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Energia All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

Energia All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

Young centre/winger Luke Fitzgerald is pictured on the attack for Young Munster during last season's All-Ireland League campaign ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

There are some exciting match-ups in Division 1A of the Energia All-Ireland League this weekend, beginning with tonight’s Limerick derby between Young Munster and Garryowen which is sure to draw a big crowd to Dooradoyle.


Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

#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.

The Rugby Survey for 2019 is live and will run until the end of this week. 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.

YOUNG MUNSTER (9th) v GARRYOWEN (6th), Dooradoyle, tonight, 8pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Young Munster: LLLD; Garryowen: LWLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 29; Tries: Jordan Stewart 2; Garryowen: Points: Jamie Heuston 29; Tries: Tommy O’Hora 3

Preview: The pressure is on Young Munster to deliver a winning performance against their local rivals tonight. They have collected three losing bonus points, along with two from last week’s draw at UCD, and cannot afford to lose touch with the teams currently above them.

The second-from-bottom Cookies were 12-10 winners over Garryowen in their last league meeting last February, with four Shane Airey penalties seeing them come out on top. Their new out-half Evan Cusack is in fine goal-kicking form with 29 points already to his name.

Garryowen have yet to win on the road so far this season, although they went mightily close against Cork Constitution (14-13). Last Saturday’s bonus point success against Ballynahinch showcased the ability of their backs to finish out wide and their pack to bludgeon through from a lineout maul.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, November 23, 2018: Garryowen 32 Young Munster 26, Dooradoyle; Friday, February 22, 2019: Young Munster 12 Garryowen 10, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win

BALLYNAHINCH (10th) v LANSDOWNE (8th), Ballymacarn Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Ballynahinch: LLLL; Lansdowne: WLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Sean O’Hagan 30; Tries: Rhys O’Donnell, Aaron Cairns, Ross Adair, Ryan Wilson 1 each; Lansdowne: Points: Tim Foley 35; Tries: Adam Leavy, Adam Boland 3 each

Preview: You would not have expected these clubs to reach the fifth round with just one victory between them. Lansdowne make their first trip to Ballymacarn Park in almost four years, fiercely determined to halt a frustrating three-match losing run.

Hard-hitting second rows Mark Flanagan and Oisin Dowling return for the headquarters club tomorrow, with Tom Roche and Ross Barron also added to the back-line. Barron starts at half-back alongside Tim Foley who is the division’s top scorer so far with 35 points.

Ryan Wilson’s late try was little consolation for ‘Hinch in their 20-point defeat at Garryowen. A home win here would offer them a huge boost as they face into three successive games against three of last season’s top four finishers.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 5, 2015: Ballynahinch 25 Lansdowne 13, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, January 2, 2016: Lansdowne 29 Ballynahinch 24, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win

CLONTARF (5th) v UCD (4th), Castle Avenue

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Clontarf: WLLW; UCD: LWWD
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Sean Kearns 19; Tries: Tadgh McElroy, Matt D’Arcy 2 each; UCD: Points: David Moran 22; Tries: Andy Marks 2

Preview: UCD came from behind to draw with Young Munster last week, extending their unbeaten run to three matches. They will take a strong squad to Clontarf, which includes the Leinster Academy quartet of Gavin Mullin, Tommy O’Brien, Paddy Patterson and Charlie Ryan.

Mullin and O’Brien combine in the centre, with James Tarrant partnering Patterson at half-back behind an unchanged pack. James Ryan’s younger brother David features at full-back as the students look to avenge last season’s brace of defeats to ‘Tarf – 17-6 at Castle Avenue and 26-17 in Belfield.

They will have to nullify the attacking threat of Matt D’Arcy who opened his account last week with a brace of tries away to UCC. Tighthead JP Phelan, who makes up a strong front row with Ivan Soroka and Tadgh McElroy, is set to come up against his former club.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, November 2, 2018: Clontarf 17 UCD 6, Castle Avenue; Saturday, March 2, 2019: UCD 17 Clontarf 26, Belfield Bowl

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win


Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Cork Constitution: WWWW; Dublin University: LLWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 29; Tries: Greg Higgins 3; Dublin University: Points: Micheal O’Kennedy 31; Tries: James Hickey 2

Preview: A repeat of one of last season’s semi-finals, which ended in a convincing 23-3 triumph for Cork Constitution. The defending champions have climbed to the top of the table with their latest win decided by a controversial penalty try during the final minutes against Terenure College.

Con’s enviable knack of winning tight games will come under further pressure from an ever-ambitious Dublin University side that has hit form in recent weeks. Back-to-back victories over Garryowen and Lansdowne have Trinity on the rise again.

Their back-three is rejigged for tomorrow with Ronan Quinn returning on the left wing, while Micheal O’Kennedy is joined by the Leinster-capped Rowan Osborne at half-back. Ben Nel, Joseph McCarthy and Paddy Nulty are brought in up front by director of rugby Tony Smeeth.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, March 23, 2019: Dublin University 37 Cork Constitution 13, College Park; Sunday, April 28, 2019: Semi-Final: Cork Constitution 23 Dublin University 3, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

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

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WWWL; UCC: WWWL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Mark O’Neill 14; Tries: Liam Hyland, Jack Swaine, Robbie Deegan, Tim Schmidt, Jamie Glynn, Sam Dardis, Stephen O’Neill, Caolan Dooley 1 each; UCC: Points: Matt Bowen, James Taylor 20 each; Tries: Matt Bowen 4

Preview: Terenure College and UCC’s winning starts to the season both came to an end last week, so this is sure to be a keenly-contested encounter. ‘Nure did the double over the Cork students last term, including a 39-29 bonus point success on home turf.

For tomorrow’s rematch, Matthew Byrne is promoted from the Terenure bench to replace Jake Swaine at full-back and Mark O’Neill and former Connacht half-back Conor McKeon will direct operations behind the scrum. The forward changes are Saba Meunargia, Stephen Caffrey and Niall Lalor.

UCC head coach Brian Walsh is able to select talented Munster prospects Jack O’Sullivan and John Hodnett in the back row, with impressive Australian Rory Suttor switching to the second row. Eoin Monahan continues at out-half in James Taylor’s injury-enforced absence.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 27, 2018: UCC 17 Terenure College 18, the Mardyke; Saturday, March 9, 2019: Terenure College 39 UCC 29, Lakelands Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win