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Energia All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

Energia All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

Dublin rivals Lansdowne and UCD clash in Division 1A of the Energia All-Ireland League ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

There are important showdowns at both ends of the Division 1A table – including defending champions Cork Constitution’s trip to in-form Terenure College – as the Energia All-Ireland League resumes tomorrow.

ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE DIVISION 1A: Saturday, November 2

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

The Rugby Survey for 2019 is live and will run until the end of the Rugby World Cup. This short survey is an opportunity for anyone with an interest in rugby to help shape the future of the sport and drive decision making in the IRFU. Click here to take part.

#EnergiaAILTry Of The Month has returned for the 2019/20 season. The competition is in its third year and entries are now open to tries scored in all divisions of the Men’s and Women’s Energia All-Ireland League. Click here for entry information.

GARRYOWEN (8th) v BALLYNAHINCH (10th), Dooradoyle

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Garryowen: LWL; Ballynahinch: LLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Jamie Heuston 24; Tries: Tommy O’Hora 3; Ballynahinch: Points: Sean O’Hagan 30; Tries: Rhys O’Donnell, Aaron Cairns, Ross Adair 1 each

Preview: Garryowen and Ballynahinch meet for the first time in three-and-a-half years, with bottom-placed ‘Hinch still chasing their first win of the new season. They really need to up their current try-scoring rate of one per game.

Winger Tommy O’Hora has impressed with three tries so far for Garryowen, who are set to be boosted tomorrow by the inclusion of Ben Healy and Neil Cronin at half-back, and Sean O’Connor and Ireland Sevens international Jack Daly up front.

Ballynahinch should also have some of their Ulster contingent in the starting XV. Out-half Sean O’Hagan, a former Ireland underage international, contributed 30 points during the first three rounds, making him the division’s top scorer.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, September 12, 2015: Garryowen 14 Ballynahinch 10, Dooradoyle; Saturday, April 16, 2016: Ballynahinch 59 Garryowen 5, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win

LANSDOWNE (5th) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (7th), Aviva Stadium back pitch

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Lansdowne: WLL; Dublin University: LLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Tim Foley 29; Tries: Adam Leavy, Adam Boland 3 each; Dublin University: Points: Micheal O’Kennedy 26; Tries: James Hickey 2

Preview: Peter Sullivan, Division 1A’s leading try scorer last season with 15 tries, returns in Lansdowne colours tomorrow as one of five personnel changes made to the team that earned a well-merited losing bonus point at Cork Constitution.

Sullivan, James Reynolds and Tim Murphy are added to the back-line, with Dan Sheehan and Jack Dinneen slotting in at hooker and blindside flanker respectively. Lansdowne won the corresponding clash with Dublin University last January in emphatic fashion – 66-33.

Trinity got back on track a fortnight ago with a 37-19 bonus point defeat of Garryowen. They were also in action last Friday, a late James Fennelly penalty steering them past a visiting Cambridge side that included former Australian captain James Horwill and ex-Springbok Flip van der Merwe.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 15, 2018: Dublin University 6 Lansdowne 17, College Park; Saturday, January 19, 2019: Lansdowne 66 Dublin University 33, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win

TERENURE COLLEGE (2nd) v CORK CONSTITUTION (3rd), Lakelands Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WWW; Cork Constitution: WWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Mark O’Neill 12; Tries: Liam Hyland, Jack Swaine, Robbie Deegan, Tim Schmidt, Jamie Glynn, Sam Dardis, Stephen O’Neill 1 each; Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 23; Tries: Greg Higgins 3

Preview: An intriguing encounter here as in-form Terenure College and defending champions Cork Constitution put their winning records on the line. Con had 20 and 23-point winning margins last season against ‘Nure, but the Dubliners look a different animal now.

From the ‘Nure side that won 16-10 at Clontarf, Campbell Classen and Peter Claffey, who left Connacht at the end of last season, bolster the tight five and Caolan Dooley and Sam Dardis are set to be involved in the backs.

With captain Niall Kenneally and Brian Hayes back in their starting XV, Cork Con are building early momentum. Winning away to resurgent Terenure would be another significant step forward for the title holders.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 15, 2018: Terenure College 14 Cork Constitution 34, Lakelands Park; Saturday, January 19, 2019: Cork Constitution 28 Terenure College 5, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

UCC (1st) v CLONTARF (6th), the Mardyke

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCC: WWW; Clontarf: WLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCC: Points: Matt Bowen, James Taylor 20 each; Tries: Matt Bowen 4; Clontarf: Points: Tadgh McElroy 10; Tries: Tadgh McElroy 2

Preview: Things are looking rosy at the Mardyke at present, but UCC will not be resting on their laurels. Although three wins in a row has given them a massive lift, they are facing into a key run of fixtures this month.

First up is the visit of league heavyweights Clontarf. Cian Bohane and James Taylor are both absent from the students’ teamsheet, but Eoin Monahan deputises for the latter at out-half and a big game is expected from Munster’s John Hodnett at number 8.

Clontarf have made five changes from the last round, bringing Sean Kearns, Michael Brown and young out-half Conor Kelly into the back-line, while forwards Ruadhan Byron and Tadgh McElroy, who has bagged two tries so far, are both promoted from the bench.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 24, 2018: UCC 22 Clontarf 37, the Mardyke; Saturday, February 23, 2019: Clontarf 36 UCC 29, Castle Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCC to win

UCD (4th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (9th), Belfield Bowl

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCD: LWW; Young Munster: LLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: David Moran 13; Tries: Andy Marks 2; Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 20; Tries: Jordan Stewart 2

Preview: As UCD strive for their third successive win, they welcome back Leinster Academy flyer Tommy O’Brien for the visit of Young Munster. Scott Penny’s older brother Alex is the second and final change to the team.

Fourth-placed College come up against a Cookies side who have gone desperately close to winning all three of their opening games. They have come up short on each occasion with losing margins of just one, seven and six points.

These clubs have two of the most entertaining tussles last season with a 34-all draw in Greenfields and a 33-31 UCD win at Belfield. Second-from-bottom Munsters could give themselves a timely lift ahead of next week’s derby clash with Garryowen.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 1, 2018: Young Munster 34 UCD 34, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, February 16, 2019: UCD 33 Young Munster 31, Belfield Bowl

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win