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All-Ireland League Division 1A Preview: UCD v Dublin University

All-Ireland League Division 1A Preview: UCD v Dublin University

Dublin University captain Colm Hogan is pictured on his way to scoring a try during the 23-all draw with UCD at College Park in October ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

The 67th annual Colours match in Belfield could mark a milestone achievement for Dublin University as they stand on the cusp of qualifying for the All-Ireland League Division 1A semi-finals for the first time in their history. Arch rivals UCD lie in wait. Tonight’s clash will be streamed live on YouTube.

ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A: Thursday, April 4

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UCD (6th) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (4th), Belfield Bowl, 7.30pm

All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCD: WDLWLLDWLLLWWLLL; Dublin University: LDLWWWLWLLWWWWLW
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: Conall Doherty 59; Tries: Andy Marks 7; Dublin University: Points: James Fennelly 102; Tries: Giuseppe Coyne 5

Preview: Two of the top flight’s student teams are set for another intriguing battle for the Colours title. Both are synonymous with running rugby but the untimely April showers should bring a more pragmatic approach, especially given what is at stake apart from the annual bragging rights.

UCD, who have lost their last three games, are still not completely clear of relegation trouble, lying six points ahead of the bottom two with two rounds remaining. Munster-bound scrum half Nick McCarthy adds experience to the back-line, while returning locks Emmet MacMahon and Tom Treacy are two of the six changes up front, including Jonny Guy’s move to number 8.

Semi-final-chasing Dublin University, the Colours holders, enjoyed a stunning 37-13 win over leaders Cork Constitution last time out. They have a six-point lead on Garryowen in fifth. Centre Philip Murphy and lock Cian O’Dwyer are their only changes, the latter replacing Ryan Baird. Look out for Baird’s Ireland Under-20 colleague Giuseppe Coyne, the lively loosehead who is top of Trinity’s try-scoring charts with five tries.

UCD: Conall Doherty; Ross Deegan, David Ryan, Paul Kiernan, Andy Marks; Matthew Gilsenan, Nick McCarthy; Emmet Burns, Richie Bergin, Liam Hyland, Emmet MacMahon, Tom Treacy, Cian Prendergast, Alex Penny (capt), Jonny Guy.

Replacements: Sean Molony, Sam Griffin, Evin Coyle, Stephen McVeigh, Brian Cawley, Nick Peters, Jack Ringrose.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Colm Hogan (capt), Rob Russell, James Hickey, Philip Murphy, Ronan Quinn; Micheal O’Kennedy, Rowan Osborne; Giuseppe Coyne, Dan Sheehan, Dylan Doyle, Reuben Pim, Cian O’Dwyer, Johnny McKeown, Max Kearney, Niall O’Riordan.

Replacements: Joe Horan, Bart Vermeulen, Arthur Greene, Paddy Nulty, Conor Lowndes, James Fennelly, Luis Faria.

Recent League Meetings – Thursday, April 5, 2018: Dublin University 11 UCD 10, College Park; Saturday, October 13, 2018: Dublin University 23 UCD 23, College Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dublin University to win