The Tipperary bragging rights and valuable Energia All-Ireland League points are on the line tonight when Nenagh Ormond kick off the round three action by hosting local rivals Cashel.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE MEN’S DIVISION 2A – ROUND 3:
Saturday, October 15
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
NENAGH ORMOND (2nd) v CASHEL (3rd), New Ormond Park, tonight, 8pm
Nenagh Ormond lost the corresponding fixture 20-10 in early April, but look a far stronger unit now. Two wins out of two have Derek Corcoran’s charges sitting second in the table, with young full-back James Finn kicking 18 points.
Cashel make the trip to Lisatunny with a spring in their step after beating UL Bohemians 32-9. When their scrum and lineout fire on all cylinders, they are a match for anyone. Especially with Josh Pickering and Richard Kingston in the backs.
In-form Nenagh feel they are well overdue a derby win over Cashel. They are winless in the last seven such league encounters, with Nenagh last victorious in January 2018 when Kevin O’Gorman’s late try saw them prevail 30-29 at home.
BLACKROCK COLLEGE (6th) v OLD CRESCENT (9th), Stradbrook
Blackrock College were certainly knocked back down to earth by last Saturday’s stinging defeat to Dolphin. 27 points was the difference and they were made to pay for a sluggish start and a high number of missed tackles.
Former captain Brian Colclough returns at full-back, Peter Quirke is reunited with Mark Edwards at half-back, and Joe Byrne slots in at tighthead prop. Ex-Old Crescent forwards Cian Reale and Niall Hardiman also start for ‘Rock.
Recent Munster debutant Ruadhan Quinn, who turns 19 on Monday, will pack down at number 8 for Old Crescent. Another of their talented teenagers, Stephen Kiely, has caught the eye with four tries from full-back so far.
MU BARNHALL (4th) v QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY (1st), Parsonstown
MU Barnhall were unable to mark captain Gareth Murray’s 200th All-Ireland League appearance with a win, but the bonus point gained in Nenagh keeps them in the top four. Queen’s University remain the acid test in this division.
Barnhall out-half Adam Chester already has 31 points to his name, and they were no too far off Queen’s last season, losing 24-15 at home before March’s rematch in Belfast was won 26-15 by Derek Suffern’s students.
A laser-focused Queen’s overcame Charlie Irvine’s red card last week to finish clear of Old Crescent. The tries continue to rain down, 17 so far including two each from Lorcan McLoughlin, Simon McMaster, Graham Curtis, Gary Dillon and Jonny Hunter.
NAVAN (5th) v DOLPHIN (7th), Balreask Old
Navan were shaping nicely against Ballymena before being edged out in a tight second half. Their forwards have found some good early season form, and tomorrow will be a big test against a Dolphin side buoyed by their conquering of Blackrock.
Conor Farrell and Jack Nelson have performed well for the Meath men, who have big South African Riaan van Vyver back at inside centre. They last hosted Dolphin in April 2019 when they hammered them 83-7.
The Corkmen look a much-improved force now, with Brian Scott at the helm and Tomas Quinlan starring at number 10 against Blackrock. Young Tralee centre Sam Boyle is one to watch, having blitzed the ‘Rock defence for an excellent 80-metre try.
UL BOHEMIANS (10th) v BALLYMENA (8th), UL Arena
A ‘Super Saturday’ double header at the University of Limerick’s North Campus, with both the men’s and women’s teams in AIL action. Ian Keatley’s UL Bohs will be determined to close out this first block of matches with a maiden win.
Defence has been an issue for UL with 52 points conceded in the first two rounds. Ballymena have leaked the same amount of points, but posted their first victory last Saturday with skipper Glenn Baillie and Callum Patterson to the fore.
Eager to follow up on that hard-fought triumph over Navan, centre Patterson said: “I felt we controlled most of that game. Our discipline let us down a bit, but we’re happy to take the win and we’ll look to build on it when we visit Bohs.”