Tonight’s Dublin derby between UCD and Terenure College launches round seven of Division 1A, before top four rivals Garryowen and Lansdowne battle it out on Saturday.
ENERGIA MEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – DIVISION 1A:
ROUND 7: Saturday, November 27
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
UCD (8th) v TERENURE COLLEGE (6th), Belfield Bowl, tonight, 8pm
Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCD: LLLWWL; Terenure College: WLLLWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: James Tarrant 46; Tries: Paddy Patterson 3; Terenure College: Points: Caolan Dooley 25; Tries: Craig Adams 4
Preview: Alex O’Grady, Ben Brownlee and Tim Corkery have been brought into the UCD back-line for tonight’s visit of Terenure College, who are hunting for their third league victory in a row.
Richie Bergin and Jonathan Fish have also been added to the students’ tight five, as they try to recapture the sort of form that saw them do the double over Terenure in 2019/20, winning 30-20 at home and 21-16 away.
Having beaten Dublin University and Garryowen, ‘Nure’s tails are up. Jake Swaine returns to a back-line marshalled by the experienced Cathal Marsh and Alan Bennie, while Jordan Coghlan resumes at number 8 and Luke Clohessy reverts to the second row.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 16, 2019: UCD 30 Terenure College 20, Belfield Bowl; Friday, February 21, 2020: Terenure College 16 UCD 21, Lakelands Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win
BALLYNAHINCH (10th) v CORK CONSTITUTION (5th), Ballymacarn Park
Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Ballynahinch: LLLLLL; Cork Constitution: LLLWWW
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; Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 43; Tries: Greg Higgins 3
Preview: Cork Constitution have the top four in their sights after stringing together a hat-trick of wins. A great example of Con’s strength in depth is the battle at scrum half between Duncan Williams, Gerry Hurley and John Poland.
Ballynahinch gave the Leesiders a tough outing in the corresponding fixture in 2020, and they will be hoping to create more opportunities out wide for Aaron Cairns and Yasser Omar, a two-time Ulster Schools Senior Cup winner with RBAI.
Cork Con captain Aidan Moynihan commented: “There are six or seven teams pushing for the top four, it’s so competitive this year. It’s going to go right down to the wire and it’s developing into another fantastic league.”
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 30, 2019: Cork Constitution 35 Ballynahinch 19, Temple Hill; Saturday, February 15, 2020: Ballynahinch 5 Cork Constitution 16, Ballymacarn Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (7th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (3rd), College Park
Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Dublin University: LWWLLW; Young Munster: WWWWWL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Dublin University: Points: Mick O’Kennedy 31; Tries: Mark Nicholson, Louis O’Reilly 2 each; Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 60; Tries: Conor Hayes 7
Preview: A huge encounter here, with Dublin University having some extra pep in their step following their last-gasp heroics against Lansdowne. They lost twice to Young Munster in 2019/20 and are out for revenge.
Leinster prop Thomas Clarkson had a successful return from a hamstring injury last week, coming off the bench for the students. His presence in the travelling squad would be a massive boost.
There are four personnel changes to the Young Munster team that lost 33-17 to Clontarf. Adam Maher, Luke Fitzgerald and Craig O’Hanlon are part of a rejigged back-line, while Sean Rigney is reunited with Tom Goggin at lock.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 30, 2019: Young Munster 28 Dublin University 24, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, February 15, 2020: Dublin University 9 Young Munster 21, College Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win
GARRYOWEN (4th) v LANSDOWNE (2nd), Dooradoyle
Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Garryowen: WWWWLL; Lansdowne: WWWLWL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Tony Butler 43; Tries: Bryan Fitzgerald, Pat O’Toole, Colm Quilligan 3 each; Lansdowne: Points: Charlie Tector 34; Tries: Cormac Foley 4
Preview: 20-year-old Munster Academy prop Mark Donnelly will get more game-time for Garryowen this weekend. He starts at loosehead, with fellow forwards Dylan Murphy and Tim Ferguson the only changes.
Light Blues boss Mike Sherry has kept faith with the back-line from last week’s 25-13 loss at Terenure. Notably, Connacht’s Peter Sullivan has been released to start on the left wing for Lansdowne.
Eamonn Mills, a try scorer against Trinity, and Sean Galvin also come into the Dubliners’ back-line. James Kenny takes over from Cormac Foley at scrum half, and Andy Marks fills in for Paul Kiernan in midfield.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 6, 2019: Lansdowne 54 Garryowen 26, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Saturday, October 12, 2019: Garryowen 25 Lansdowne 24, Dooradoyle;
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win
UCC (9th) v CLONTARF (1st), the Mardyke
Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCC: LLLLLW; Clontarf: WWWWLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCC: Points: Matthew Bowen 27; Tries: Matthew Bowen 5; Clontarf: Points: Dylan Donnellan 40; Tries: Dylan Donnellan 8
Preview: The goal for UCC is to back up last week’s tenacious performance which saw them break their duck away to Ballynahinch. Clontarf come calling as the new league leaders, after winning at Young Munster.
If ‘Tarf’s maul is firing on all cylinders again, it will take some stopping. Hooker Dylan Donnellan is top of the try scoring charts with eight, but the students will aim to stop him in his tracks.
UCC assistant coach Cian Bohane commented: “For us this weekend, it’s very much just going to be about bringing as much physicality as we possibly can to the game. Focus on performance and winning every battle we’re involved in.”
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 23, 2019: Clontarf 36 UCC 29, Castle Avenue; Saturday, November 2, 2019: UCC 20 Clontarf 27, the Mardyke
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win