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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

24 hours before Ireland launch the GUINNESS Series against Canada, Lansdowne and UCD will go head-to-head on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch as the battle continues for hard-earned Ulster Bank League Division 1A points.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, November 12

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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LANSDOWNE (2nd) v UCD (7th), Aviva Stadium back pitch, Friday, November 11, 7.30pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Lansdowne: WWLLWW; UCD: LWLLLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 57; Tries: Joe McSwiney, John O’Donnell 3 each; UCD: Points: Cillian Burke 22; Tries: Tom Fletcher, Jamie Glynn 3 each

Preview: Momentum is everything in the top flight and Lansdowne, having knocked previous leaders Trinity off their perch, certainly have it. Ireland Sevens international John O’Donnell, who is partnering Mark Roche at centre, has contributed three tries so far.

Visitors UCD have their own burgeoning midfield maestro in teenager Tommy O’Brien who marked his first two league appearances with two tries. The students were good value for their home win over Garryowen last week.

Lansdowne took a 22-20 verdict when they last hosted UCD and although Andy Skehan’s current crop will be a handful, the combination of their Ian Prendiville-led scrum and Scott Deasy’s reliable boot should produce another ‘W’ for the headquarters club.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 7, 2015: UCD 39 Lansdowne 10, Belfield Bowl; Saturday, January 30, 2016: Lansdowne 22 UCD 20, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win

CORK CONSTITUTION (4th) v CLONTARF (8th), Temple Hill

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Cork Constitution: WLLWWW; Clontarf: WLLWLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Tomas Quinlan 60; Tries: Shane Daly 4; Clontarf: Points: Rob Keogh 57; Tries: Matt D’Arcy 3

Preview: History will be made on Leeside as Joy Neville, who has had a rapid rise up the IRFU match official ranks, becomes the first woman to referee an Ulster Bank League Division 1A fixture.

The former Ireland Women’s international will oversee two teams with contrasting form at present, Cork Constitution on a three-match winning streak and teetering title holders Clontarf losing four of their last five games.

Con’s pack has been providing the platform for their wins, led by influential locks Brian Hayes and Conor Kindregan, but ‘Tarf will travel in the hope that they can repeat last February’s 18-12 victory at Temple Hill.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 20, 2016: Cork Constitution 12 Clontarf 18, Temple Hill; Sunday, May 8, 2016 – Final: Clontarf 28 Cork Constitution 25, Aviva Stadium

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

GARRYOWEN (9th) v ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (6th), Dooradoyle

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Garryowen: LWWLLL; St. Mary’s College: LWLWWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Neil Cronin 48; Tries: Andrew O’Byrne, David Johnston 2 each; St. Mary’s College: Points: Sean Kearns 47; Tries: David Fanagan, Terry Kennedy, Darren Moroney 2 each

Preview: After three defeats in a row to Dublin clubs, Garryowen face another capital side in St. Mary’s who are three places and four points better off than the second-from-bottom Light Blues.

Captain Neil Cronin’s late penalty gave Garryowen a losing bonus point away to UCD, but they really need to create more chances and start putting them away as the Limerick men have not scored more than 16 points in any of their last five outings.

There is the added incentive of lifting the Shay Deering trophy for both clubs at Dooradoyle, and with Ireland Sevens speedster Terry Kennedy sparking their five-try second half against Young Munster, Mary’s have the firepower to take the spoils here.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 12, 2014: St. Mary’s College 40 Garryowen 26, Templeville Road; Saturday, April 25, 2015 – Relegation/Promotion Play-Off: St. Mary’s College 3 Garryowen 13, Templeville Road

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: St. Mary’s College to win

OLD BELVEDERE (3rd) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (5th), Anglesea Road

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Old Belvedere: WLWWLW; Dublin University: WLWWWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Old Belvedere: Points: Willie Staunton 51; Tries: Shane McDonald 3; Dublin University: Points: Jack McDermott 65; Tries: Colm Hogan 4

Preview: A big test for Dublin University just a week on from losing their grip on top spot. Both Old Belvedere and Trinity have led the league in the early rounds, and the pair are currently part of five front-running clubs separated by only five points.

The students were mostly undone by Scott Deasy’s boot in a 25-14 loss to Lansdowne, so improved discipline will be top of Tony Smeeth’s check list for this short trip to Ballsbridge.

Munster signing Steve Crosbie starred with a 15-point kicking contribution in ‘Belvo’s round 6 success at Clontarf, but there should be some try-scoring fireworks tomorrow with attack-minded full-backs Daniel Riordan and Jack Kelly aiming to spark two talented back-lines.

Recent League Meetings – N/A

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dublin University to win

TERENURE COLLEGE (10th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (1st), Lakelands Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Terenure College: LLWLLL; Young Munster: LWWLWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Jake Swaine 41; Tries: Jake Swaine, James O’Neill 3 each; Young Munster: Points: David O’Mahony 54; Tries: Rob Guerin 3

Preview: Given these clubs’ respective positions in the table, it looks a simple equation at Lakelands. However, bottom-placed Terenure are always very tough to beat on home turf and their recent results belie their level of performance.

Disappointing second halves have seen ‘Nure lose out to St. Mary’s and Cork Con, their attack faltering at crucial stages. They are also falling foul of the referee’s whistle, with two yellow cards proving costly against Con.

While delighted with his side’s free-scoring form, Young Munster boss Gearoid Prendergast will demand a miserly defence from his charges after leaking 29 second half points to Mary’s. Still, the Cookies have a winning mentality at the moment and should stay top of the pile.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 28, 2015: Terenure College 8 Young Munster 26, Lakelands Park; Saturday, January 9, 2016: Young Munster 14 Terenure College 6, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win