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Energia All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

Energia All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

Second row Cian Barry wins a lineout for UCC during their pre-Christmas clash with Garryowen in Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Three of the leading four clubs in Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A are away from home this weekend, with Lansdowne testing their resurgent form against Dublin rivals Terenure College.

ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE DIVISION 1A: Saturday, January 25

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 (5th) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (9th), Castle Avenue

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Clontarf: WLLWLLLWWL; Dublin University: LLWWLLLLLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Sean Kearns 68; Tries: Matt D’Arcy, Jack Power 3 each; Dublin University: Points: Micheal O’Kennedy 65; Tries: Colm Hogan, Mark Nicholson 3 each

Preview: Contrasting fortunes for these sides in the last round, with Clontarf edged out by struggling Ballynahinch, and a much-needed triumph at home to Terenure College gave Dublin University a timely New Year lift.

Young hooker Mark Nicholson continues to make a positive impact for Trinity, charging over for his third try of the season. Leinster Academy talent Michael Silvester also impressed from full-back, although he did pick up a hamstring injury.

These clubs generally serve up high-scoring and very entertaining contests. ‘Tarf prevailed 42-32 at College Park last month but they face a tougher task repeating that result, as Andrew Smith, Ben Murphy, Brian Deeny and Charlie Ward are deep in preparation with the Ireland Under-20s.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 26, 2019: Dublin University 29 Clontarf 21, College Park; Saturday, December 7, 2019: Dublin University 32 Clontarf 42, College Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

TERENURE COLLEGE (6th) v LANSDOWNE (4th), Lakelands Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WWWLWLLLWL; Lansdowne: WLLLLLWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Mark O’Neill 30; Tries: Sam Dardis 5; Lansdowne: Points: Tim Foley 42; Tries: Adam Leavy, Adam Boland, Peter Sullivan 3 each

Preview: Lansdowne have moved Craig Ronaldson back into the number 10 jersey, where he steered them to their first league title in 2013. He will form a new half-back partnership tomorrow with James Kenny.

Conall Doherty switches to inside centre with Tim Foley lining out at full-back, while the headquarters club, who are gunning for their fifth straight win, have added Mark Boyle and Leinster-capped lock Oisin Dowling to their starting pack.

Terenure have lost ground with four reversals in the last five rounds. However, they are always capable of turning on the style at Lakelands, especially if the likes of Adam La Grue and Sam Coghlan Murray are put into space out wide.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 23, 2019: Terenure College 35 Lansdowne 26, Lakelands Park; Saturday, December 7, 2019: Lansdowne 46 Terenure College 17, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win

UCC (8th) v GARRYOWEN (2nd), the Mardyke

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCC: WWWLLLLLLL; Garryowen: LWLWWWWWLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCC: Points: James Taylor 33; Tries: Matt Bowen, Murray Linn 4 each; Garryowen: Points: Jamie Heuston 49; Tries: Bryan Fitzgerald 5

Preview: There are starts in the back-line for promising young winger Killian Coghlan and Peter Sylvester, one of the club’s Ireland Club XV call-ups, as UCC look to halt a seven-match losing slide against Munster rivals Garryowen.

Luck was not on the students’ side last time out against Lansdowne, going down 19-18 on the all-weather surface. The scoring form of fit-again out-half James Taylor was a boost, and tomorrow sees Richard Thompson and Finn Burke both included in the starting pack.

These teams have been going in opposite directions, with Garryowen winning six of their last seven games. Dispatching UCC 25-10 in December, they are hotly fancied to complete the double, especially if their weapon of a lineout maul – whether it is piloted by Liam Cronin or Diarmuid Barron – continues to wield influence.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 19, 2019: Garryowen 22 UCC 23, Dooradoyle; Saturday, December 7, 2019: Garryowen 25 UCC 10, Dooradoyle

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win

UCD (3rd) v CORK CONSTITUTION (1st), Belfield Bowl

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCD: LWWDWWWLWL; Cork Constitution: WWWWWWWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: James Tarrant 31; Tries: Ronan Foley 5; Cork Constitution: Points: Jack Crowley 37; Tries: Rob Jermyn, Brian Hayes 5 each

Preview: This All Rounder podcast-live streamed fixture could be one of Cork Constitution’s toughest assignments to date. UCD are protecting an unbeaten home record in 2019/20 and are gunning for revenge after last month’s 53-10 hammering at Temple Hill where they conceded nine tries.

Defence has been an issue for the students of late, with Garryowen hitting them for six in the last round. As well as a five-man Ireland Under-20 contingent, UCD have their captain Jonny Guy and Jack Ringrose representing them in the Ireland Club XV squad.

Win number 11 will undoubtedly be hard earned if the table toppers are to continue their unbeaten season. With scrum halves of the calibre of Duncan Williams, Gerry Hurley and Ryan Foley, you can see why Cork Con are the league’s current standard bearers.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 23, 2019: Cork Constitution 22 UCD 27, Temple Hill; Saturday, December 7, 2019: Cork Constitution 53 UCD 10, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

YOUNG MUNSTER (7th) v BALLYNAHINCH (10th), Tom Clifford Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Young Munster: LLLDLWWWLL; Ballynahinch: LLLLWWLLLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 76; Tries: Jordan Stewart, Evan Cusack 3 each; Ballynahinch: Points: Sean O’Hagan 73; Tries: Aaron Cairns 6

Preview: Ballynahinch’s versatile back Aaron Cairns is now the top flight’s leading try scorer after grabbing his sixth of the campaign at home to Clontarf. That 11-10 win was a vital result for Brian McLaughlin’s men to begin the New Year with.

‘Hinch have had some close affairs with Young Munster in recent seasons, including last month’s 26-24 defeat on home turf. Out-half Sean O’Hagan’s last-gasp penalty attempt drifted wide, allowing the Cookies to celebrate a fine comeback victory from 24-7 down.

Munsters will want to send Gearoid Prendergast off with another winning performance ahead of his debut next week as Ireland’s new Club international head coach. Tom Clifford Park has not been the fortress it should be this season, with the hosts losing to Clontarf, UCC, Garryowen and Cork Constitution.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 20, 2016: Young Munster 7 Ballynahinch 6, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, December 7, 2019: Ballynahinch 24 Young Munster 26, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win