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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Whether you are in Cork, Galway, Limerick or Dublin this Saturday, Ulster Bank League Division 1A has you covered with five cracking contests to be played as we reach the two-thirds mark of the regular season.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, January 30

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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CORK CONSTITUTION (4th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (5th), Temple Hill

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Cork Constitution: LDLDWWLLWW; Young Munster: LDLDWWWWLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Tomas Quinlan 102; Tries: James Murphy 3; Young Munster: Points: Paul Downes 48; Tries: Alan Kennedy 3

Preview: Cork Constitution have gained four places since the turn of the year, putting 32 points on both Terenure College and Old Belvedere and reaching another Bateman Cup final most recently.

If they can maintain that sort of momentum, Brian Hickey’s men look very capable of avenging a narrow defeat to Young Munster from November and strengthening their push for a play-off spot.

Con v Munsters clashes have a history of being tight affairs, and Tomas Quinlan and Gearoid Lyons will be sure to have their kicking boots on for this latest encounter between the clubs.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 21, 2015: Young Munster 3 Cork Constitution 6, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, November 7, 2015: Young Munster 11 Cork Constitution 10, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

GALWEGIANS (8th) v CLONTARF (2nd), Crowley Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Galwegians: WLLWLLLWWL; Clontarf: WWWDLWWDWLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Galwegians: Points: Aidan Moynihan 46; Tries: Ed O’Keeffe 6; Clontarf: Points: Joey Carbery 101; Tries: Mick McGrath 9

Preview: A big game here for both sides as Galwegians look to build on their qualification for the Bateman Cup final, while second-placed Clontarf aim for their first league win of 2016.

‘Tarf lost to Garryowen and Lansdowne earlier in the month, by seven and one-point margins respectively, and they need a strong response here as a number of clubs are gathering behind them in the play-off race.

All four tries in their cup semi-final victory over Ballynahinch came from the forwards, but ‘Wegians will be hoping winger Ed O’Keeffe can add to his six-try tally. The same goes for ‘Tarf danger man Mick McGrath (9 tries) who, like O’Keeffe, is back from British & Irish Cup duty.

Recent League Meeting – Saturday, November 7, 2015: Clontarf 16 Galwegians 9, Castle Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

GARRYOWEN (3rd) v OLD BELVEDERE (7th), Dooradoyle

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Garryowen: WDWLWLWLLWL; Old Belvedere: WLWWWLLWLLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Neil Cronin 75; Tries: Neil Cronin 5; Old Belvedere: Points: Shane McDonald 52; Tries: Rory O’Loughlin, Daniel Riordan 5 each

Preview: Although three defeats on the trot have slightly derailed Old Belvedere’s play-off bid, they remain within touching distance of the top four. Victory in Limerick would give them a big fillip.

‘Belvo looked at a low ebb when going down 32-0 to Cork Con last time out, their pack were very much second best on the day and usually-influential backs Daniel Riordan and Steve Crosbie had limited opportunities.

Garryowen also have ground to make up after a disappointing 45-19 loss at league leaders UCD. Scrum half Neil Cronin continued his talismanic form, scoring a try and two conversions to take his season’s haul to 75 points. A better collective effort should see the Light Blues rewarded on their home patch.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 19, 2014: Garryowen 23 Old Belvedere 18, Dooradoyle; Saturday, November 7, 2015: Old Belvedere 13 Garryowen 28, Anglesea Road

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win

TERENURE COLLEGE (9th) v BALLYNAHINCH (10th), Lakelands Park, 3pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Terenure College: LWLWWLWLLL; Ballynahinch: LLLLLLLLWLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Jake Swaine 36; Tries: James O’Neill, James O’Donoghue, Jake Swaine, Ian Hanly 2 each; Ballynahinch: Points: Chris Quinn 73; Tries: Craig Trenier, Aaron Cairns 3 each

Preview: Terenure College only lost seven games on the way to finishing second in the table last year. The current campaign has been a difficult one, though, with six defeats already in their ten outings.

Injuries have played a sizable part in ‘Nure’s struggles for consistency, and not enough of their regular starters are firing on all cylinders. On the bright side, a couple of wins could have them back in the chasing pack.

Two triumphs in the last three rounds, allied to a gritty Bateman Cup showing against Galwegians, show Ballynahinch have well and truly bounced back from their early season woes. With their Ulster ‘A’ players back on board, ‘Hinch have a decent shot at securing their first away league victory since last March. 

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 6, 2014: Ballynahinch 14 Terenure College 10, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, November 7, 2015: Ballynahinch 6 Terenure College 30, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win

LANSDOWNE (6th) v UCD (1st), Aviva Stadium back pitch, 4.30pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Lansdowne: WDWLLWLDLWW; UCD: LWWDLWWWWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 98; Tries: Joe O’Brien 3; UCD: Points: Conall Doherty, Barry Daly 45 each; Tries: Barry Daly 9

Preview: Undoubtedly the match of the day in Division 1A as reigning champions Lansdowne, biting back with two successive wins, host a table-topping UCD team who boast the best attack and defence in the top flight.

Minus some of their leading lights due to British & Irish Cup duty, the students were knocked out of the Bateman Cup by Cork Con. Some of those players will return for this much-anticipated trip to headquarters, as Noel McNamara’s youngsters look to follow up on November’s 39-10 success against Lansdowne.

Mike Ruddock’s side have certainly improved since then. The returning Adam Griggs and Charlie Butterworth are two high quality additions at half-back and in the back row, while captain Scott Deasy – as he showed against Clontarf recently – is a match winner through and through. Expect another big performance from the Corkman.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 21, 2015: UCD 38 Lansdowne 31, Belfield Bowl; Saturday, November 7, 2015: UCD 39 Lansdowne 10, Belfield Bowl

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win