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Energia Men’s All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

Energia Men’s All-Ireland League: Division 1A Previews

Cork Constitution scrum half Gerry Hurley throws a pass during their hard-earned win away to UCD back in January 2020 ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

The basement battle between Ballynahinch and UCC is a key fixture this weekend as the top flight of the Energia Men’s All-Ireland League resumes.


ROUND 6: Saturday, November 20

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

‘Energia AIL: A 30 Year Rugby Legacy’, will air on TG4 this Sunday at 5.15pm, and will be available episodically to watch on YouTube from next Monday.

LANSDOWNE (3rd) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (7th), Aviva Stadium back pitch, tonight, 7.30pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Lansdowne: WWWLW; Dublin University: LWWLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Charlie Tector 34; Tries: Cormac Foley 4; Dublin University: Points: Mick O’Kennedy 31; Tries: Mark Nicholson 2

Preview: Paul Boyle’s younger brother Mark returns at number 8 for Lansdowne tonight, with former Ulster player Clive Ross reverting to the blindside berth and captain Jack O’Sullivan switching to openside.

Frank Kavanagh and promising young tighthead JJ Hession are brought into the front row and Peter Hastie starts at out-half, as the headquarters club look to build on their recent 22-5 victory at Clontarf.

Dublin University make the short trip with a strong side, bolstered by the availability of Leinster’s Joe McCarthy, Thomas Clarkson and Jack Dunne. Aran Egan fills in for captain Mick O’Kennedy at out-half.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 19, 2019: Lansdowne 66 Dublin University 33, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Saturday, November 2, 2019: Lansdowne 11 Dublin University 13, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win

BALLYNAHINCH (9th) v UCC (10th), Ballymacarn Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Ballynahinch: LLLLL; UCC: LLLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Greg Hutley 24; Tries: Chris Gibson, Greg Hutley, Marcus Rea, Aaron Cairns, James Simpson, Conor McAuley, Shane Ball, Kyle McCall 1 each; UCC: Points: Matthew Bowen 22; Tries: Matthew Bowen 4

Preview: University opponents again for Ballynahinch as they resume their league campaign a fortnight on from a chastening 42-17 defeat at UCD. Their South African full-back Shane Ball got off the mark with a try.

‘Hinch’s second half showing in Belfield did at least give them some momentum to bring forward into round six. They will have taken note of UCC’s impressive display against high-flying Young Munster.

The Cork students were held try-less but tested the Cookies throughout. They will hope for an improved performance from their scrum tomorrow, along with more opportunities for speedster Matthew Bowen who has four tries to his name.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 27, 2018: Ballynahinch 23 UCC 7, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, October 12, 2019: UCC 39 Ballynahinch 6, the Mardyke

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballynahinch to win

CORK CONSTITUTION (5th) v UCD (6th), Temple Hill

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Cork Constitution: LLLWW; UCD: LLLWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 35; Tries: Sean French 2; UCD: Points: James Tarrant 39; Tries: Paddy Patterson 3

Preview: The last three league encounters between these clubs have produced a famous 27-20 win for UCD in Temple Hill, a big 53-10 backlash from Cork Constitution, and then a four-point cliffhanger in Con’s favour.

The Leesiders’ takedown of Garryowen last time out suggests they are back on track, pushing themselves back towards the top four. UCD are just two points behind them, following back-to-back home wins.

The Kevin Croke-coached students are without their top try scorer, Munster’s Paddy Patterson, for the next few weeks. Rob Gilsenan replaces him at scrum half, Tom Coughlan is the only other change in the second row.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 7, 2019: Cork Constitution 53 UCD 10, Temple Hill; Saturday, January 25, 2020: UCD 25 Cork Constitution 29, Belfield Bowl

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

TERENURE COLLEGE (8th) v GARRYOWEN (2nd), Lakelands Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WLLLW; Garryowen: WWWWL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: James Thornton 20; Tries: Craig Adams 3; Garryowen: Points: Tony Butler 40; Tries: Bryan Fitzgerald, Pat O’Toole, Colm Quilligan 3 each

Preview: Former Leinster out-half Cathal Marsh slots into the Terenure College back-line for the visit of second-placed Garryowen. ‘Nure are looking to back up their last-gasp triumph at Trinity two weeks ago.

James Connolly and Jordan Coghlan are notable absentees in the back row, meaning a positional switch for Luke Clohessy to openside flanker. Conall Boomer starts at number 8 and Mike Murphy comes into the engine room.

With Munster embarking on their two-match South African tour, Garryowen are without the likes of Ben Healy and Jack Daly. Academy call-up Tony Butler is set to return at out-half, eager to add to his 40 points so far.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 30, 2019: Terenure College 14 Garryowen 27, Lakelands Park; Saturday, February 15, 2020: Garryowen 8 Terenure College 5, Dooradoyle

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win

YOUNG MUNSTER (1st) v CLONTARF (4th), Tom Clifford Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Young Munster: WWWWW; Clontarf: WWWWL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 58; Tries: Conor Hayes 6; Clontarf: Points: David Hawkshaw 34; Tries: Dylan Donnellan 5

Preview: Patrick Campbell, one of three new additions to the Munster Academy, returns at full-back for Young Munster’s top-four clash with Clontarf. Conor Hayes reverts to the right wing.

The table-topping Cookies pair Tom Goggin and captain Alan Kennedy together in the second row, with the Brisbane-born Bailey Faloon promoted from the bench to start at blindside.

Clontarf, who won 7-6 on their most recent visit to Greenfields, were stymied by Lansdowne’s robust defence in the last round. Five-try hooker Dylan Donnellan remains a big weapon for ‘Tarf from mauls.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 19, 2019: Clontarf 24 Young Munster 20, Castle Avenue; Saturday, October 5, 2019: Young Munster 6 Clontarf 7, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win