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Energia All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

Energia All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

Clontarf full-back Jack Power is tackled by Terenure College's Paddy Thornton during the sides' Division 1A clash at Castle Avenue last April ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Following Ireland’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand, there is plenty of top-quality Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A fare on offer in Dublin, Ballynahinch, Limerick and Cork.


Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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CLONTARF (5th) v TERENURE COLLEGE (2nd), Castle Avenue, tonight, 8pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Clontarf: WL; Terenure College: WW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Gearoid Lyons, Tadgh McElroy, Cian O’Donoghue, Jack Power, Cian Walsh, Seni Reilly Ashiru 1 each; Tries: Tadgh McElroy, Cian O’Donoghue, Jack Power, Cian Walsh, Seni Reilly Ashiru 1 each; Terenure College: Points: Mark O’Neill 12; Tries: Liam Hyland, Jack Swaine, Robbie Deegan, Tim Schmidt, Jamie Glynn, Sam Dardis 1 each

Preview: The top flight action kicks off tonight with a juicy Dublin derby which pits Clontarf against Terenure College, who have really caught the eye with their strong league start under new head coach Andy Skehan.

Scoring four tries against champions Cork Constitution and still not coming out on top was a big disappointment for ‘Tarf. But a second home win here would ensure they have a solid early-season platform to build on.

Terenure were actually 16-15 winners when they last visited Castle Avenue last April. It took an injury-time penalty from James Thornton to earn that result, and a similarly tight tussle is anticipated in this Friday Night Lights clash.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 13, 2018: Terenure College 15 Clontarf 24, Lakelands Park; Saturday, April 6, 2019: Clontarf 15 Terenure College 16, Castle Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

BALLYNAHINCH (9th) v UCD (7th), Ballymacarn Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Ballynahinch: LL; UCD: LW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Sean O’Hagan 20; Tries: Rhys O’Donnell 1; UCD: Points: David Moran, Andy Marks 10 each; Tries: Andy Marks 2

Preview: Another free-running College team for Ballynahinch to tackle after last week’s 39-6 reversal at the hands of UCC. Some of ‘Hinch’s Ulster contingent should be available for the third round visit of UCD.

The Belfield side, who have not hosted ‘Hinch in over three years, enjoyed their first league victory last week under new head coach Kevin Croke. Tricky centre Andy Marks bagged two tries in a 30-19 success at home to Dublin University.

Fresh from captaining Leinster ‘A’ to their second Celtic Cup title, Charlie Ryan makes his seasonal bow in UCD’s second row. Ronan Foley is another notable change, along with Luke Maloney, Colm Mulcahy and Harry Donnelly in the backs.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, September 19, 2015: Ballynahinch 13 UCD 47, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, April 2, 2016: UCD 10 Ballynahinch 15, Belfield Bowl

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballynahinch to win

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (10th) v GARRYOWEN (6th), College Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Dublin University: LL; Garryowen: LW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Dublin University: Points: Micheal O’Kennedy 14; Tries: Donnacha Mescal, James Moriarty, Max Kearney, Johnny McKeown, James Hickey 1 each; Garryowen: Points: Jamie Heuston 20; Tries: Tommy O’Hora 2

Preview: Smarting from back-to-back defeats, Dublin University have made four changes for tomorrow’s encounter with Garryowen. Their back-line will include Rob Russell and Liam Turner, two Celtic Cup winners with Leinster ‘A’ last week.

Reuben Pim and Paddy Hamilton come in at lock and number 8 respectively, but even if the Trinity XV is stronger this week, opponents Garryowen will travel with quiet confidence after accounting for Lansdowne six days ago.

The corresponding fixture last season resulted in a sizable 39-22 win for Trinity, but last October’s meeting was much closer at Dooradoyle where a conversion from Peadar Collins split the sides as the Light Blues claimed a 27-25 verdict.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 6, 2018: Garryowen 27 Dublin University 25, Dooradoyle; Saturday, April 13, 2019: Dublin University 39 Garryowen 22, College Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win

YOUNG MUNSTER (8th) v UCC (1st), Tom Clifford Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Young Munster: LL; UCC: WW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 16; Tries: Jordan Stewart, Alan Kennedy 1 each; UCC: Points: Matt Bowen 20; Tries: Matt Bowen 4

Preview: League leaders UCC make the trip to Greenfields minus Munster’s John Hodnett and the injured Cian Bohane. The latter’s midfield place is taken by Louis Bruce, who was involved in the Munster ‘A’ Celtic Cup campaign.

Ryan Murphy, who notched two tries against ‘Hinch, is promoted from the UCC bench along with front rowers Shane O’Hanlon and Tadgh McCarthy. In-form winger Matt Bowen has scored four tries during the first two rounds.

There were winning margins of six and three points when these Munster rivals met last season. One point would do for the Cookies at the moment, with the home support hoping for a dominant showing from the Munsters pack and impressive new out-half Evan Cusack.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, October 19, 2018: Young Munster 23 UCC 17, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, March 23, 2019: UCC 13 Young Munster 10, the Mardyke

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win

CORK CONSTITUTION (3rd) v LANSDOWNE (4th), Temple Hill, 4pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Cork Constitution: WW; Lansdowne: WL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 17; Tries: Greg Higgins 3; Lansdowne: Points: Tim Foley 22; Tries: Adam Leavy 3

Preview: Lansdowne return to the scene of their 49-17 thumping by Cork Constitution last March. Con ended up finishing 13 points ahead of Lansdowne in the final table and replaced them as Division 1A champions.

Mike Ruddock’s men have a different spine to the team this year, and another newcomer, former UCD goal-kicker Conall Doherty, steps up tomorrow at outside centre. Daniel McEvoy, Ross Barron and Greg McGrath are the other changes.

Lansdowne will be keen to shut down Cork Con’s in-form centre Greg Higgins who has started the new season with three tries already. They won at Clontarf last week with the likes of captain Niall Kenneally, Brian Hayes and Duncan Williams back on board.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 27, 2018: Lansdowne 35 Cork Constitution 27, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Saturday, March 9, 2019: Cork Constitution 49 Lansdowne 17, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win