It is second plays third in Division 2C of the Energia All-Ireland League, as promotion-chasing pair Skerries and Bangor battle it out on the north County Dublin coast.
ENERGIA MEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – DIVISION 2C:
ROUND 1o: Saturday, January 15
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
ENNISCORTHY (1st) v CLONMEL (9th), Alcast Park
With Skerries losing at Bangor before Christmas, Enniscorthy reclaimed top spot thanks to a 31-15 bonus point win at Clonmel. You would expect more of the same at Alcast Park tomorrow.
However, ‘Scorthy head coach Ben Manion will want a much more complete performance after being ‘patchy at times’ the last day. “It was disappointing that we allowed Clonmel back into the game in the last 15 minutes,” he said.
Clonmel have been playing a lot better than their results suggest, but that first victory continues to elude them. Ian Keatley’s side have only one bonus point and need to get something out of each game from now on.
OMAGH ACADEMICALS (6th) v CITY OF DERRY (8th), Thomas Mellon Playing Fields
Omagh will be all out to avenge their 20-0 defeat to City of Derry in the last round. They have won their last three home games and have bottled up the frustration of that scoreless display at Judge’s Road.
Out-half Alex McDonnell impressed for Derry with 10 points from the tee and some crucial tackles. Apart from the injured Simon Logue and David Lapsley, Derry will travel with an almost fully-fit squad.
“I felt Omagh maybe underestimated us a bit before Christmas, whether consciously or subconsciously, but that certainly won’t happen this time round,” admitted Derry head coach Richard McCarter, speaking to the Derry Journal.
SKERRIES (2nd) v BANGOR (3rd), Holmpatrick
Skerries are another team out to overturn a result from round 9. Their only defeat of the campaign so far saw them lose 27-15 at Bangor, after fighting back with tries from Tom Mulvany and Eoghan Carron.
Maintaining that level of performance is Bangor’s goal at the start of 2022. They found another gear to push on for the bonus point against the Goats, with winger Shay Storey helping himself to a second chip-and-chase try.
“Our win against Skerries keeps us right in the fight for the top four play-offs,” said Bangor director of rugby Tom Rock. “All we can do is keep working hard to develop our game and see where that leaves us come April.”
SUNDAY’S WELL (10th) v BRUFF (7th), Musgrave Park
Twenty points separated these sides when they met on December 11, but with home advantage and a fierce relegation battle on their hands, Sunday’s Well should be able to make it a much closer contest.
It was Bruff’s first triumph in four rounds and they have nine points to make up on fourth-placed Tullamore. Tries from Mark Fitzpatrick, Kevin Treacy, Ross O’Brien-May, David O’Grady and Sean D’Arcy did the damage.
On the plus side for Sunday’s Well, they have been picking up points at home. They pocketed losing bonuses against Derry, Tullamore and Bangor, but will tomorrow’s Munster derby produce their first win?
TULLAMORE (4th) v MIDLETON (5th), Spollanstown
These teams are split by just two points in the table, Midleton closing the gap courtesy of last month’s 27-13 victory at Towns Park. Young props Dan McCarthy and Fionn O’Connell stood up well to what Tullamore threw at them.
Hooker and captain Bryan Moore chipped in with another try for the Ken Murphy-coached Red Devils, whose work in the loose was the difference. Centres Shayne Anderson and Rory Horgan made some telling breaks.
Their reversal in Cork should not take away from what has been a very positive winter for the Tulliers. Playing at home for the first time since November 20, Darin Claasen’s charges are shaping up for a good crack at promotion.