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

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

Terenure College and UCD will battle it out for All-Ireland League points and the Eddie Thornton Memorial Trophy ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Four of the leading five clubs in Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division A are at home this weekend, including leaders Terenure College who host UCD in a Dublin derby.


Saturday, October 29

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

CLONTARF (3rd) v SHANNON (10th), Castle Avenue

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Clontarf: WWW; Shannon: LLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Conor Kelly 22; Tries: Dylan Donnellan 3; Shannon: Points: Mike Cooke 12; Tries: Ethan Coughlan 2

Preview: Clontarf’s talismanic captain Matt D’Arcy returns from injury for Saturday’s home clash with bottom side Shannon. Leinster Academy scrum half Ben Murphy could be involved off the bench for the north Dubliners.

Shannon last visited Castle Avenue in March 2019, towards the tail end of their most recent season in the top flight. Current Munster and Emerging Ireland lock Tom Ahern was the on their bench that day.

Pat O’Connor’s troops are producing some strong spells but a complete 80-minute performance has remained out of reach. Their pack is beefed up this week by Kieran Ryan, Jordan Prenderville and Ronan Coffey in the tight five, as well as Kelvin Brown’s return at openside flanker.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 27, 2018: Shannon 17 Clontarf 22, Thomond Park back pitch; Saturday, March 9, 2019: Clontarf 45 Shannon 14, Castle Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

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

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Cork Constitution: WLW; Garryowen: LLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 24; Tries: Greg Higgins 2; Garryowen: Points: Tony Butler 42; Tries: Tony Butler 2

Preview: Daniel Hurley, Niall Kenneally, Brendan Quinlan and Eoin Quilter come into the starting XV for Cork Constitution’s second successive Munster derby. Jonny Holland’s charges are back on home soil after scoring 24 unanswered second half points at Shannon.

Their fourth round visitors, Garryowen, are much changed. With the Light Blues still striving for their opening win, Jack Delaney switches to out-half for missing Munster Academy youngster Tony Butler.

Jack Oliver, another of their Munster Academy contingent, is available to start at scrum half. Michael Veale and Des Fitzgerald are added to the pack, while Nick Greene comes in on the right wing after recently playing with the Ireland Sevens Development squad.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 6, 2021: Garryowen 21 Cork Constitution 23, Dooradoyle; Saturday, February 26, 2022: Cork Constitution 31 Garryowen 0, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win


Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Dublin University: WWW; Ballynahinch: WWL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Dublin University: Points: Aran Egan 45; Tries: Aran Egan, Colm Hogan 3 each; Ballynahinch: Points: Greg Hutley 33; Tries: Aaron Cairns, George Pringle 2 each

Preview: Two of the top four clubs meet at College Park where Dublin University lost four out of nine league games last season. However, the students looked to have found another gear since then, with Aran Egan (45 points leading the charge.

The division’s leading scorer is joined in the Trinity XV by Ronan Quinn and Mark Nicholson, the only two changes from their impressive 27-17 win at Lansdowne in the previous round.

Ethan Graham, John Dickson and Tom Martin come in as Ballynahinch’s three changes in personnel. Monaghan youngster Graham has impressed in the back-three, earning a call-up to the Ireland Under-19s’ training camp in Dublin next week.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 16, 2021: Dublin University 19 Ballynahinch 13, College Park; Saturday, March 26, 2022: Ballynahinch 19 Dublin University 30, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dublin University to win

TERENURE COLLEGE (1st) v UCD (8th), Lakelands Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WWW; UCD: LLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Callum Smith 21; Tries: Craig Adams, Harrison Brewer 3 each; UCD: Points: Sean O’Brien 15; Tries: Sean O’Brien 3

Preview: Promising Leinster ‘A’ full-back Henry McErlean makes his first start for Division 1A leaders Terenure College at home to UCD. Caolan Dooley and front rowers Campbell Classon and Sean McNulty also come into the ‘Nure side.

Former captain Jack Ringrose makes his seasonal bow for UCD, who were blown away by Terenure on their most recent league visit to Lakelands Park. They lost 60-8 back in January with Ringrose scoring their only try.

UCD’s current skipper Bobby Sheehan, younger brother of Leinster and Ireland’s Dan, reverts to the front row. There are six other personnel changes, including the reuniting of Ireland Under-20 Grand Slam winner Mark Morrissey and Jonny Fish in the second row.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, November 26, 2021: UCD 12 Terenure College 20, UCD Bowl; Saturday, January 29, 2022: Terenure College 60 UCD 8, Lakelands Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win

YOUNG MUNSTER (5th) v LANSDOWNE (7th), Tom Clifford Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Young Munster: LWW; Lansdowne: LLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Conor Hayes 23; Tries: Conor Hayes 2; Lansdowne: Points: Charlie Tector 8; Tries: Conall Doherty, Sean Galvin, Donough Lawlor, Jack Matthews, Tadgh McElroy, Dan Murphy, Clive Ross, Peter Sullivan, Luke Thompson, Mike Walsh 1 each

Preview: Leinster scrum half Cormac Foley is back in the Lansdowne starting line-up as they look to put a three-match losing run behind them. Foley starred in last season’s Energia Bateman Cup final against Saturday’s opponents.

Chasing their first win of the new league season, Lansdowne visit Young Munster with Foley, Connor O’Sullivan and forwards Luke Thompson and Darragh Murphy all handed starts by head coach Mark McHugh.

Munster Academy winger Conor Phillips features on the left wing for the Cookies, who have 20-year-old provincial prospect Fionn Gibbons in midfield again. Chris Moore, a try scorer at UCD last time out, continues at hooker.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 30, 2021: Lansdowne 20 Young Munster 24, Aviva Stadium main pitch; Saturday, March 5, 2022: Young Munster 39 Lansdowne 24, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win