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Energia All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

Energia All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

Terenure College's Conor McKeon is pictured in action during their Division 1A encounter with Garryowen at Lakelands Park in November ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

The Energia All-Ireland League resumes tonight with a crunch Dublin derby between Lansdowne and Clontarf. The top flight rivals – currently fifth and fourth respectively in the table – are level on 30 points each.

ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE DIVISION 1A: Saturday, February 15

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.

LANSDOWNE (5th) v CLONTARF (4th), Aviva Stadium back pitch, tonight, 8pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Lansdowne: WLLLLLWWWWW; Clontarf: WLLWLLLWWLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Tim Foley 49; Tries: Adam Leavy, Adam Boland, Peter Sullivan, Dan Sheehan 3 each; Clontarf: Points: Sean Kearns 82; Tries: Matt D’Arcy, Jack Power 4 each

Preview: Lansdowne’s current five-match winning run began with a 23-19 win at Clontarf in late November. A repeat of that result tonight would lift them back into the top four, but ‘Tarf are also motoring along nicely with three victories in four rounds.

Matt D’Arcy and Jack Power chipped in with their fourth tries of the campaign as the north Dubliners prevailed 41-23 over Dublin University last time out. They also have the division’s second top points scorer in goal-kicking winger Sean Kearns (82 points).

Leinster Academy hooker Dan Sheehan has really shone in recent rounds for Lansdowne, racking up six tries – including a Bateman Cup semi-final hat-trick. It will be interesting to note the make-up of the front rows, with ex-Lansdowne hookers Dylan Donnellan and Tadgh McElroy both vying to start for ‘Tarf.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 27, 2019: Semi-Final: Clontarf 23 Lansdowne 15, Castle Avenue; Friday, November 29, 2019: Clontarf 19 Lansdowne 23, Castle Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win

BALLYNAHINCH (10th) v CORK CONSTITUTION (1st), Ballymacarn Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Ballynahinch: LLLLWWLLLWL; Cork Constitution: WWWWWWWWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Sean O’Hagan 79; Tries: Aaron Cairns 7; Cork Constitution: Points: Jack Crowley 37; Tries: Brian Hayes 6

Preview: Members of Ballynahinch’s all-conquering 2009 team will be in attendance for the visit of the runaway league leaders. It is bottom against top, Cork Constitution chasing a season’s double after November’s 35-19 bonus point success on home soil.

Winger Rob Jermyn’s 25-minute hat-trick was the highlight of that game, but ‘Hinch did hit back with three tries of their own. They have the division’s leading try scorer in Aaron Cairns, who has touched down in the last two rounds to take his tally to seven.

With back-to-back home fixtures – second-from-bottom Dublin University make the trip north next week – Brian McLaughlin’s men need to deliver crucial points in their battle against relegation. Only their best defensive performance of the season will suffice against a Niall Kenneally-led Con.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 6, 2016: Ballynahinch 3 Cork Constitution 36, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, November 30, 2019: Cork Constitution 35 Ballynahinch 19, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (9th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (6th), College Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Dublin University: LLWWLLLLLWL; Young Munster: LLLDLWWWLLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Dublin University: Points: Micheal O’Kennedy 73; Tries: Ronan Quinn 4; Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 84; Tries: Jordan Stewart, Evan Cusack, Evan O’Gorman 3 each

Preview: The Ireland Club XV’s victorious head coach and captain, Gearoid Prendergast and Alan Kennedy, return to the capital a week on from clinching a 2-0 series win over Scotland Clubs. The Young Munster pair are chasing vital league points against struggling Trinity.

Four points was the margin (28-24) when these sides met in Limerick in November, the Cookies triumphing with full-back Alan Tynan scoring two of their four converted tries on the day.

A home win would give the students a big boost, particularly at a time of disruption due to Ireland Under-20 and Club XV commitments. They will look to electric winger Ronan Quinn, whose quick-fire brace against Clontarf showed how clinical he can be from limited opportunities.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, March 9, 2019: Young Munster 24 Dublin University 18, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, November 30, 2019: Young Munster 28 Dublin University 24, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win

GARRYOWEN (2nd) v TERENURE COLLEGE (7th), Dooradoyle

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Garryowen: LWLWWWWWLWW; Terenure College: WWWLWLLLWLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Jamie Heuston 54; Tries: Bryan Fitzgerald 5; Terenure College: Points: James Thornton 33; Tries: Sam Dardis 5

Preview: Eight players from Garryowen and Terenure College were involved in last Friday’s 22-17 home win for the Ireland Club XV against their Scottish counterparts. Terenure duo Michael Melia and Sam Coghlan Murray contributed two of Ireland’s three tries.

It was a disappointing start to 2020 for ‘Nure last month with narrow defeats to Trinity and Lansdowne. Their play-off ambitions would get a timely lift with victory in Limerick. Revenge is on their minds after losing 32-31 at Dooradoyle twelve months ago.

However, Garryowen appear to have gone up a couple of gears in terms of their consistency. Seven wins in eight rounds have them looking solid in second place. Jamie Heuston, their leading scorer, has had a busy few days, representing the Ireland Club and Police Rugby teams on the international stage.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 16, 2019: Garryowen 32 Terenure College 31, Dooradoyle; Saturday, November 30, 2019: Terenure College 14 Garryowen 27, Lakelands Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win

UCD (3rd) v UCC (8th), Belfield Bowl

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCD: LWWDWWWLWLL; UCC: WWWLLLLLLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: James Tarrant 36; Tries: Ronan Foley, Jack Ringrose 5 each; UCC: Points: James Taylor 35; Tries: Matt Bowen, Murray Linn 4 each

Preview: It has been tough going of late for these University rivals, although UCD remain right in the hunt for a play-off spot. They were so close to claiming the scalp of Cork Constitution last time out, running in five tries but with no conversions in a 29-25 reversal.

In a massive boost for UCC, former Munster centre Cian Bohane is set to make his return from injury, coming in as one of four personnel changes to the side that lost 15-7 to Garryowen. Matt Bowen, Bryan O’Connor and Cian Barry are also handed starts.

UCD were 24-10 winners over their Cork opponents earlier in the season, their three tries converted by James Tarrant who also added a penalty. It should be quite a contest between Tarrant and UCC’s James Taylor, two of the league’s most talented young out-halves.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 13, 2019: UCC 20 UCD 20, the Mardyke; Saturday, November 30, 2019: UCC 10 UCD 24, the Mardyke

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCD to win