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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

A repeat of one of last season’s semi-finals will wrap up round 4 in Ulster Bank League Division 1A, as reigning champions Cork Constitution return to the Aviva Stadium to play in-form Lansdowne on Sunday afternoon.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, October 7

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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UCD (5th) v ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (8th), Belfield Bowl, tonight, 7.30pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: UCD: WWL; St. Mary’s College: WLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: Ciaran Frawley 28; Tries: Jamie Glynn 2; St. Mary’s College: Points: Sean Kearns 23; Tries: Tim Maupin 2

Preview: UCD are set to welcome back Ireland Sevens internationals Billy Dardis and Harry McNulty into their back-three for tonight’s encounter at the Belfield Bowl.

Leinster prop Andrew Porter is also named on the bench as the students look to bounce back from last week’s 18-5 loss to Cork Constitution. St. Mary’s also tasted defeat in round 3 against neighbours Terenure.

Mary’s did the double over UCD last season and their provisional starting back-line includes two members of last year’s St. Mary’s Leinster Schools Senior Cup side – Myles Carey on the right wing and Craig Kennedy on the left.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 8, 2016: UCD 13 St. Mary’s College 19, Belfield Bowl; Saturday, March 11, 2017: St. Mary’s College 18 UCD 32, Templeville Road

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCD to win

CLONTARF (6th) v BUCCANEERS (9th), Castle Avenue

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Clontarf: LWL; Buccaneers: LLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Conor Jennings 19; Tries: Matt D’Arcy 3; Buccaneers: Points: Rory O’Connor 15; Tries: Rory O’Connor 3

Preview: Clontarf severely under-performed in last week’s 51-17 trouncing by Garryowen. A dose of home comforts should get them back on track tomorrow, but Buccaneers are no pushovers.

The Pirates lost their grip on a 24-13 lead against Young Munster, their luckless three-match run not even netting them a bonus point. Flanker Dan Law is their main injury concern this week.

Two of the top flight’s leading try scorers will be on show at Castle Avenue – Matt D’Arcy and Rory O’Connor (three each) – and you would have to back rangy centre D’Arcy to drive ‘Tarf back to winning ways. 

Recent League Meetings – N/A

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

TERENURE COLLEGE (1st) v GARRYOWEN (3rd), Lakelands Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WWW; Garryowen: LWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Mark O’Neill 25; Tries: Niall Lalor 3; Garryowen: Points: Neil Cronin 30; Tries: Liam Coombes 2

Preview: A new season and it is very much a ‘new’ Terenure. Three straight wins, including last week’s derby victory over St. Mary’s, has them already halfway to matching their 2016/17 total.

James Blaney will have their feet firmly planted on the ground, though, as Garryowen are also in flying form. They put a combined 80 points on Buccs and Clontarf at home – their task now is to win on their travels.

Two players who have been crucial to these clubs’ strong starts are half-backs Mark O’Neill, who has kicked 25 points for ‘Nure and orchestrated some telling moves, and Neil Cronin whose 26-point haul for the Light Blues last Saturday gave a reminder of his versatile talent.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 3, 2016: Garryowen 41 Terenure College 25, Dooradoyle; Saturday, January 28, 2017: Terenure College 27 Garryowen 17, Lakelands Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win

YOUNG MUNSTER (7th) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (10th), Tom Clifford Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Young Munster: LLW; Dublin University: LLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Ben Kilkenny 10; Tries: Ben Kilkenny 2; Dublin University: Points: Michael Courtney 10; Tries: Michael Courtney 2

Preview: Buoyed by their second half fight-back against Buccaneers, which was crowned by a Gavin Coombes try, Young Munster will have revenge on their minds against Dublin University.

Trinity were the only club to do the double over Munsters last year, but a combination of injuries and players moving on means their director of rugby Tony Smeeth is without a large chunk of that victorious squad.

The students are still capable of moments of magic – witness Michael Silvester’s 80-metre wonder try against Lansdowne last week. However, the Cookies should have too much for them as they look to make it two wins from four.   

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 8, 2016: Dublin University 32 Young Munster 27, College Park; Saturday, March 11, 2017: Young Munster 12 Dublin University 15, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win

LANSDOWNE (2nd) v CORK CONSTITUTION (4th), Aviva Stadium back pitch, Sunday, 2.30pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Lansdowne: WWW; Cork Constitution: WLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 34; Tries: Eamonn Mills 3; Cork Constitution: Points: Tomas Quinlan 39; Tries: Shane Daly, Rob Jermyn, Brendan Quinlan, Tomas Quinlan, Kevin O’Byrne, Conor Kindregan, Brian Hayes, Greg Higgins, Luke Cahill 1 each

Preview: Division 1A’s third Leinster v Munster club clash of the weekend has been moved to Sunday afternoon to accommodate the GUINNESS PRO14 derby at headquarters tomorrow.

Cork Constitution have developed a fondness for the Aviva Stadium’s all-weather back pitch, having won twice there last season, including the semi-final, on the way to becoming champions in May.

Lansdowne will certainly feel that they owe Con one. They put eight tries on Trinity last time out and have the firepower, including the inaugural UBL Try of the Month winner Daniel McEvoy, to put an early dent in the Leesiders’ title defence.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, March 11, 2017: Lansdowne 20 Cork Constitution 25, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Sunday, April 23, 2017: Semi-Final: Lansdowne 16 Cork Constitution 19, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win