Energia Men’s All-Ireland League Division 1A has plenty of treats for Halloween weekend, including a crunch Lansdowne-Young Munster clash on the Aviva Stadium’s main pitch.
ENERGIA MEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – DIVISION 1A:
ROUND 4: Saturday, October 30
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
BALLYNAHINCH (8th) v GARRYOWEN (1st), Ballymacarn Park
Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Ballynahinch: LLL; Garryowen: WWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Greg Hutley 18; Tries: Chris Gibson, Greg Hutley 1 each; Garryowen: Points: Tony Butler 28; Tries: Bryan Fitzgerald 3
Preview: A record of three losses against three wins, Ballynahinch will find it difficult to break down unbeaten league leaders Garryowen unless the Light Blues’ exertions catch up with them.
While the rest of the top flight rested up last week, Mike Sherry’s men edged out Cashel in a dramatic Munster Senior Cup semi-final. “Ballynahinch have had a patchy enough start, but they’ll be licking their lips waiting to welcome us up there,” said Sherry.
Just two tries so far and an overreliance on goalkicker Greg Hutley (18 points) tells its own story for ‘Hinch. You get the feeling a big performance is coming, but it may happen in the following two rounds against the bottom two.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 16, 2016: Ballynahinch 59 Garryowen 5, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, November 2, 2019: Garryowen 25 Ballynahinch 5, Dooradoyle
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win
CORK CONSTITUTION (7th) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (5th), Temple Hill
Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Cork Constitution: LLL; Dublin University: LWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 25; Tries: Duncan Williams, Barry Galvin, JJ O’Neill, Sean French 1 each; Dublin University: Points: Mick O’Kennedy 18; Tries: Mark Nicholson 2
Preview: It has been a frustrating October for Cork Constitution, but you get the feeling the picture could be a lot rosier by this time next month. They are more than capable of reeling off wins over Dublin University, Garryowen, UCD and Ballynahinch.
Their road back towards the top four begins with the visit of Trinity, who have themselves recovered well from a poor start. “We’re playing some good stuff but not quite finishing (our chances),” said Trinity director of rugby Tony Smeeth.
The hosts are missing forward colossus Conor Kindregan following his red card against Clontarf. Smeeth gives starts to Leinster duo Rob Russell and Jack Dunne at full-back and lock respectively. Diminutive dangerman Ronan Quinn returns on the right wing.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 9, 2019: Cork Constitution 25 Dublin University 22, Temple Hill; Saturday, February 29, 2020: Dublin University 0 Cork Constitution 27, College Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win
LANSDOWNE (2nd) v YOUNG MUNSTER (3rd), Aviva Stadium main pitch
Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Lansdowne: WWW; Young Munster: WWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Charlie Tector 20; Tries: Mark Boyle, Cormac Foley, Michael Silvester 2 each; Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 37; Tries: Conor Hayes 3
Preview: The top flight’s big game of the Halloween weekend, and those in attendance at Irish Rugby HQ are definitely in for a treat. Jack Harrington and Jack Lyons are promoted from the bench to start for Young Munster.
The strong-carrying Dan Walsh also comes in at number 8, with Munsters boss Gearoid Prendergast saying: “Lansdowne are very difficult opposition. While the home form is very important, we’re really focusing on building those away wins as well.”
Both teams will have some provincial heavyweights on the bench, Lansdowne have added Leinster’s Peter Dooley and Munster prop Keynan Knox travels with the Cookies. Michael Silvester, the scorers of two tries at UCC, moves to full-back for the hosts.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 16, 2019: Lansdowne 0 Young Munster 7, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Saturday, February 22, 2020: Young Munster 21 Lansdowne 20, Tom Clifford Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win
TERENURE COLLEGE (6th) v CLONTARF (4th), Lakelands Park
Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WLL; Clontarf: WWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: James Thornton 20; Tries: Stephen O’Neill, Craig Adams, Peter Sylvester 2 each; Clontarf: Points: David Hawkshaw 34; Tries: Dylan Donnellan, Conor Kearns 2 each
Preview: Clontarf feel they owe Terenure College one after losing twice to them at the Bull Ring in 2019. The sides have not meet in the league since then, but Andy Wood’s men look the stronger outfit on current form.
That is not to write off Terenure, they have lost to two of the front runners so far and opposition coaches have spoken highly of their maul, in particular. New centre Peter Sylvester has quickly picked up two tries.
There is sure to be a ‘warm’ welcome for ‘Nure’s new number 8 Jordan Coghlan, who played for ‘Tarf during his early days. The back row battle will see the likes of Tony Ryan and Harrison Brewer waging war.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 6, 2019: Clontarf 15 Terenure College 16, Castle Avenue; Friday, October 18, 2019: Clontarf 10 Terenure College 16, Castle Avenue
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win
UCD (10th) v UCC (9th), Belfield Bowl
Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCD: LLL; UCC: LLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: James Tarrant, David Heavey 10 each; Tries: David Heavey 2; UCC: Points: Rob Hedderman, Darragh French 8 each; Tries: Richard Thompson, Louis Bruce, Matthew Bowen, George Coomber, Alex Kendellen 1 each
Preview: UCD have strengthened their back-line for this intervarsity derby, bringing in Leinster Academy talent Chris Cosgrave at full-back and David Ryan in midfield. Captain Jack Ringrose reverts to the left wing.
Leinster Under-19 forward Diarmuid Mangan switches to a back row berth, with Mark Morrissey and Jonathan Fish combining at lock. Kevin Croke’s youngsters are chasing their first win, as are visitors UCC.
The Cork students travel with a strong selection, bolstered by the inclusion of Munster’s John Hodnett and Jack O’Sullivan in the back row. They also have Scott Buckley at hooker and the fit-again Cian Whooley returning at out-half.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 30, 2019: UCC 10 UCD 24, the Mardyke; Saturday, February 15, 2020: UCD 15 UCC 12, Belfield Bowl
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCD to win