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Energia All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

Energia All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

Clontarf scrum half Angus Lloyd is pictured in action against Lansdowne during last season's Energia All-Ireland League campaign ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

After a week’s break, the Energia All-Ireland League is back with a bang tonight as Division 1A heavyweights Clontarf and Lansdowne collide at Castle Avenue. The Friday Night Lights clash gets underway at 8pm.

ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE DIVISION 1A: Saturday, November 30

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.

CLONTARF (6th) v LANSDOWNE (10th), Castle Avenue, tonight, 8pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Clontarf: WLLWLL; Lansdowne: WLLLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Sean Kearns 37; Tries: Tadgh McElroy, Matt D’Arcy, Cian Walsh 2 each; Lansdowne: Points: Tim Foley 35; Tries: Adam Leavy, Adam Boland 3 each

Preview: A repeat of one of last season’s semi-finals as Clontarf entertain Dublin rivals Lansdowne under lights. However, both clubs’ title ambitions have taken a hit in recent weeks with a slide down to sixth and tenth places respectively.

‘Tarf have lost their last two games – albeit by tight margins to UCD and Garryowen – and are determined to recapture the form which saw them defeat Lansdowne three times last season, including that semi-final clash at home (23-15).

Lansdowne’s Harry Byrne-led back-line will include Mark O’Keefe and Barry Goulding tonight, while Mike Ruddock has changed half of the pack that lost 7-0 to Young Munster, bringing in Dan Sheehan, Greg McGrath, Joe O’Brien and Joey Szpara.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 13, 2019: Lansdowne 8 Clontarf 36, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Saturday, April 27, 2019: Semi-Final: Clontarf 23 Lansdowne 15, Castle Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

CORK CONSTITUTION (1st) v BALLYNAHINCH (8th), Temple Hill

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Cork Constitution: WWWWWW; Ballynahinch: LLLLWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 29; Tries: Greg Higgins 3; Ballynahinch: Points: Sean O’Hagan 48; Tries: Aaron Cairns 5

Preview: It is over four years since Cork Constitution and Ballynahinch’s last meeting on Leeside, a very entertaining encounter which ended 32-23 in Con’s favour with out-half Tomas Quinlan kicking a terrific 22-point haul.

‘Hinch make the return trip with their confidence restored by a brace of victories over Lansdowne and Dublin University. Amid their sudden avalanche of points, winger Aaron Cairns is now the division’s top try scorer with five tries.

Two of ‘Hinch’s star performers against Trinity, Robert Baloucoune and Bill Johnston, are both required by Ulster, so table-topping Con should extend their winning streak to seven matches, but not without some pitfalls along the way.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 31, 2015: Cork Constitution 32 Ballynahinch 23, Temple Hill; Saturday, February 6, 2016: Ballynahinch 3 Cork Constitution 36, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

TERENURE COLLEGE (3rd) v GARRYOWEN (4th), Lakelands Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WWWLWL; Garryowen: LWLWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Mark O’Neill 26; Tries: Sam Dardis 3; Garryowen: Points: Jamie Heuston 35; Tries: Tommy O’Hora, Bryan Fitzgerald 3 each

Preview: This is shaping up to be arguably the game of the weekend in the top flight. Terenure and Garryowen have the same points tally, scoring difference and bonus point haul, lying third and fourth respectively in the table.

Last season’s clashes ended in a couple of dramatic one-point triumphs for Garryowen. Indeed, it is almost a year to the day since Ben Healy, who makes his first PRO14 start for Munster tonight, kicked the Light Blues to a 17-16 Lakelands success.

Other players are emerging as potential match winners for these sides of late. Versatile back Sam Dardis chipped in with his third try of the season for ‘Nure at UCD, while Garryowen backs Tommy O’Hora and Bryan Fitzgerald are also sitting on three each.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 1, 2018: Terenure College 16 Garryowen 17, Lakelands Park; Saturday, February 16, 2019: Garryowen 32 Terenure College 31, Dooradoyle

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win

YOUNG MUNSTER (9th) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (7th), Tom Clifford Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Young Munster: LLLDLW; Dublin University: LLWWLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 44; Tries: Jordan Stewart 2; Dublin University: Points: Micheal O’Kennedy 52; Tries: Colm Hogan 3

Preview: Young Munster and Dublin University are both in the wrong half of the table currently, although the second-from-bottom Cookies have certainly been boosted by their standout winning performance at Lansdowne last time out.

Gearoid Prendergast’s men showed huge grit to win at headquarters, a display they are determined to build on. Their forwards continue to carry a big threat at set piece time, while out-half Evan Cusack’s points haul now stands at 44.

Micheal O’Kennedy, Trinity’s regular number 10, is eight points ahead of him as the division’s current leading scorer. Their former captain, Colm Hogan, is chasing his fourth try in five league games from full-back.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 27, 2018: Dublin University 37 Young Munster 26, College Park; Saturday, March 9, 2019: Young Munster 24 Dublin University 18, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win

UCC (5th) v UCD (2nd), the Mardyke, 3pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCC: WWWLLL; UCD: LWWDWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCC: Points: Matt Bowen, James Taylor, John Poland 20 each; Tries: Matt Bowen 4; UCD: Points: David Moran 22; Tries: Andy Marks, Jack Ringrose 3 each

Preview: An intriguing battle in prospect here as UCC host UCD in their annual Colours match. The opening third of the league campaign has gone well for both, although the Cork outfit have endured three successive defeats most recently.

UCC continue to be without some key men in the back-line, as Harry O’Riordan joins Murray Linn in a new-look centre pairing and Eoin Monahan is partnered at half-back by Louis Kahn. Cian Barry comes into the second row.

UCD were winless against their Cork counterparts last season, notably drawing the equivalent fixture 20-all during April’s final round. They are unbeaten in five matches with Garry Ringrose’s younger brother Jack weighing in with three tries against Terenure.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 6, 2018: UCD 39 UCC 28, Belfield Bowl; Saturday, April 13, 2019: UCC 20 UCD 20, the Mardyke

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCD to win