The Irish Rugby TV cameras will be at Belfield tonight as the Colours match kicks off what promises to be an exciting penultimate round in Ulster Bank League Division 1A. The action continues on Saturday with plenty to play for.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, April 8
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
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UCD (5th) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (7th), Belfield Bowl, Friday, April 7, 6.30pm (live on Irish Rugby TV)
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: UCD: LWLLLWLWLWWLLWWD; Dublin University: WLWWWLWLLLLWLWWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: Matthew Gilsenan 52; Tries: Tom Fletcher 6; Dublin University: Points: Jack McDermott 91; Tries: Colm Hogan 7
Preview: The annual Colours match has an added dimension this year with Division 1A points on the line. Three points currently separate the sides in fifth and seventh places respectively.
Dublin University, whose goal-kicking winger Bryan Mollen starred for the Ireland Students last Sunday, won 28-15 at home last season thanks to a stellar second half performance.
However, home advantage and their spread of Leinster Academy talent mean that UCD look well placed to complete a season’s double over Trinity. They were 23-13 winners at College Park in September, with Peadar Timmins and captain Jamie Glynn both touching down.
Recent League Meetings – Friday, February 22, 2013: UCD 17 Dublin University 10, Belfield Bowl; Saturday, September 24, 2016: Dublin University 13 UCD 23, College Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCD to win
ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (6th) v CLONTARF (4th), Templeville Road, Friday, April 7, 7.30pm
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: St. Mary’s College: LWLWWLLLLWLWLWLW; Clontarf: WLLWLLLWWWLWWWWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – St. Mary’s College: Points: Sean Kearns 47; Tries: David Fanagan 5; Clontarf: Points: Rob Keogh 97; Tries: Matt D’Arcy 8
Preview: St. Mary’s 37-24 victory at Trinity two weeks ago should be enough to secure their top flight status for another year, with Darren Moroney and Gus Jones both impressing.
However, Mary’s will miss talismanic out-half Cathal Marsh who is out with a quad strain, and they host a Clontarf side still hunting for a home semi-final.
The defending champions were stung late on by Young Munster last time out, but returning centre/winger Conor O’Brien, who lined out for Leinster ‘A’ last week, should give their attack some added bite.
Recent League Meetings – Friday, February 27, 2015: St. Mary’s College 21 Clontarf 17, Templeville Road; Saturday, September 24, 2016: Clontarf 20 St. Mary’s College 23, Castle Avenue
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win
GARRYOWEN (9th) v OLD BELVEDERE (10th), Dooradoyle
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Garryowen: LWWLLLWWWLLLWLLL; Old Belvedere: WLWWWLLLWLLLLLLD
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Neil Cronin 121; Tries: Liam Coombes 5; Old Belvedere: Points: Willie Staunton 84; Tries: Daniel Riordan 5
Preview: This is effectively a relegation shoot-out. It is a win-or-bust scenario for Old Belvedere who trail Garryowen by three points at the foot of the table.
Belvedere’s recent draw with Lansdowne ended their six-match losing run, with star full-back Daniel Riordan scoring his third try in as many games.
Garryowen got the performance but not the result away to Cork Constitution, and would love to put one over on a ‘Belvo camp that includes their ex-head coach Paul Cunningham and former out-halves Willie Staunton and Eddie O’Sullivan.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 30, 2016: Garryowen 27 Old Belvedere 14, Dooradoyle; Saturday, September 24, 2016: Old Belvedere 11 Garryowen 13, Anglesea Road
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Old Belvedere to win
TERENURE COLLEGE (8th) v LANSDOWNE (1st), Lakelands Park
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Terenure College: LLWLLLLLLWWWLLWD; Lansdowne: WWLLWWWWWLWWWLLD
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Jake Swaine 78; Tries: Marc Hiney, Eoin Joyce 4 each; Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 155; Tries: Daniel McEvoy 10
Preview: Terenure will have to do it the hard way if they are avoid finishing in the bottom two. They host leaders Lansdowne tomorrow before a final round trip to Trinity.
‘Nure went down 29-5 to Lansdowne in September but the headquarters club have not shown that form of late, suffering two defeats and a draw.
A strong defensive performance at UCD will have boosted James Blaney’s troops, but they need to lock out the scrum as the Lansdowne front row were dominant in that round 2 tie.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, March 5, 2016: Terenure College 32 Lansdowne 3, Lakelands Park; Saturday, September 24, 2016: Lansdowne 29 Terenure College 5, Aviva Stadium main pitch
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win
YOUNG MUNSTER (3rd) v CORK CONSTITUTION (2nd), Temple Hill
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Young Munster: LWWLWWWLLWWLWLLW; Cork Constitution: WLLWWWWWWLWLWWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Alan Tynan 81; Tries: Cian Bohane, Rob Guerin 5 each; Cork Constitution: Points: Tomas Quinlan 162; Tries: Shane Daly, Conor Kindregan 5 each
Preview: Max Abbott’s decisive try against Garryowen has moved Cork Constitution into second place, two points clear of Young Munster who had their own late hero at Clontarf in Alan Tynan.
The provincial rivals meet in Greenfields tomorrow with the huge incentive of a home semi-final to aim for. Robin Copeland’s try double was the highlight of Munsters’ stunning 37-15 win at Temple Hill in September.
Con gained revenge to retain the Munster Senior Cup in February and although the Cookies have been vulnerable at home (four defeats in eight league games), the carrot of a top-two finish should inspire Gearoid Prendergast’s side to victory.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 23, 2016: Semi-final: Cork Constitution 22 Young Munster 16, Temple Hill; Saturday, September 24, 2016: Cork Constitution 15 Young Munster 37, Temple Hill
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win