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

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

Terenure College flanker Conall Boomer makes a break during their semi-final victory over Lansdowne at Lakelands Park in April ©INPHO/Tom Maher

Another busy weekend of top flight action in the Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Divisions begins with two local derbies at Thomond Park and the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch.


Saturday, November 5

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

SHANNON (10th) v GARRYOWEN (9th), Thomond Park main pitch, tonight, 7.30pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Shannon: LLLL; Garryowen: LLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Shannon: Points: Mike Cooke 21; Tries: Ethan Coughlan 2; Garryowen: Points: Tony Butler 42; Tries: Tony Butler, JJ O’Neill 2 each

Preview: Shannon and Garryowen meet for the first time in Division 1A since January 2019. With the Limerick rivals winless and sitting in the bottom two, they are both fiercely motivated to end their losing starts to the league season.

Garryowen have brought in Colm Quilligan, Darren Ryan, Scott Leahy and Mikey Sheahan, with captain Sean Rennison switching to number 8. Munster Academy scrum half Ethan Coughlan slots back in for the home side.

“It’s something that we missed, obviously coming up from a new division,” Shannon forwards coach Stephen Keogh said of the local showdown. “It’s always been a big rivalry and for a city like Limerick, it’s great to have these derbies back.”

Recent League Meetings – Friday, December 7, 2018: Garryowen 30 Shannon 29, Dooradoyle; Friday, January 25, 2019: Shannon 7 Garryowen 28, Thomond Park main pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Shannon to win

LANSDOWNE (7th) v TERENURE COLLEGE (1st), Aviva Stadium back pitch, tonight, 8pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Lansdowne: LLLW; Terenure College: WWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Peter Hastie 17; Tries: Conall Doherty, Sean Galvin, Donough Lawlor, Jack Matthews, Tadgh McElroy, Dan Murphy, Clive Ross, Peter Sullivan, Luke Thompson, Mike Walsh, Michael Silvester, Temi Lasisi 1 each; Terenure College: Points: Callum Smith 30; Tries: Craig Adams, Harrison Brewer, Jordan Coghlan 4 each

Preview: This is a repeat of last season’s semi-final which Terenure College won 20-18. Current form suggests they will win the rematch too, although Lansdowne have newly-capped Leinster duo Tadgh McElroy and Charlie Tector on board.

The 20-year-old Tector, who is on the bench, could pair up with another provincial player, Cormac Foley, as half-back for the headquarters club, who opened their win account at Young Munster last Saturday.

Terenure, who won 42-30 on the all-weather pitch last April, will take some stopping if they continue make hay with their attack. Craig Adams, captain Harrison Brewer and Jordan Coghlan are the division’s leading try scorers with four tries in as many games.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 2, 2022: Lansdowne 30 Terenure College 42, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Saturday, April 23, 2022: Semi-Final – Terenure College 20 Lansdowne 18, Lakelands Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win

BALLYNAHINCH (6th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (5th), Ballymacarn Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Ballynahinch: WWLL; Young Munster: LWWL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Greg Hutley 44; Tries: George Pringle, Aaron Cairns, Jamie Macartney 2 each; Young Munster: Points: Conor Hayes 31; Tries: Conor Hayes 2

Preview: Young Munster welcome back first-choice out-half Evan Cusack from injury, and also have Munster’s Fionn Gibbons, Conor Phillips and Chris Moore continuing as starters, for their trip north to Ballynahinch.

This a mid-table duel with Munsters falling to fifth place last time out. Ballynahinch have lost to two of the top three sides in recent weeks, but they got off to strong starts in both games and just need to put together a more rounded performance.

‘Hinch head coach Adam Craig commented: “Two wins out of the first three, it’s not been a bad start for us. Disappointed with the second half against Trinity. We’re excited to hopefully bounce back this week, looking forward to the challenge that Young Munster will provide.”

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 2, 2021: Young Munster 29 Ballynahinch 7, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, April 9, 2022: Ballynahinch 17 Young Munster 10, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballynahinch to win

CLONTARF (3rd) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (2nd), Castle Avenue

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Clontarf: WWWW; Dublin University: WWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Conor Kelly 29; Tries: Dylan Donnellan, Cormac Daly 3 each; Dublin University: Points: Aran Egan 60; Tries: Aran Egan, Colm Hogan, Ronan Quinn, Max Dunne, James Dillon 3 each

Preview: One of the division’s unbeaten records is set to fall at Castle Avenue tomorrow where defending champions Clontarf host Dublin University, who have certainly impressed during the opening rounds.

‘Tarf’s experienced scrum half Angus Lloyd returns to start against his former club. Leinster Academy hooker Lee Barron bolsters the Trinity front row, while Anthony Ryan comes into a rejigged back row that has Diarmuid McCormack at number 8.

“I think every week is a test, but I think it is the acid test,” admitted Trinity’s long-serving director of rugby Tony Smeeth. “All we have to do is go over there and play well and if we do that we’ve got a chance. We have done it before, but they are a different animal.”

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 4, 2021: Clontarf 27 Dublin University 7, Castle Avenue; Saturday, January 22, 2022: Dublin University 9 Clontarf 23, College Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win


Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCD: LLLL; Cork Constitution: WLWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: Sean O’Brien 15; Tries: Sean O’Brien 3; Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 30; Tries: Greg Higgins, Alessandro Heaney, Billy Scannell 2 each

Preview: Billy Scannell, who has scored two tries in recent weeks, and Luke Masters are promoted from the bench to start in Cork Constitution’s front row against third-from-bottom UCD.

Winless UCD are boosted by the inclusion of Leinster Academy centre Ben Brownlee, fresh from his debut for the province in Llanelli last week. The strong-running 20-year-old combines with James Tarrant in midfield.

Fellow Academy player Sean O’Brien is back at number 8 for College, with captain Bobby Sheehan’s move to the back row bringing in IRFU National Talent Squad inductee Gus McCarthy at hooker.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 20, 2021: Cork Constitution 38 UCD 10, Temple Hill; Saturday, February 19, 2022: UCD 31 Cork Constitution 31, UCD Bowl

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win