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Energia All-Ireland League: Men’s Division 2B Previews

Energia All-Ireland League: Men’s Division 2B Previews

Ireland Under-19 prospect Grant Palmer throws an offload during Enniscorthy's recent draw with Malahide in Energia All-Ireland League Men's Division 2B ©John Crothers Sports Photography

Another top of the table clash for Greystones to sink their teeth into, as Halloween weekend in Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 2B also serves up a Connacht derby treat.


Saturday, October 29

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

ENNISCORTHY (9th) v DUNGANNON (3rd), Alcast Park

Last season’s exploits saw Enniscorthy crowned Club of the Year this week by the Rugby Writers of Ireland. This next block of fixtures will really test the promoted club’s mettle, coming up against three teams currently in the top four.

Enniscorthy captain Timmy Morrissey is focused on sharpening up their defence, an area that will certainly come under scrutiny given third-placed Dungannon have already pocketed two try-scoring bonus points.

‘Gannon’s new full-back Ben McCaughey, who made the move from Malone, has quickly made an impact. He scored 32 points during the first three rounds, turning in a player-of-the-match performance last time out against Wanderers.

GALWEGIANS (10th) v SLIGO (8th), Crowley Park

Just one win for these Connacht rivals across the opening three rounds. Hit by front row injuries, Brendan Guifoyle’s young Galwegians side showed resilience to battle back for a try-scoring bonus point against Belfast Harlequins.

Guilfoyle, who is missing Connacht’s Diarmuid Kilgallen (broken thumb), admitted: “We’re hugely optimistic going forward. There’s a lot of positivity in how we’re playing. Sligo obviously with (former ‘Wegians coach) Ja (Naughton) and they’re local, it’s such a big one.”

Sligo beat ‘Wegians 16-7 at home in the Connacht Senior League last month. They suffered late heartbreak at the hands of Rainey Old Boys a fortnight ago, and have relied on goal-kicker Euan Brown for 23 of their 40 points so far.


Only scoring difference separates Greystones and Belfast Harlequins at the division’s summit. ‘Stones’ 45-17 success at Galway Corinthians was the result of the last round and it is no surprise to see player coach Danny Kenny keep the changes to a minimum.

Tommy New swaps in for Nick Quirk on the left wing, with Chris Simmons and Rob Connolly bolstering the Wicklow club’s bench. Front rowers Joel Dundas and Cameron Doak are two of six changes made to the Belfast Harlequins team that beat ‘Wegians 38-22.

Harlequins number 8 Ross Bingham commented: “We’re looking forward to travelling to Greystones, both of us are three from three after the first block. We beat them down there last year so we have nothing to fear.”

RAINEY OLD BOYS (5th) v MALAHIDE (6th), Hatrick Park

Rainey Old Boys are turning their home ground into Hat-Trick-or-Treat Park for the Halloween festivities. They have picked up points in every game so far, with three tries from Connor Smyth and two each from Michael McCusker, Moli Faiva and captain Tommy O’Hagan.

Visitors Malahide, whose captain Dan Hayes made his 50th AIL appearance in the last round, have the best defensive record in the division. They are conceding an average of 14.6 points per game.

This is Malahide’s first ever league meeting with Rainey, who spent the past two seasons in Division 2A. You would have to back the Magherafelt outfit, who are captained for the occasion by prop Fintan Quinn in his final game before leaving for Australia next week.

WANDERERS (7th) v GALWAY CORINTHIANS (4th), Merrion Road

How Galway Corinthians rebound from their heavy loss at the hands of Greystones will be telling. They were left to rue a late collapse when ‘Stones piled on the points, on a day that the McNulty and Forde brothers all started together.

“Wanderers are a good team and they will want to put down a marker at home after their start to the season (with one win from three),” acknowledged Corinthians head coach Michael Harding. “We’re going to have to really front up against them.”

Wanderers will need no reminding that Corinthians walloped them 41-3 at Merrion Road twelve months ago. Connacht’s Cathal Forde and Matthew Devine starred for the visitors, the former’s 23-point haul made up of a try and seven successful kicks.