Jump to main content


Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

There are a couple of blockbuster clashes in Division 1B tomorrow with the top of the table pairing of Shannon and Ballynahinch meeting at Ballymacarn Park, while the Colours bragging rights will be claimed by either UL Bohemians and UCC.


Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

Ulster Bank League Results Service: Send UBL to 51444. To unsubscribe send the word STOP to 0876445950. Search #UBL on Twitter for club updates.

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.

BALLYMENA (9th) v OLD BELVEDERE (3rd), Eaton Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Ballymena: WLLLWLLL; Old Belvedere: LLWDWWLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Ballymena: Points: Brett Herron 60; Tries: Rodger McBurney 3; Old Belvedere: Points: Tim Foley 76; Tries: Shane McDonald 3

Preview: Eddie O’Sullivan’s Old Belvedere put in their best performance of the season so far in seeing off Naas’ challenge 28-10. Last week’s four tries were shared out by a back-line marshalled by streetwise full-back Daniel Riordan.

Ballymena have lost all four of their home games and have been guilty of playing rugby in the wrong areas of the pitch. Marcus Rea and Bryan Young picked up injuries against Shannon, while Callum Patterson, Glenn Baillie and Mark Foster face late fitness tests.

This is Old Belvedere’s first trip to Eaton Park since January 2010 when they emerged as 26-10 winners. Andy Dunne, who is now assistant coach to O’Sullivan, kicked three conversions that day.

Recent League Meetings – N/A

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballymena to win

BALLYNAHINCH (2nd) v SHANNON (1st), Ballymacarn Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Ballynahinch: LWWWLWWW; Shannon: WWWWWWLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Johnny McPhillips 66; Tries: Richard Reaney, Conor Kelly, David Busby, Johnny McPhillips 3 each; Shannon: Points: Conor Fitzgerald 93; Tries: Conor Fitzgerald 5

Preview: This top of the table clash has all the ingredients to be a classic contest. Shannon should have young scrum half Jack Stafford back from his Munster debut against Zebre.

Stafford’s half-back partnership with Conor Fitzgerald, the division’s leading scorer with 93 points, has been a driving force for Tom Hayes’ in-form side. Ulster duo Johnny McPhillips and Aaron Cairns have been doing just as good a job in directing Ballynahinch.

The Co. Down outfit are without the injured Jonny Simpson, Jack Regan and Aaron Hall. Shannon won a losing bonus point on their last visit to Ballymacarn Park but Hayes’ men look capable of more on their return.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 1, 2016: Ballynahinch 18 Shannon 12, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, March 25, 2017: Shannon 30 Ballynahinch 14, Thomond Park back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Shannon to win

BANBRIDGE (4th) v DOLPHIN (10th), Rifle Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Banbridge: WDWWWLWL; Dolphin: LWLLLLLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Banbridge: Points: Ian Porter 76; Tries: Andrew Morrison 4; Dolphin: Points: Barry Keeshan 48; Tries: Brian Scott 2

Preview: Having been a kick of a ball away from winning at Old Wesley in round 8, fourth-placed Banbridge will be determined to right the wrongs of that performance when bottom side Dolphin come to town.

Ian Porter’s narrowly-missed conversion was the difference at Donnybrook in a 21-20 verdict. A losing bonus point was also Dolphin’s only reward against UL Bohemians. The Corkmen have relied on assistant coach and out-half Barry Keeshan for 48 of their 86 points so far.

There are obvious areas for improvement according to Bann boss Daniel Soper who said: “We had a lot of unforced handling errors against Wesley. That’s something that’s been very, very good this season. We were also getting a bit flat so that’s something we’ll have to keep working at.”

Recent League Meetings – N/A

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Banbridge to win

NAAS (7th) v OLD WESLEY (6th), Forenaughts

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Naas: WWLLLLWL; Old Wesley: LLLDLWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Naas: Points: Peter Osborne 32; Tries: Fionn Higgins 5; Old Wesley: Points: Jack Maybury 73; Tries: Jack Maybury 4

Preview: This looks an intriguing encounter as Naas are always tough to beat at home, and Old Wesley are brimming with confidence after three wins on the bounce.

The sides are level in mid-table on 17 points apiece, with Naas player-coach Johne Murphy freshening up his line-up tomorrow as Stephen Lackey, Andrew Kearney and Warren Larkin all come into the pack, while Niall Delahunt and Shane Thompstone slot in on the wings.

Try-scoring prop Cronan Gleeson and lineout-stealing number 8 Matthew Bursey were two of Wesley’s leading lights in that dramatic win over Bann. More of the same will be required at the home of the Cobras.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, December 2, 2016: Old Wesley 19 Naas 16, Donnybrook; Friday, January 27, 2017: Naas 27 Old Wesley 8, Forenaughts 

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Naas to win

UL BOHEMIANS (8th) v UCC (5th), University of Limerick 4G pitch

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: UL Bohemians: LLWLLLLW; UCC: LDLWWWWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – UL Bohemians: Points: Robbie Bourke 38; Tries: James Ryan 4; UCC: Points: James Taylor 85; Tries: Cian Bohane, Murray Linn, Richard Walsh 3 each

Preview: UL Bohemians had the measure of UCC twice last season, but the tables have turned this term, with the fifth-placed Cork students a full 10 points clear of inconsistent UL.

However, a one-off fixture such as tomorrow’s Colours clash on the 4G pitch in Limerick is exactly the sort of game that could get Christy Neilan’s Bohs back firing on all cylinders.

A Harry Fleming try saw them return to winning ways against Dolphin, while UCC’s four-match winning streak was ended by Ballynahinch (22-18) last week. The visitors’ young out-half James Taylor is the division’s second top scorer with 85 points.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 3, 2016: UL Bohemians 18 UCC 17, University of Limerick 4G pitch; Saturday, January 28, 2017: UCC 9 UL Bohemians 18, the Mardyke

Irish Rugby.ie Prediction: UCC to win