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

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

Leinster out-half Harry Byrne will line out for Lansdowne against Clontarf in Energia All-Ireland League Men's Division 1A ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Another exciting afternoon of rugby awaits in Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 1A, with much of the focus on the heavyweight meeting of reigning champions Clontarf and Lansdowne, the 2018 winners.


Saturday, October 8

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

BALLYNAHINCH (4th) v SHANNON (10th), Ballymacarn Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Ballynahinch: W; Shannon: L
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Greg Hutley 14; Tries: George Pringle 2; Shannon: Points: Mike Cooke 3; Tries: –

Preview: With Ronan Coffey sidelined, scrum half Aran Hehir will captain Shannon against a fast-starting Ballynahinch. John Bateman and Josh Costello are added to the back-three, and Darragh McSweeney joins fellow Munster Academy prop Kieran Ryan in the front row.

Shannon head coach Pat O’Connor commented: “Last week (against Terenure) was a real lesson for us as to where we need to go. There’s a marker there set, and hopefully we can start to improve and get towards that. It is a higher level and the quality is much higher in this division.”

Ballynahinch have not hosted Shannon in an All-Ireland League fixture since both clubs were in Division 1B back in December 2017. A repeat of their performance at Lansdowne last Saturday would go some way to keeping up the winning momentum.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 2, 2017: Ballynahinch 42 Shannon 15, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, December 9, 2017: Shannon 49 Ballynahinch 19, Thomond Park back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballynahinch to win

CLONTARF (3rd) v LANSDOWNE (6th), Castle Avenue

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Clontarf: W; Lansdowne: L
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Dylan Donnellan 10; Tries: Dylan Donnellan 2; Lansdowne: Points: Luke Thompson, Dan Murphy, Jack Matthews, Sean Galvin, Donough Lawlor 5 each; Tries: Luke Thompson, Dan Murphy, Jack Matthews, Sean Galvin, Donough Lawlor 1 each

Preview: Lansdowne are able to draft in Leinster’s Harry Byrne for their much-anticipated trip to title holders Clontarf. A notable inclusion on the bench is Dundalk man Tadgh McElroy, who is back from a loan spell at London Irish.

Leinster have released Byrne to get game-time this week and he slots in at out-half, as Mark McHugh’s men look to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to Ballynahinch. Leinster Academy prop Temi Lasisi makes his first AIL start for Lansdowne.

Top try-scoring hooker Dylan Donnellan takes over the Clontarf captaincy in the injury-enforced absence of Matt D’Arcy. ‘Tarf welcome back Mick Kearney at lock and give Wicklow RFC product Noah Sheridan his debut at full-back.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, November 5, 2021: Clontarf 5 Lansdowne 22, Castle Avenue; Friday, February 25, 2022: Lansdowne 14 Clontarf 23, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (1st) v UCD (8th), College Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Dublin University: W; UCD: L
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Dublin University: Points: Aran Egan 25; Tries: Aran Egan 3; UCD: Points: Mark Fleming, Sean O’Brien, David Ryan 5 each; Tries: Mark Fleming, Sean O’Brien, David Ryan 1 each

Preview: 23-year-old Leinster centre Liam Turner is back from a toe injury to feature in Dublin University’s midfield against UCD. Trinity, the leaders after the opening round, will put the Dudley Cup on the line against their arch rivals.

The highly-rated Paddy McCarthy and Leinster Academy hooker Lee Barron are the only changes up front for Tony Smeeth’s charges. The UCD team is unchanged, rewarded for an encouraging opening performance against Clontarf.

Dylan O’Grady and Leinster’s Chris Cosgrave will offer the threats out wide for College. Back rowers Mark Fleming and Sean O’Brien both touched down last week and will need big performances if UCD are to beat Trinity for the first time since October 2019.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, October 8, 2021: UCD 0 Dublin University 31, UCD Bowl; Friday, April 1, 2022: Dublin University 34 UCD 27, College Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dublin University to win


Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: W; Cork Constitution: W
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Caolan Dooley 9; Tries: Colm de Buitléar, Jordan Coghlan, Harrison Brewer, Craig Adams, Luke Clohessy, Matthew Bowen 1 each; Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 11; Tries: James Murphy 1

Preview: Munster scrum half Paddy Patterson will make his All-Ireland League bow for Cork Constitution who, following a hard-fought victory over Young Munster, travel to second-placed Terenure College.

Former UCC player Harry O’Riordan slots into midfield for Jonny Holland’s side, taking the place of former Con captain Niall Kenneally who is unavailable. Greg Higgins forms the 9-10-12 axis with Patterson and skipper Aidan Moynihan.

Peter Sylvester returns at inside centre for Terenure, meaning place-kicker Caolan Dooley reverts to the right wing. Their hulking set of forwards are unchanged unsurprisingly, with Conall Boomer and Michael Melia starring against Shannon.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 11, 2021: Cork Constitution 12 Terenure College 16, Temple Hill; Saturday, January 15, 2022: Terenure College 13 Cork Constitution 6, Lakelands Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win

YOUNG MUNSTER (7th) v GARRYOWEN (9th), Tom Clifford Park, 5pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Young Munster: L; Garryowen: L
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Conor Hayes 10; Tries: Conor Hayes 2; Garryowen: Points: Tony Butler 9; Tries: Bryan Fitzgerald 1

Preview: Powerful flanker Sean Rennison is back to captain Garryowen for their derby visit to Young Munster. A reshuffled back-line includes Matt Sheehan in the centre and Munster Development player Henry Buttimer on the left wing.

Young Munster give a first start to Irish-qualified hooker George Jacobs who hails from New Zealand. He replaces Dan Walsh, with tighthead Conor Bartley stepping up as the Cookies’ captain for the early evening kick-off.

Shay McCarthy joins Evan O’Gorman in a new-look centre pairing for Munsters. Jack Harrington comes onto the left wing, and the 6ft 7in Eoin O’Connor, who has joined the Munster senior squad on a one-year deal, starts in the engine room.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 4, 2021: Young Munster 20 Garryowen 16, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, January 22, 2022: Garryowen 31 Young Munster 24, Dooradoyle

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win