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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

The Ulster Bank League is mirroring the European and British & Irish Cup competitions with two back-to-back rounds before Christmas, so tomorrow’s Division 1A fixtures – including the Munster derby between Garryowen and Cork Constitution – will have plenty of added spice.


Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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This season sees the introduction of the #UBLTry of the Month award with a prize of 250 euro for each monthly winner and entry into the Try of the Year award.

CLONTARF (5th) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (8th), Castle Avenue

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Clontarf: LWLWWWLW; Dublin University: LLLWWLWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: David Joyce 31; Tries: Matt D’Arcy 6; Dublin University: Points: Michael Silvester 25; Tries: Michael Silvester 5

Preview: You could forgive Dublin University for approaching this game with caution given they were hammered 62-0 over the course of last season’s two meetings.

However, Clontarf are yet to peak this term and were fortunate to come away with the spoils from Young Munster last week, with last-minute penalty hero Conor Kelly, who is just 18, coming up trumps.

Two notable achievements for both clubs saw Trinity centre Seb Fromm make his 15s international debut for Germany against Chile last week, while Clontarf’s front row regular Vakh Abdaladze is on the Leinster bench against Benetton in Italy tomorrow.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 3, 2016: Clontarf 33 Dublin University 0, Castle Avenue; Saturday, January 28, 2017: Dublin University 0 Clontarf 29, College Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

GARRYOWEN (2nd) v CORK CONSTITUTION (3rd), Dooradoyle

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Garryowen: LWWLWLWW; Cork Constitution: WLWLLWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Neil Cronin 72; Tries: Liam Coombes 5; Cork Constitution: Points: Tomas Quinlan 65; Tries: Kevin O’Byrne, Conor Kindregan, JJ O’Neill, Ned Hodson, Graeme Lawler 2 each

Preview: This should be a belter of a Munster derby with second-placed Garryowen and defending champions Cork Constitution both coming into form, earning five wins between them in the last three rounds.

Liam Coombes, Neil Cronin and David Johnston were three key cogs in the Light Blues’ bonus point win at Trinity last week, with Lisheen youngster Coombes scoring a hat-trick of tries.

Cork Con are grinding out wins – Tomas Quinlan’s trusty left boot rescued them in round 8 – and they could gain crucial ground in these back-to-back clashes, as Garryowen are among their main rivals for a home semi-final berth.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 1, 2016: Garryowen 16 Cork Constitution 13, Dooradoyle; Saturday, March 25, 2017: Cork Constitution 26 Garryowen 20, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (9th) v BUCCANEERS (10th), Templeville Road

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: St. Mary’s College: WLLWLLLL; Buccaneers: LLLLLLLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – St. Mary’s College: Points: Sean Kearns 36; Tries: Tim Maupin 4; Buccaneers: Points: Luke Carty 49; Tries: Rory O’Connor 7

Preview: There was huge pride in the St. Mary’s performance at the home of the champions last Saturday, which would have been a winning one with a bit more luck for Ciaran Ruddock and his team-mates.

Denied by Tomas Quinlan’s last-minute penalty, Mary’s return home with young out-half Conor Dean really growing in stature. Buccaneers too have renewed confidence after breaking their duck at home to UCD, aided by the efforts of influential locks Peter Claffey and Cian Romaine.

Two of the best finishers in the top flight at present will feature tomorrow afternoon, with St. Mary’s American winger Tim Maupin currently on four tries and Buccs flyer Rory O’Connor topping the Division 1A charts with seven scores.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 17, 2015: Buccaneers 20 St. Mary’s College 24, Dubarry Park; Saturday, February 2016, St. Mary’s College 19 Buccaneers 16, Templeville Road

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Buccaneers to win

TERENURE COLLEGE (4th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (7th), Lakelands Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WWWWLWLL; Young Munster: LLWLWWLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Mark O’Neill 59; Tries: Eoin Joyce 4; Young Munster: Points: Shane Airey 22; Tries: Ben Kilkenny 4

Preview: No wins for either side in the last two rounds, but Terenure did run leaders Lansdowne close in a Friday Night Lights battle and a Ger Slattery-inspired Young Munster were a whisker away from beating Clontarf.

The pressure is very much on Munsters given they have fallen to seventh overall and are eight points adrift of fourth-placed Terenure, for whom number 8 Eoin Joyce has chipped in with four tries to date.

Building momentum before the Christmas break is vital for both of these sides, with the Cookies aiming to repeat last season’s 31-23 victory at Lakelands Park. Hooker Slattery was one of their four try scorers that day.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 12, 2016: Terenure College 23 Young Munster 31, Lakelands Park; Saturday, February 11, 2017: Young Munster 17 Terenure College 28, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win

UCD (6th) v LANSDOWNE (1st), Belfield Bowl

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: UCD: WWLLLLWL; Lansdowne: WWWWWWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: Ciaran Frawley 40; Tries: Jamie Glynn 3; Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 93; Tries: Mark O’Keefe 4

Preview: Lansdowne had a slice of luck against Terenure with a controversial try awarded in their favour, but they continue to find a way to win – even when losing two props to the sin-bin.

It is the depth of their squad which has them 10 points clear at the summit, evidence of this being the impact last week of Adam Leavy, a late inclusion on the left wing, and replacement scrum half Charlie Rock who teed up that disputed Daniel McEvoy score.

UCD emerged scoreless from a late onslaught on the Buccaneers’ line last Saturday, and they have fallen off the play-off pace despite the best efforts of skipper Jamie Glynn, Emmet MacMahon and Ciaran Frawley, who has started at out-half and full-back in recent rounds.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, November 11, 2016: Lansdowne 45 UCD 10, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Friday, February 10, 2017: UCD 8 Lansdowne 45, Belfield Bowl 

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win