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

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

The Terenure College forwards get a lineout maul against UCD earlier this season ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Having won their last 19 games between them, Clontarf and Terenure College are set for a titanic tussle when they meet in the latest round of Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 1A action.

ENERGIA MEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – DIVISION 1A:

ROUND 15: Saturday, March 5

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

CLONTARF (1st) v TERENURE COLLEGE (3rd), Castle Avenue

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Clontarf: WWWWLWWWWWWWWW; Terenure College: WLLLWWWWWWWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Dylan Donnellan 65; Tries: Dylan Donnellan 13; Terenure College: Points: Jake Swaine 53; Tries: Craig Adams 9

Preview: Someone’s unbeaten record will have to go at Castle Avenue, with leaders Clontarf winning nine on the bounce and third-placed Terenure College, who lost 29-14 to ‘Tarf in October, proudly holding a 10-match winning streak.

Top-scoring duo Jake Swaine (53 points) and Craig Adams (9 tries) return to the back-three for Terenure. Stephen O’Neill is benched, so Harrison Brewer takes over the captaincy and Mike Murphy is the final change in the second row.

Clontarf’s Soroka brothers, Ivan and Alex, have a strong family link with Ukraine, and the club will give all of tomorrow’s gate money to the Irish Red Cross Ukraine Emergency Appeal and Humanitarian Fund. There will also be a bucket collection.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, October 18, 2019: Clontarf 10 Terenure College 16, Castle Avenue; Saturday, October 30, 2021: Terenure College 14 Clontarf 29, Lakelands Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (6th) v CORK CONSTITUTION (4th), College Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Dublin University: LWWLLWWLWWLWLL; Cork Constitution: LLLWWWWWLLWWDW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Dublin University: Points: Aran Egan 88; Tries: Aran Egan 5; Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 112; Tries: Greg Higgins 5

Preview: Fresh from lining out for Leinster last week, Max O’Reilly and Jack Dunne will feature for Dublin University in their must-win clash with Cork Constitution. O’Reilly’s presence at full-back sees Rob Russell revert to the right wing.

Trinity, who trail fourth-placed Cork Con by 11 points, also welcome back captain Mick O’Kennedy at out-half. They have lost to Lansdowne and Terenure in the last fortnight, while their October trip to Cork resulted in a 32-13 defeat.

Constitution have really hit their straps in recent rounds, scoring some excellent tries last week against Garryowen. Skipper Aidan Moynihan accumulated 27 points in the last two rounds, with centre Greg Higgins chasing his third try in four games.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 29, 2020: Dublin University 0 Cork Constitution 27, College Park; Saturday, October 30, 2021: Cork Constitution 32 Dublin University 13, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

GARRYOWEN (7th) v BALLYNAHINCH (9th), Dooradoyle

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Garryowen: WWWWLLLLLLWLLL; Ballynahinch: LLLLLLLLLLLLWL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Tony Butler 63; Tries: Colm Quilligan, Bryan Fitzgerald 6 each; Ballynahinch: Points: Greg Hutley 67; Tries: Kyle McCall 4

Preview: A dose of home comforts for Garryowen after being held scoreless by Cork Con. Recapturing some winning form is important for Mike Sherry’s men, especially with the Munster Senior Cup final against Young Munster now pencilled in for Friday, March 18.

They are seeking a season’s double over Ballynahinch, following their 27-22 Halloween weekend triumph at Ballymacarn Park. First half tries from Pat O’Toole (2) and Munster’s Jack Daly proved just enough that day.

‘Hinch emerged pointless after giving UCD a thorough test last week, and they will hope to have Ulster’s Cormac Izuchukwu and Tom Stewart available again. Former provincial prop Kyle McCall has chipped in with three tries in two games.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 2, 2019: Garryowen 25 Ballynahinch 5, Dooradoyle; Saturday, October 30, 2021: Ballynahinch 22 Garryowen 27, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Garryowen to win

YOUNG MUNSTER (5th) v LANSDOWNE (2nd), Tom Clifford Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Young Munster: WWWWWLLWWWLLLW; Lansdowne: WWWLWLWWWWLWWL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 111; Tries: Conor Hayes 9; Lansdowne: Points: Charlie Tector 69; Tries: Sean Galvin 6

Preview: When these clubs graced the Aviva Stadium’s main pitch earlier in the season, they served up an electrifying five-try contest which was decided by Young Munster winger Conor Hayes’ hat-trick of scores.

With Hayes’ injury-enforced absence playing a part, the Cookies endured a difficult start to 2022, which included a heavy Bateman Cup final defeat to Lansdowne, and the sides lock horns here for the first time since that 46-13 verdict.

Munsters did at least get back to winning ways against UCC, but Lansdowne are smarting from losing their top of the table clash with ‘Tarf. There is a starting centre spot for Stephen Madigan, with Ben Popplewell and Joey Szpara the two changes up front.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 22, 2020: Young Munster 21 Lansdowne 20, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, October 30, 2021: Lansdowne 20 Young Munster 24, Aviva Stadium main pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win

UCC (10th) v UCD (8th), the Mardyke, 3pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCC: LLLLLWLLLLLLLL; UCD: LLLWWLLLLLWLDW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCC: Points: Matthew Bowen 27; Tries: Matthew Bowen 5; UCD: Points: James Tarrant 61; Tries: David Ryan 6

Preview: For this Colours encounter, UCC head coach Neil Lucey makes four personnel changes to the side that lost 12-7 to Young Munster. Billy Kingston, Richard Thompson and Jack O’Sullivan are brought into the Jack Kelleher-led pack.

George Coomber makes way for Louis Bruce at full-back as the Cork youngsters look to avenge a 40-31 defeat from October. UCD’s unchanged back-line includes in-form centre David Ryan who has scored four tries in five games.

Rory Mulvihill, Jonathan Fish and Leinster Academy back rower Sean O’Brien are the visitors’ three changes up front. Chris Hennessy moves across to the tighthead position, and Diarmuid Mangan, who impressed for the Leinster Under-19s this season, reverts to the back row.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 15, 2020: UCD 15 UCC 12, UCD Bowl; Saturday, October 30, 2021: UCD 40 UCC 31, UCD Bowl

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCD to win