We are two-thirds of the way into the Energia Men’s All-Ireland League season, and the leading five clubs in Division 1A finish this block of fixtures with home games.
ENERGIA MEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – DIVISION 1A:
ROUND 12: Saturday, January 29
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
CLONTARF (1st) v UCC (10th), Castle Avenue
Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Clontarf: WWWWLWWWWWW; UCC: LLLLLWLLLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: David Hawkshaw 58; Tries: Dylan Donnellan 10; UCC: Points: Matthew Bowen 27; Tries: Matthew Bowen 5
Preview: Clontarf are heavy favourites to wrap up their first dozen league matches with an 11th victory. It has been very difficult for teams to derail ‘Tarf’s pack, especially with Angus Lloyd controlling matters from scrum half.
The elevation of Jack O’Sullivan and Daniel Squires to the Ireland Under-20 squad will give UCC a timely boost, and they did show definite signs of improvement against Cork Constitution last week.
However, leaking points continues to be a big problem for Neil Lucey’s youngsters, and whether through their maul and going wide, Clontarf have the firepower to extend their winning run.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 2, 2019: UCC 20 Clontarf 27, the Mardyke; Saturday, November 27, 2021: UCC 17 Clontarf 36, the Mardyke
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win
CORK CONSTITUTION (5th) v BALLYNAHINCH (9th), Temple Hill
Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Cork Constitution: LLLWWWWWLLW; Ballynahinch: LLLLLLLLLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 79; Tries: Cathal O’Flaherty 4; Ballynahinch: Points: Greg Hutley 56; Tries: Rory Butler 3
Preview: Rory Butler has provided the impact off Ballynahinch’s bench, with three tries in two games. A first win still eludes them but they did battle back for a losing bonus point against Terenure College.
Reigning champions Cork Constitution got the result against UCC – 24-7 in front of a big home crowd – which keeps them just tucked in behind the top four. Number 8 David Hyland continues to impress.
‘Hinch gave Con a serious test back in November, losing out 19-17 after leading by five points at half-time. So, Brian Hickey’s charges are unlikely to be complacent against a side still scrapping to get out of the bottom two.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 15, 2020: Ballynahinch 5 Cork Constitution 16, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, November 27, 2021: Ballynahinch 17 Cork Constitution 19, Ballymacarn Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win
LANSDOWNE (2nd) v GARRYOWEN (7th), Aviva Stadium back pitch
Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Lansdowne: WWWLWLWWWWL; Garryowen: WWWWLLLLLLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Charlie Tector 69; Tries: Cormac Foley, Peter Sullivan 5 each; Garryowen: Points: Tony Butler 56; Tries: Colm Quilligan 6
Preview: Lansdowne and Garryowen’s two top scorers, out-halves Charlie Tector and Tony Butler, have both been included in Ireland’s Under-20 Six Nations squad. Tector has been playing at centre most recently.
The headquarters club are on course to finish in the top two, but cannot afford a repeat of last week’s 32-27 defeat at UCD. Connacht’s Peter Sullivan has made the most of his game-time at club level, tallying up five tries.
Lowering Lansdowne’s colours on the back of beating Young Munster would be huge for Garryowen. Head coach Mike Sherry commented: “We’re still ambitious and want to get into the play-offs. It’s all hands on deck and it will require another big effort to get a victory up in Dublin.”
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 12, 2019: Garryowen 25 Lansdowne 24, Dooradoyle;; Saturday, November 27, 2021: Garryowen 5 Lansdowne 29, Dooradoyle
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win
TERENURE COLLEGE (3rd) v UCD (8th), Lakelands Park
Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WLLLWWWWWWW; UCD: LLLWWLLLLLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Craig Adams 40; Tries: Craig Adams 8; UCD: Points: James Tarrant 58; Tries: Paddy Patterson 5
Preview: In-form Terenure College make two changes for the visit of UCD. The experienced Stephen O’Neill, who captains the side, and Luke Clohessy come in on the right wing and at openside flanker respectively.
UCD are without the provincial players who served them so well last week against Lansdowne, including two-try Munster scrum half Paddy Patterson. David Ryan pairs up with James Tarrant in the centre.
In total there are seven personnel changes for the students, who bring in Luke Maloney, Ross Deegan, Tim Corkery, Richie Fahey, Gerry Hill, Jack Gardiner and Jack Coolican. Leinster Academy back rower Sean O’Brien shifts to number 8.
Recent League Meetings – Friday, February 21, 2020: Terenure College 16 UCD 21, Lakelands Park; Friday, November 26, 2021: UCD 12 Terenure College 20, UCD Bowl
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win
YOUNG MUNSTER (4th) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (6th), Tom Clifford Park
Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Young Munster: WWWWWLLWWWL; Dublin University: LWWLLWWLWWL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 102; Tries: Conor Hayes 9; Dublin University: Points: Aran Egan 66; Tries: Aran Egan 4
Preview: There are five personnel changes to the Dublin University team this week. Joe McCarthy’s senior debut for Leinster sees Ulster’s Harry Sheridan revert to the second row alongside Jack Dunne.
Luis Faria, Liam McMahon, Bart Vermeulen, Thomas Connolly and Anthony Ryan freshen up Trinity’s starting XV. They are chasing a season’s double over Young Munster after November’s dominant 38-3 home win.
The Cookies are smarting from that derby reversal at the hands of Garryowen. Their talented young out-half Evan Cusack is out in front as the division’s leading scorer, his 14-point haul last week taking him through the 100-point mark.
Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 15, 2020: Dublin University 9 Young Munster 21, College Park; Saturday, November 27, 2021: Dublin University 38 Young Munster 3, College Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win