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

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

Clontarf hooker Dylan Donnellan, pictured in action against Dublin University, is Division 1A's top try scorer with 10 tries so far ©INPHO/Tom Maher

It is derby time again in Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A, with Garryowen and Young Munster going head-to-head in Limerick and table toppers Clontarf visiting Dublin University in the capital.


ROUND 11: Saturday, January 22

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

BALLYNAHINCH (10th) v TERENURE COLLEGE (4th), Ballymacarn Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Ballynahinch: LLLLLLLLLL; Terenure College: WLLLWWWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Greg Hutley 43; Tries: Shane Ball, Greg Hutley 2 each; Terenure College: Points: Craig Adams 35; Tries: Craig Adams 7

Preview: Eight rounds remain and bottom side Ballynahinch have eight points to make up on third-from-bottom UCD. They are fighting to avoid a two-legged relegation play-off in April.

Terenure College have put together a six-match winning streak. Their attack is looking sharp, with winger Craig Adams now on seven tries, and they are back in the top four where they want to stay.

39-point winners at home to ‘Hinch last month, ‘Nure make four changes this week. Matthew Caffrey and Conall Boomer return up front, with Jake Swaine and Cathal Marsh coming in at full-back and out-half respectively.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 5, 2019: Ballynahinch 19 Terenure College 22, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, December 4, 2021: Terenure College 39 Ballynahinch 0, Lakelands Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win

CORK CONSTITUTION (6th) v UCC (9th), Temple Hill

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Cork Constitution: LLLWWWWWLL; UCC: LLLLLWLLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 70; Tries: Cathal O’Flaherty 4; UCC: Points: Matthew Bowen 27; Tries: Matthew Bowen 5

Preview: Losing twice to Terenure College has rocked Cork Constitution back onto their heels, but with eight bonus points so far, they are still just two points outside of the top four and a place in the play-offs.

Notably, the defending champions were also held try-less across both games by the Dubliners – with captain Aidan Moynihan kicking six penalties – so they will want to rediscover their clinical edge in this local derby.

Although Neil Lucey’s young UCC side are expected to be boosted by some of their Munster players, a losing bonus point may be their best hope. They round off the month with a trip to league leaders Clontarf.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, February 21, 2020: Cork Constitution 16 UCC 12, Temple Hill; Saturday, December 4, 2021: UCC 0 Cork Constitution 45, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (5th) v CLONTARF (1st), College Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Dublin University: LWWLLWWLWW; Clontarf: WWWWLWWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Dublin University: Points: Aran Egan 57; Tries: Aran Egan 4; Clontarf: Points: David Hawkshaw, Dylan Donnellan 50 each; Tries: Dylan Donnellan 10

Preview: Jack Dunne, who has been linked with a move to Exeter Chiefs, is part of a strong Dublin University pack tomorrow. He partners Joe McCarthy at lock, with Ulster’s Harry Sheridan shifting to the back row.

Lee Barron, Thomas Clarkson, Liam Turner and Rob Russell bring the Leinster contingent to six for Trinity, but beefy visitors Clontarf, who beat the students 27-7 last month, will take some stopping.

They may have lost prop Vakh Abdaladze to a probable Champions Cup debut for Leinster, but table-topping ‘Tarf have enviable strength in depth. Hooker Dylan Donnellan tops the division’s try scorer charts with 10.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 25, 2020: Clontarf 41 Dublin University 23, Castle Avenue; Saturday, December 4, 2021: Clontarf 27 Dublin University 7, Castle Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

GARRYOWEN (7th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (3rd), Dooradoyle

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Garryowen: WWWWLLLLLL; Young Munster: WWWWWLLWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Tony Butler 45; Tries: Colm Quilligan 4; Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 88; Tries: Conor Hayes 9

Preview: Dan Walsh, who gets the nod at number 8, captains Young Munster in the absence of the injured Alan Kennedy. They are gunning for a quick-fire double over an out-of-sorts Garryowen.

Munster centre Dan Goggin will start for the Cookies, who also bring in provincial starlet Patrick Campbell at full-back, following his late match-winning try at home to UCD last week.

Winning a hard-edged Limerick derby could turn Garryowen’s season around. The onus will be on Tony Butler and Evan Maher to get the attack firing again after just four tries scored in the last four games.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, February 28, 2020: Garryowen 7 Young Munster 11, Dooradoyle; Saturday, December 4, 2021: Young Munster 20 Garryowen 16, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win

UCD (8th) v LANSDOWNE (2nd), UCD Bowl

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCD: LLLWWLLLLL; Lansdowne: WWWLWLWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: James Tarrant 46; Tries: Paddy Patterson, David Ryan 3 each; Lansdowne: Points: Charlie Tector 57; Tries: Cormac Foley 5

Preview: Leinster duo Scott Penny and Tommy O’Brien are back in UCD colours for the visit of second-placed Lansdowne. Munster scrum half Paddy Patterson also features as the students aim for a much-needed win.

The provincial trio all start against a Lansdowne side that won 48-15 when the clubs met over a month ago. They won by a similar margin against ‘Hinch last week, with former UCD back Andy Marks touching down.

Liam O’Sullivan and Corey Reid return to the Lansdowne back-line, with Ireland Under-20 prospect Charlie Tector reverting to out-half. Forwards Ben Popplewell, Conan Dunne and Dan Murphy make it five personnel changes.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 5, 2019: Lansdowne 33 UCD 3, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Saturday, December 4, 2021: Lansdowne 48 UCD 15, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win