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

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

A view of a scrum during UCD's Energia All-Ireland League defeat to Young Munster at the UCD Bowl before Christmas ©INPHO/Tom Maher

The leading three teams in Division 1A begin 2022 with home fixtures, while defending champions Cork Constitution have revenge on their minds against Terenure College.


ROUND 10: Saturday, January 15

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

CLONTARF (1st) v GARRYOWEN (7th), Castle Avenue

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Clontarf: WWWWLWWWW; Garryowen: WWWWLLLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Conor Kearns 42; Tries: Dylan Donnellan 8; Garryowen: Points: Tony Butler 43; Tries: Colm Quilligan 4

Preview: Clontarf would have wanted to play on through the festive period given their recent form. Especially talismanic lock Cormac Daly who has scored five tries in his last three games.

Winning 17-0 at Garryowen last time out was a real statement of intent from Andy Wood’s men. They will be prepared for a backlash from the Light Blues, who deserved something out of the game given their endeavour.

Garryowen can look back to February 2020 for some inspiration, when they emerged as 32-13 winners at Castle Avenue. Their current leading try scorer, winger Colm Quilligan, grabbed one of their four tries on the day.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 22, 2020: Clontarf 13 Garryowen 32, Castle Avenue; Saturday, December 11, 2021: Garryowen 0 Clontarf 17, Dooradoyle

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

LANSDOWNE (2nd) v BALLYNAHINCH (10th), Aviva Stadium back pitch

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Lansdowne: WWWLWLWWW; Ballynahinch: LLLLLLLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Charlie Tector 45; Tries: Cormac Foley 5; Ballynahinch: Points: Greg Hutley 38; Tries: Shane Ball, Greg Hutley 2 each

Preview: Back on league duty after securing their Bateman Cup final place, Lansdowne strengthen their front row for the visit of bottom-placed Ballynahinch. Leinster’s Peter Dooley returns at loosehead.

Two more provincial caps, Michael Silvester and Peter Sullivan, come into a reshuffled back-line which has Ireland Under-20 prospect Charlie Tector – usually an out-half – at inside centre.

‘Hinch raised their spirits by winning the Ulster Rugby Premiership before Christmas. Director of rugby Tim Morton said: “With a trophy in the cabinet against a strong Queen’s team, there’s no better way to regroup and go hard at the second half of the AIL.”

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 29, 2020: Lansdowne 12 Ballynahinch 6, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Saturday, December 11, 2021: Ballynahinch 10 Lansdowne 24, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win


Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WLLLWWWWW; Cork Constitution: LLLWWWWWL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Jake Swaine 28; Tries: Craig Adams 5; Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 64; Tries: Cathal O’Flaherty 4

Preview: A huge match for both clubs as Terenure College aim for a very rare season’s double over Cork Constitution. Luke Clohessy’s second try in as many games helped ‘Nure prevail 16-12 at Temple Hill.

Winger Sam Coghlan Murray and prop Andy Keating come in as ‘Nure’s two changes. Cork Con sharpened up for tomorrow by winning the Munster Senior Plate last week, running five tries past Shannon.

Terenure number 8 Jordan Coghlan is expecting a tough encounter, saying: “Everyone is really looking forward to it, getting stuck into this weekend and getting stuck into the second half of the season. Seeing where we end up towards the end.”

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 2, 2019: Terenure College 10 Cork Constitution 13, Lakelands Park; Saturday, December 11, 2021: Cork Constitution 12 Terenure College 16, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

UCC (9th) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (6th), the Mardyke

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCC: LLLLLWLLL; Dublin University: LWWLLWWLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCC: Points: Matthew Bowen 27; Tries: Matthew Bowen 5; Dublin University: Points: Mick O’Kennedy 54; Tries: Harry Sheridan, Marcus Kiely 3 each

Preview: It was a busy festive period for some of UCC’s leading lights, with new Munster contracts for Scott Buckley, Jack O’Sullivan and Alex Kendellen, while fellow forward Jack Kelleher captained the Munster Development team.

Results on the pitch have been hard to come by and they were very much second best away to Dublin University in the last round. 21-point out-half Mick O’Kennedy pulled the strings in a runaway 48-8 home win.

Trinity head to the Mardyke for the return leg, entering a crucial few weeks for the top-four aspirations. Kildare man Marcus ‘Stretch’ Kiely has scored two tries in three games, having moved to the centre.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 5, 2019: Dublin University 20 UCC 30, College Park; Saturday, December 11, 2021: Dublin University 48 UCC 8, College Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dublin University to win

YOUNG MUNSTER (3rd) v UCD (8th), Tom Clifford Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Young Munster: WWWWWLLWW; UCD: LLLWWLLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 81; Tries: Conor Hayes 8; UCD: Points: James Tarrant 46; Tries: Paddy Patterson 3

Preview: Conor Hayes, the division’s joint-top try scorer with eight tries, returns on the right wing for Young Munster’s rematch with UCD. Jason Kiely, Pa Ryan and scrum half Donnacha O’Callaghan also come into the back-line.

Mark O’Mara and Dan Walsh slot back into the pack, while the Cookies’ bench includes Munster talents Patrick Campbell and Conor Moloney, who are both in contention for the Ireland Under-20 Six Nations squad.

Ben Brownlee, another of the Ireland U-20 prospects, rejoins James Tarrant in UCD’s midfield. Lock Mark Morrissey and Leinster Academy flanker Sean O’Brien are the other players brought into the side that lost 18-12 at Belfield.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 2, 2019: UCD 9 Young Munster 9, Belfield Bowl; Saturday, December 11, 2021: UCD 12 Young Munster 18, UCD Bowl

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win