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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Previews

The penultimate round in Ulster Bank League Division 1A contains some mouth-watering clashes, with the quartet for the semi-finals still to be decided and Buccaneers and St. Mary’s College scrapping to avoid the drop to the second tier.

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

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.

BUCCANEERS (10th) v GARRYOWEN (4th), Dubarry Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Buccaneers: LLLLLLLWWLLLLLLL; Garryowen: LWWLWLWWWLLWWWLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Buccaneers: Points: Luke Carty 77; Tries: Rory O’Connor 7; Garryowen: Points: Neil Cronin 153; Tries: Liam Coombes 8

Preview: The battle to avoid automatic relegation is now a straight shootout between Buccaneers and St. Mary’s College, with Buccs needing a lifeline at home to Garryowen tomorrow afternoon or else they are doomed to Division 1B.

Entering the penultimate round, the Pirates have seven points to make up on Mary’s, and they will have it all to do against a visiting Light Blues side that is on course for the semi-finals and a shot at the title.

Buccs need to be at their disciplined best or Garryowen captain Neil Cronin will punish them from the tee, while Munster Academy member Liam Coombes – with eight league tries to his name – has to be kept quiet out wide.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 3, 2015: Garryowen 28 Buccaneers 20, Dooradoyle; Saturday, September 23, 2017: Garryowen 29 Buccaneers 17, Dooradoyle

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win

CORK CONSTITUTION (3rd) v TERENURE COLLEGE (2nd), Temple Hill

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Cork Constitution: WLWLLWWWLWWLWLWW; Terenure College: WWWWLWLLWLWLWWWW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Tomas Quinlan 132; Tries: Rob Jermyn 6; Terenure College: Points: Mark O’Neill 101; Tries: Jake Swaine 7

Preview: Second-placed Terenure College, who thrashed neighbours St. Mary’s 35-5 last time out, take a two-point lead with them down to Cork. Intriguingly, Constitution are their closest challengers for a home semi-final berth.

February and March produced four wins on the trot for ‘Nure, with sniping winger Jake Swaine taking his try tally to seven and a number of their players also gaining Ireland Club international honours.

These clubs played out a hugely entertaining contest back in September when the Dubliners won 39-35 at home. However, Cork Con, who had have two tries each from Brian Hayes and Rob Jermyn in the last two rounds, look primed to avenge that result tomorrow.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 18, 2017: Terenure College 10 Cork Constitution 16, Lakelands Park; Saturday, September 23, 2017: Terenure College 39 Cork Constitution 35, Lakelands Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (9th) v CLONTARF (5th), Templeville Road

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: St. Mary’s College: WLLWLLLLLWLWLLLL; Clontarf: LWLWWWLWWWLLWLWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – St. Mary’s College: Points: Sean Kearns 77; Tries: Tim Maupin, Dave Fanagan 4 each; Clontarf: Points: David Joyce 86; Tries: Matt D’Arcy 8

Preview: Dublin University’s Colours win over UCD last night condemned St. Mary’s to a bottom-two finish, leaving Peter Burke’s young side with a a very challenging few weeks ahead of them.

With Caelan Doris back training with Leinster, the Ireland Under-20 starlet’s return would offer a huge boost to Mary’s, but they can expect something of a backlash from Clontarf who lost a nine-try thriller to Garryowen a fortnight ago.

That result saw ‘Tarf fall out of the top four, and even two closing bonus point wins may not be enough for them to reach the semi-finals for a fourth successive year. Their 22-year-old full-back Jack Power, a member of the Munster Academy, is hitting form with three tries in his last two outings.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, April 7, 2017: St. Mary’s College 12 Clontarf 31, Templeville Road; Friday, September 22, 2017: Clontarf 33 St. Mary’s College 16, Castle Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

YOUNG MUNSTER (6th) v LANSDOWNE (1st), Tom Clifford Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Young Munster: LLWLWWLLLWWWWWLW; Lansdowne: WWWWWWWWWWWWLWLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Alan Tynan 58; Tries: Ger Slattery 6; Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 184; Tries: Mark O’Keefe 8

Preview: It looks like Young Munster’s bid for a play-off place may fall just short, despite a terrific run of six wins out of seven for the Cookies since early December. They sit three points outside the top-four with two rounds remaining.

Table toppers Lansdowne hit the road on the back of a thumping 50-point victory over Trinity. They remain the most potent attackers and most miserly defenders in the top flight, with ever-influential out-half Scott Deasy, who is still only 29, amassing 184 points so far.

It is always a fascinating tussle between these sides, particularly up front where the respective Ger Slattery and Ian Prendiville-led packs scrap for supremacy. Lansdowne had 20 points to spare when they met in September but, significantly, they have lost on their last six visits to Greenfields, stretching back to November 2011.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 28, 2017: Young Munster 19 Lansdowne 10, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, September 23, 2017: Lansdowne 25 Young Munster 5, Aviva Stadium main pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win