoghue and Robert Duke did the trick that night, but UCD, currently on a three-match unbeaten run, look in better shape now.
Recent League Meetings – Friday, November 7, 2014: UCD 17 Terenure College 26, Belfield Bowl; Saturday, December 20, 2014: Terenure College 24 UCD 33, Lakelands Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCD to win
BALLYNAHINCH (10th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (9th), Ballymacarn Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Ballynahinch: LLLL; Young Munster: LDLD
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Richard Reaney 14; Tries: Lorcan Dow 2; Young Munster: Points: Paul Downes 36; Tries: Alan Kennedy 2
Preview: A huge game for both sides even at this early stage of the season. They occupy the division’s bottom two spots and neither managed a win during the opening four rounds.
Young Munster were much improved when drawing 27-all with league leaders Clontarf, but the departure of head coach Anthony Mathison back to Australia for ‘personal reasons’ is particularly untimely. Director of rugby John Staunton has assumed temporary control.
Underage internationals Lorcan Dow and Conor Joyce have stood out in the Ballynahinch back row so far this season, but ‘Hinch need to cut down on the defensive lapses that Old Belvedere ruthlessly punished a fortnight ago.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 8, 2014: Young Munster 29 Ballynahinch 20, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, December 20, 2014: Ballynahinch 30 Young Munster 6, Ballymacarn Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win
CLONTARF (1st) v CORK CONSTITUTION (8th), Castle Avenue
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Clontarf: WWWD; Cork Consitution: LDLD
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Joey Carbery 49; Tries: Mick McGrath 6; Cork Constitution: Points: Tomas Quinlan 46; Tries: Kerry Desmond, Brian Hayes, Luke Cahill, James Murphy, Darren Sweetnam 1 each
Preview: Clontarf needed a late penalty from the division’s top scorer Joey Carbery (49 points) to draw 27-all with Young Munster and extend their unbeaten run to four games.
‘Tarf, who have lost Mick McGrath to the Leinster bench, will have fond memories of last season’s corresponding fixture which they won 43-30. However, Cork Con gained revenge when winning April’s Bateman Cup final 24-9.
Flanker Graeme Lawler was man-of-the-match that day and he could have a big role to play at Castle Avenue as the Leesiders continue to hunt an elusive first victory of the current campaign.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 15, 2014: Cork Constitution 13 Clontarf 10, Temple Hill; Saturday, March 28, 2015: Clontarf 43 Cork Constitution 30, Castle Avenue
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win
GARRYOWEN (4th) v GALWEGIANS (6th), Dooradoyle
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Garryowen: WDWL; Galwegians: WLLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: James Frawley 23; Tries: Steve McMahon 3; Galwegians: Points: Aidan Moynihan 28; Tries: Ed O’Keeffe 5
Preview: The two promoted teams from Division 1B last season have already made quite an impact this term. Galwegians’ 41-20 triumph over title holders Lansdowne is the top flight’s standout result and performance so far.
Garryowen tasted defeat for the first time when going down 23-22 at Terenure in round 4. Munster Academy talent Steve McMahon ran in a long range intercept effort for his third touchdown of the campaign.
‘Wegians’ Connacht Academy winger Ed O’Keeffe bagged a brace against Lansdowne to take his overall try haul to five. The Galway men did the double on Garryowen in 2014/15 and if they maintain the high standards set two weeks ago, they should come away with the points again.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 6, 2014: Garryowen 6 Galwegians 10, Dooradoyle; Saturday, April 11, 2015: Galwegians 17 Garryowen 13, Crowley Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Galwegians to win