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

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

UCD's Bobby Sheehan controls the ball at the back of a maul during their most recent trip to Dooradoyle to face Garryowen ©INPHO/Brian Reilly-Troy

A first win of the Energia All-Ireland League season is the prize on offer when Garryowen and UCD meet in a basement battle on Saturday afternoon.


Saturday, November 12

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

CORK CONSTITUTION (4th) v LANSDOWNE (7th), Temple Hill

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Cork Constitution: WLWWW; Lansdowne: LLLWL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 41; Tries: Billy Scannell 3; Lansdowne: Points: Peter Hastie 19; Tries: Clive Ross, Michael Silvester 2 each

Preview: Cork Constitution have strung together three wins on the bounce. Head coach Jonny Holland has been pleased with their progress in recent weeks, particularly in terms of their attack clicking more and their scrum improving.

Second row Andrew Treacy and flanker James Murphy come into the Cork Con team to face Lansdowne, who give starts to Arthur Greene in the engine room and both Sean Galvin and Jack Matthews behind the scrum.

It was one home win apiece last season with five points the biggest margin. Both sides reached the semi-finals last spring, but Lansdowne have started the new campaign struggling for results. Winning at Temple Hill would give them a massive boost.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 2, 2021: Lansdowne 16 Cork Constitution 11, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Saturday, April 9, 2022: Cork Constitution 21 Lansdowne 17, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (3rd) v SHANNON (8th), College Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Dublin University: WWWWL; Shannon: LLLLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Dublin University: Points: Aran Egan 76; Tries: Aran Egan, Colm Hogan, Ronan Quinn 4 each; Shannon: Points: Mike Cooke 29; Tries: Ethan Coughlan, Jordan Prenderville 2 each

Preview: Pat O’Connor is looking for his young Shannon side to ‘kick on’ after their derby win over Garryowen. “The boys are digging deep, delighted that we’ve been able to get a bit of confidence maybe off the back of last week’s victory,” he said.

Darragh McSweeney and Odhran Ring come into the Shannon pack, with the former’s Munster Academy colleague, Ethan Coughlan, continuing at scrum half where he will come up against Dublin University captain Louis O’Reilly.

Liam McMahon, Bart Vermeulen and Mark Nicholson are the students’ three changes following their agonising late loss at Clontarf. The inclusion of Belgian-born prop Vermeulen means a switch to tighthead for the highly-rated Paddy McCarthy.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 24, 2018: Dublin University 31 Shannon 19, College Park; Saturday, February 23, 2019: Shannon 24 Dublin University 27, Thomond Park back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dublin University to win

GARRYOWEN (10th) v UCD (9th), Dooradoyle

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Garryowen: LLLLL; UCD: LLLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Tony Butler 42; Tries: Tony Butler, JJ O’Neill 2 each; UCD: Points: Sean O’Brien, Tim Corkery 15 each; Tries: Sean O’Brien 3

Preview: An out-of-sorts Garryowen entertain UCD, with Henry Buttimer, Nick Greene and Brian Gleeson back in their starting XV. Their two closing tries against local rivals Shannon give the Light Blues something to build on.

Fresh from making his Ireland Sevens debut in Hong Kong, Dylan O’Grady will feature on the left wing for the students in Limerick. Harry Donnelly switches to outside centre to cover the absence of Leinster’s Ben Brownlee.

As they go in search of their maiden victory, UCD head coach Kevin Croke has promoted Emmet Burns, Evin Coyle and Joe Cronin from the bench into the tight five. Former Cistercian College Roscrea captain Bill Burns is the final change at openside flanker.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 16, 2021: Garryowen 26 UCD 13, Dooradoyle; Saturday, March 26, 2022: UCD 33 Garryowen 27, UCD Bowl

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCD to win

TERENURE COLLEGE (1st) v BALLYNAHINCH (5th), Lakelands Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WWWWW; Ballynahinch: WWLLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Caolan Dooley 35; Tries: Craig Adams, Harrison Brewer, Jordan Coghlan, Adam La Grue 4 each; Ballynahinch: Points: Greg Hutley 54; Tries: Aaron Cairns, Jamie Macartney, George Pringle 3 each

Preview: Division 1A leaders Terenure College freshen up their pack with Levi Vaughan, Matthew Caffrey and Adam Melia starting against Ballynahinch. Can they make it six successive bonus point wins at the end of this second block?

This looks like it could be another high-scoring affair to treat the Lakelands Park crowd, with Terenure having four players already on four tries each, and visitors Ballynahinch having three on three, including the Ulster-capped Aaron Cairns.

Three second half tries saw Ballynahinch bounce back to winning ways against Young Munster. Ulster ‘A’ player Jamie Macartney has impressed with three tries so far, and is set for a ding dong battle at number 8 with ‘Nure’s former ‘Hinch back rower Conall Boomer.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 4, 2021: Terenure College 39 Ballynahinch 0, Lakelands Park; Saturday, January 22, 2022: Ballynahinch 23 Terenure College 27, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win

YOUNG MUNSTER (6th) v CLONTARF (2nd), Tom Clifford Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Young Munster: LWWLL; Clontarf: WWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Conor Hayes 31; Tries: Ethan Coughlan 2; Clontarf: Points: Conor Kelly 42; Tries: Conor Hayes, Paulo Leleisiuao 2 each

Preview: Young Munster welcome back Conor Hayes, their top scorer so far this season with 31 points, to form a potent looking back-three with Shay McCarthy and Munster’s Conor Phillips, a try scorer at Ballynahinch last week.

Following his first All-Ireland League try in Clontarf colours, talented youngster Hugh Cooney partners ‘Tarf captain Matt D’Arcy in the centre as the reigning champions put their current winning record on the line in Greenfields.

The north Dubliners’ big pack is unchanged, with the set piece battle set to be so crucial. Munster lock Eoin O’Connor will start for the Cookies, while the likes of Paulo Leleisiuao, Ronan O’Sullivan and Sean Rigney will give them impact off the bench.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 20, 2021: Young Munster 17 Clontarf 33, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, February 19, 2022: Clontarf 22 Young Munster 14, Castle Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win