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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

For any rugby fans not lucky enough to be going to Twickenham on Saturday, there is a full programme of games in Ulster Bank League Division 1A going ahead with four mouth-watering clashes in the capital.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, February 27

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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CLONTARF (2nd) v YOUNG MUNSTER (3rd), Castle Avenue

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Clontarf: WWWDLWWDWLLWWW; Young Munster: LDLDWWWWLWWWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Joey Carbery 117; Tries: Mick McGrath 9; Young Munster: Points: Gearoid Lyons 80; Tries: Alan Kennedy 4

Preview: Clontarf may be enjoying a three-match winning run, but Young Munster’s form is arguably better at the moment with recent victories in Cork, Dublin and Limerick.

Munsters are back on the road to the capital for this second-hosts-third clash, and the lineout battle alone (between the likes of Ben Reilly and Sean Duggan) is one to watch out for.

Both sides boast powerful and destructive forwards, with Clontarf benefiting from the presence of Leinster hookers Aaron Dundon and Bryan Byrne, and the result may well be decided by the pack that comes out on top. 

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 6, 2014: Young Munster 18 Clontarf 17, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, October 3, 2015: Young Munster 27 Clontarf 27, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win

GARRYOWEN (4th) v TERENURE COLLEGE (9th), Dooradoyle

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Garryowen: WDWLWLWLLWLWDL; Terenure College: LWLWWLWLLLLLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Neil Cronin 95; Tries: Neil Cronin, James McInerney 5 each; Terenure College: Points: Jake Swaine 59; Tries: James O’Donoghue, Jake Swaine 3 each

Preview: Contrasting fortunes for these sides last weekend with Garryowen – minus their talismanic captain Josh Hrstich – well beaten by Galwegians, while Terenure College roused themselves with a 13-0 success against UCD.

Skillful winger Jake Swaine scored all of ‘Nure’s points against the students, and it was his 82nd minute penalty that guided James Blaney’s men to a 23-22 victory over Garryowen in October.

The pressure is on the Light Blues to deliver a winning performance. As things stand, they would reach the play-offs by a single point, but Cork Constitution are breathing down their necks with a game in hand.

Recent League Meeting – Saturday, October 3, 2015: Terenure College 23 Garryowen 22, Lakelands Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win

LANSDOWNE (6th) v GALWEGIANS (8th), Aviva Stadium back pitch

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Lansdowne: WDWLLWLDLWWWDL; Galwegians: WLLWLLLWWLLLLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 136; Tries: Joe O’Brien, Scott Deasy 3 each; Galwegians: Points: Aidan Moynihan 49; Tries: Ed O’Keeffe 7

Preview: Lansdowne’s hopes of defending their title in the play-offs took a hit with last week’s 26-15 reversal to Old Belvedere, despite Scott Deasy breaking through for a try after just 40 seconds.

They were error-strewn and lived off scrappy possession, so Mike Ruddock will demand a much-improved display when Galwegians visit looking for a repeat of October’s home win (41-20).

John Cleary and Shane O’Leary played key roles as ‘Wegians got back on track last week against Garryowen (30-17). Wily winger Cleary has now scored five tries in five games so keeping him quiet will be high on Lansdowne’s agenda.

Recent League Meeting – Saturday, October 3, 2015: Galwegians 41 Lansdowne 20, Crowley Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win

OLD BELVEDERE (7th) v BALLYNAHINCH (10th), Anglesea Road

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Old Belvedere: WLWWWLLWLLLLLW; Ballynahinch: LLLLLLLLWLWWLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Old Belvedere: Points: Shane McDonald 60; Tries: Rory O’Loughlin, Daniel Riordan 5 each; Ballynahinch: Points: Chris Quinn 92; Tries: Craig Trenier, Aaron Cairns 3 each

Preview: Old Belvedere’s first win in six matches could set the tone of the rest of their campaign, with 19-point hero Steve Crosbie leading by example in their eye-catching defeat of Lansdowne.

The play-offs remain in reach for ‘Belvo – they are six points behind fourth-placed Garryowen with four rounds remaining – although they still need to distance them from the relegation zone.

Bottom side Ballynahinch are still fighting for their lives. They were unfortunate to come out on the wrong side of a 7-6 scoreline at Young Munster. Notably, tries have been hard to come by with the whitewash not breached in their last two outings.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, March 7, 2015: Old Belvedere 40 Ballynahinch 14, Anglesea Road; Saturday, October 3, 2015: Ballynahinch 24 Old Belvedere 34, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Old Belvedere to win

UCD (1st) v CORK CONSTITUTION (5th), Belfield Bowl

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: UCD: LWWDLWWWWWWLWL; Cork Constitution: LDLDWWLLWWLWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: Conall Doherty 50; Tries: Barry Daly 9; Cork Constitution: Points: Tomas Quinlan 109; Tries: James Murphy, James Ryan 3 each

Preview: UCD were held scoreless last time out, the first time this has happened in the league since November 2007. There will be no panic at Belfield but two losses in three games has seen their lead at the top cut to a single point.

Cork Constitution were contained by Clontarf’s aggressive defence in the previous round, relying on four Darragh Lyons penalties to pick up a losing bonus point. Their game in hand (at home to Terenure next month) is growing in importance.

Con and UCD drew 19-all in October and two of the try scorers that day, Darren Sweetnam and Nick McCarthy, have gone on to get game-time at senior level with Munster and Leinster respectively.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 11, 2015: Cork Constitution 3 UCD 10, Temple Hill; Saturday, October 3, 2015: Cork Constitution 19 UCD 19, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCD to win