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Energia All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

Energia All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

UCD's Cian Prendergast is pictured in action against Lansdowne in Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A recently ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

There are games in Dublin, Cork and Limerick this weekend in Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A, as the first third of the season comes to an exciting conclusion.


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.

UCC (4th) v CORK CONSTITUTION (1st), the Mardyke, tonight, 8pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCC: WWWLL; Cork Constitution: WWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCC: Points: Matt Bowen, James Taylor 20 each; Tries: Matt Bowen 4; Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 29; Tries: Greg Higgins 3

Preview: The skilful Peter Sylvester makes the move to out-half for UCC’s crunch derby clash with table-topping Cork Constitution. Much rests on the young shoulders of Sylvester with Cian Bohane and James Taylor both currently sidelined.

Murray Linn joins Louis Bruce in midfield, while the students’ unchanged pack includes a formidable back row unit of captain Ryan Murphy, John Hodnett, who touched down at Terenure College last week, and Jack O’Sullivan.

Cork Con have been specialising in narrow wins these last few weeks. They claimed a similar result, winning 20-18 when visiting the Mardyke in October of last year, and it could very well be just as tight when these sides renew rivalries tonight.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, October 12, 2018: UCC 18 Cork Constitution 20, the Mardyke; Friday, April 5, 2019: Cork Constitution 37 UCC 19, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win


Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Dublin University: LLWWL; Ballynahinch: LLLLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Dublin University: Points: Micheal O’Kennedy 38; Tries: James Hickey, Ronan Quinn, Max Kearney 3 each; Ballynahinch: Points: Sean O’Hagan 48; Tries: Aaron Cairns 4

Preview: There are a couple of notable provincial players in both of the starting XVs as Dublin University, who have lost three of their five games so far, host a Ballynahinch team buoyed by last week’s excellent 43-5 thrashing of Lansdowne.

Ulster have released winger Robert Baloucoune and out-half Bill Johnston to start for ‘Hinch tomorrow against Trinity, with Academy hooker Tom Stewart the third and final change in personnel.

The students are looking to put a heartbreaking defeat to Con behind them. Leinster duo Rowan Osborne and Ryan Baird are both included, and there is a first league start for Alex Soroka, who impressed for the Ireland Under-18 Schools team last season.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 6, 2013: Dublin University 21 Ballynahinch 28, College Park; Saturday, April 30, 2016: Ballynahinch 9 Dublin University 18, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dublin University to win

GARRYOWEN (5th) v CLONTARF (6th), Dooradoyle

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Garryowen: LWLWW; Clontarf: WLLWL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Jamie Heuston 29; Tries: Tommy O’Hora, Bryan Fitzgerald 3 each; Clontarf: Points: Sean Kearns 32; Tries: Tadgh McElroy, Matt D’Arcy 2 each

Preview: Former Ireland Under-20 internationals Dave McCarthy and Jack Stafford will team up at half-back for Garryowen this weekend. The Light Blues are chasing their third victory on the trot as they look to break into the top four.

Johnny Keane resumes at blindside flanker with Tim Ferguson reverting to the number 8 position. Centre Bryan Fitzgerald is in a hot streak with three tries in as many games.

Clontarf did the double on Garryowen last season, winning 29-12 at Dooradoyle last March. Leinster centre Conor O’Brien and Ireland Under-18 Schools scrum half Ben Murphy, son of Richie, are set to start for them tomorrow.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 20, 2018: Clontarf 28 Garryowen 10, Castle Avenue; Saturday, March 23, 2019: Garryowen 12 Clontarf 29, Dooradoyle

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win

LANSDOWNE (8th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (10th), Aviva Stadium back pitch

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Lansdowne: WLLLL; Young Munster: LLLDL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Tim Foley 35; Tries: Adam Leavy, Adam Boland 3 each; Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 42; Tries: Jordan Stewart 2

Preview: Leinster’s Cian Kelleher and Harry Byrne return to club action, featuring on the right wing and at out-half as they look to inspire Lansdowne back to winning ways after an uncharacteristic run of four successive defeats.

Four of last week’s replacements are promoted to the Dubliners’ starting XV, including front rowers James Rael and Adam Boland, while the three-time league champions’ new-look back row is made up of Jack Dinneen, Mark Hernan and Jack O’Sullivan.

Confirmation of Gearoid Prendergast’s appointment as Ireland Club XV head coach will certainly spur Young Munster on. The Cookies are still searching for their first win and will draw inspiration from running Lansdowne so close last March, eventually losing 25-24.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 3, 2018: Young Munster 12 Lansdowne 23, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, March 2, 2019: Lansdowne 25 Young Munster 24, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win

UCD (3rd) v TERENURE COLLEGE (2nd), Belfield Bowl

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCD: LWWDW; Terenure College: WWWLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: David Moran 22; Tries: Andy Marks 3; Terenure College: Points: Mark O’Neill 21; Tries: Sam Dardis, Caolan Dooley 2 each

Preview: This Dublin derby brings together two of the last round’s winning teams. Having edged out Clontarf, UCD’s unbeaten run now stands at four games and they are going great guns under coaches Kevin Croke, Mark McGroarty and Brett Igoe.

Second-placed Terenure College are just ahead of the students in the table thanks to their four wins-out-of-five record. Their most recent trip to Belfield ended in a very disappointing 31-3 reversal last December.

‘Nure also played student opposition last week, overcoming UCC 22-14 with Sam Dardis and Caolan Dooley scoring their second tries of the campaign. Their five personnel changes for tomorrow include Liam Hyland and Mike Murphy in the tight five.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 8, 2018: UCD 31 Terenure College 3, Belfield Bowl; Saturday, January 26, 2019: Terenure College 49 UCD 21, Lakelands Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCD to win