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All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

Two Friday Night Lights clashes at Belfield and Greenfields launch another eagerly-awaited round of Division 1A action, which continues on Saturday with the Dooradoyle showdown between Clontarf and Garryowen commanding plenty of attention.

ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Saturday, October 20

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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UCD (4th) v LANSDOWNE (9th), Belfield Bowl, tonight, 8pm

All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCD: WD; Lansdowne: LL
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: Cillian Burke 13; Tries: Ronan Foley 2; Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 9; Tries: James Rael 1

Preview: Conall Doherty and Tom Foley come into the UCD back-line for tonight’s third round date with Lansdowne, while Ireland Under-20 lock Charlie Ryan will make his seasonal debut up front after playing with Leinster ‘A’ in the Celtic Cup.

The students, who are unbeaten in two league games, are expecting a backlash from Lansdowne whose title defence has started with back-to-back defeats. James Rael’s maul effort against Garryowen has been the headquarters club’s only try in 160 minutes of rugby.

Mike Ruddock makes two changes with Ireland Sevens international Adam Leavy and former St. Mary’s second row David O’Connor, who makes his belated league debut for Lansdowne following his late withdrawal against Clontarf, both set to start. They did the double on UCD last season, scoring 76 points in the process.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 2, 2017: UCD 23 Lansdowne 30, Belfield Bowl; Saturday, December 9, 2017: Lansdowne 46 UCD 30, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win

YOUNG MUNSTER (5th) v UCC (8th), Liam Clifford Park, tonight, 8pm

All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Young Munster: WL; UCC: LL
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Clayton Stewart 27; Tries: Darragh O’Neill, Clayton Stewart 1 each; UCC: Points: James Taylor 21; Tries: Ryan Murphy, James Taylor, Cian Barry, John Poland, Murray Linn, Michael Clune 1 each

Preview: Stung by a 23-10 derby defeat to Shannon, Young Munster return to Greenfields aiming for their second win of the campaign. Scrum half Stephen Kerins will start following the end of Connacht Eagles’ Celtic Cup run, with Conor Hayes and Conor Phillips also added to the back-line.

Mark O’Mara and Dan Walsh come into Munsters’ pack, the latter featuring in a rejigged back row with John Foley shifting to lock. Cian Bohane, the former Cookie, moves to full-back for UCC who are smarting from their own derby loss to Cork Constitution (20-18).

Michael Clune, a try-scoring replacement last week, slots in at outside centre and Brian O’Mahony replaces Daire Feeney at number 8. The students’ head coach Brian Walsh said: “The Con derby gave us a lot of belief in terms of competing in the division. Munsters are always a difficult proposition. We’ve five games on the bounce, they’re all tough games for us. That’s the nature of the league.”

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 5, 2009: Young Munster 14 UCC 10, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, March 6, 2010: UCC 12 Young Munster 14, the Mardyke

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win

CLONTARF (2nd) v GARRYOWEN (3rd), Castle Avenue

All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Clontarf: WW; Garryowen: WW
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: David Joyce 20; Tries: Matt D’Arcy, David Joyce, Michael Noone, Ivan Soroka, Angus Lloyd 1 each; Garryowen: Points: Peadar Collins 19; Tries: Darren Ryan, Jamie Gavin, David McCarthy, Liam Cronin, Sean Rennison 1 each

Preview: This heavyweight clash brings together two of the most impressive starters in the top flight. Something has got to give after two wins and five tries apiece. The battle for midfield supremacy should be intriguing with Matt D’Arcy and Michael Courtney challenged by Peadar Collins and David McCarthy.

19-year-old Munster Academy starlet Ben Healy win don the number 10 jersey for Garryowen’s trip to the north Dubliners. He replaces the injured Jamie Gavin as one of two changes to the team that edged out Lansdowne 17-14.

Connacht Eagles’ Mikey Wilson comes in at blindside flanker, with Tim Ferguson moving to the engine room in place of Light Blues captain Dean Moore. Garryowen did the double on ‘Tarf last season, including a brilliant 35-30 bonus point victory at Castle Avenue.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, September 30, 2017: Garryowen 51 Clontarf 17, Dooradoyle; Saturday, March 24, 2018: Clontarf 30 Garryowen 35, Castle Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

CORK CONSTITUTION (1st) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (7th), Temple Hill

All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Cork Constitution: WW; Dublin University: LD
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 12; Tries: Niall Kenneally 2; Dublin University: Points: James Fennelly 23; Tries: Robert Russell, Colm Hogan 2 each

Preview: Cork Constitution face student opposition for the second week running, fresh from closing out a thrilling 20-18 derby win over UCC. The result kept Con at the top of the table and again showed their match-winning nous at this level.

The impact off the bench of Gary Bradley and the returning Conor Kindregan was telling, and the pair are pushing hard for starts tomorrow. Con kept Trinity try-less in their two encounters last season, winning this corresponding fixture 41-6 with winger Rob Jermyn touching down twice.

Dublin University captain Colm Hogan and Robert Russell are both on two tries so far, with out-half James Fennelly the division’s second top points scorer (23 points). Centre James Moriarty is the only change to the side that drew 23-all with UCD. Frustrated by missed chances in that game, Hogan pledged that ‘next week we’ll be stronger again and finish it off’.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 4, 2017: Dublin University 3 Cork Constitution 28, College Park; Saturday, February 3, 2018: Cork Constitution 41 Dublin University 6, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

TERENURE COLLEGE (10th) v SHANNON (6th), Lakelands Park

All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WL; Shannon: LW
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: James Thornton, Mark O’Neill, Marc Hiney, Sam Coghlan Murray 5 each; Tries: Mark O’Neill, Marc Hiney, Sam Coghlan Murray 1 each; Shannon: Points: Jake Flannery 10; Tries: Ty Chan, Nathan Randles, Will Leonard, Jamie McGarry 1 each

Preview: Fit-again winger Sam Coghlan Murray’s try-scoring contribution against Clontarf bodes well for Terenure whose Lakelands Park ground is the destination for Shannon’s first trip of the season to the capital. Both teams have a win and a loss so far.

Terenure’s two changes see former UCD captain Jamie Glynn selected at scrum half and Cian Madden filling the loosehead berth. The big challenge for Shannon – both physically and mentally – is trying to rescale the heights of last week’s superb derby success against Young Munster.

Tom Hayes’ youngsters have some real gems in Aran Hehir, Charlie Carmody and Will Leonard. Tomorrow’s match sees former Shannon and Munster team-mates Hayes and James Blaney opposing each other. The pair are now two of the best young coaches in the All-Ireland League at 38 and 44 respectively.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 23, 2013: Terenure College 25 Shannon 17, Lakelands Park; Saturday, March 22, 2014: Shannon 5 Terenure College 24, Thomond Park back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win