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

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

Matt D'Arcy and Harrison Brewer, the captains of last season's finalists Clontarf and Terenure College, are pictured with the Energia All-Ireland League trophy ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

There is no doubting the headline act as Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 1A resumes. Defending champions Clontarf host current leaders Terenure College in a repeat of last season’s final.


Saturday, November 26

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

SHANNON (9th) v UCD (7th), Thomond Park back pitch, 2pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Shannon: LLLLWL; UCD: LLLLLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Shannon: Points: Mike Cooke 37; Tries: Ethan Coughlan, Jordan Prenderville, Aran Hehir 2 each; UCD: Points: Tim Corkery 27; Tries: Sean O’Brien 3

Preview: It has been a positive few weeks for Shannon who, following up on their first top flight win since 2019, gained two bonus points away to high-flying Dublin University. They have an opportunity now to climb above UCD in the table.

Munster Academy pair Ethan Coughlan and Kieran Ryan start again for Shannon, with prop Cathal Hynes and lock David Maher their only personnel changes. Jake Flannery and Craig Casey formed the half-back pairing when the Limerick men beat UCD 9-8 back in 2018.

That was the students’ most recent league trip to Thomond Park. Ross Deegan, Chris Hennessy and Under-20 Grand Slam winner Mark Morrissey are the only changes to the UCD side that won 47-22 at Garryowen last time out.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 15, 2018: Shannon 9 UCD 8, Thomond Park back pitch; Saturday, January 19, 2019: UCD 20 Shannon 24, UCD Bowl

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Shannon to win

BALLYNAHINCH (6th) v CORK CONSTITUTION (4th), Ballymacarn Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Ballynahinch: WWLLWL; Cork Constitution: WLWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Greg Hutley 60; Tries: Aaron Cairns, George Pringle 4 each; Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 57; Tries: Billy Scannell, Alessandro Heaney 3 each

Preview: Fourth-placed Cork Constitution have opened up a nine-point lead on their nearest challengers. One of them includes Ballynahinch, who are out for revenge after losing 19-17 at home to Con in last season’s corresponding fixture.

Con captain Aidan Moynihan scored a try and kicked two conversions that day. Their line-up for Saturday’s rematch shows three changes from their most recent outing – experienced lock Cathal O’Flaherty and backs Bruce Matthews and Luke Kerr.

‘Hinch will want to keep creating scoring opportunities for out-half Greg Hutley, who is averaging 10 points per game, while former Ulster player Aaron Cairns and George Pringle are regularly crossing the whitewash with four tries each so far.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 27, 2021: Ballynahinch 17 Cork Constitution 19, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, January 29, 2022: Cork Constitution 26 Ballynahinch 15, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

CLONTARF (3rd) v TERENURE COLLEGE (1st), Castle Avenue

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Clontarf: WWWWWL; Terenure College: WWWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Conor Kelly 53; Tries: Dylan Donnellan 5; Terenure College: Points: Caolan Dooley 39; Tries: Craig Adams, Harrison Brewer, Jordan Coghlan, Adam La Grue, Sean McNulty 4 each

Preview: With a perfect six bonus point wins out of six, Terenure College will put their unbeaten start to the current campaign on the line against title holders Clontarf, who have slipped to third in the table after their 20-match winning run came to an end.

Andy Wood’s men are looking to bounce back from that disappointing defeat to Young Munster. Their talismanic forward Cormac Daly returns to club action fresh from last week’s run-out for Leinster against Chile at Energia Park.

Following his two tries off the bench against Ballynahinch, Sean McNulty will start at hooker for Terenure. Marcus Hanan and Michael Melia also return to the tight five, while a fully-fit Peter Sylvester slots back into midfield alongside Colm de Buitléar.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, March 5, 2022: Clontarf 12 Terenure College 11, Castle Avenue; Sunday, May 1: Final – Clontarf 29 Terenure College 23, Aviva Stadium

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win


Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Dublin University: WWWWLW; Young Munster: LWWLLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Dublin University: Points: Aran Egan 90; Tries: Aran Egan, Colm Hogan, Ronan Quinn 4 each; Young Munster: Points: Conor Hayes 33; Tries: Conor Hayes, Paulo Leleisiuao, Dan Walsh 2 each

Preview: Munster’s Patrick Campbell will feature at full-back for Young Munster as they try to overcome another top three team. Shay McCarthy switches to midfield with Donnchadh O’Callaghan directing operations from scrum half.

Sean Rigney joins Munster’s Eoin O’Connor in the engine room, and there are starts in the front row for George Jacobs and Queenslander Paulo Leleisiuao. It should be a fascinating scrum battle with Trinity tighthead Thomas Connolly back from gaining experience with Leinster.

Tony Smeeth’s youngsters also welcome back Ronan Quinn and Ruadhan Byron to the starting XV. Their out-half Aran Egan, who scored 13 points when the Cookies lost 38-3 at College Park a year ago, is already closing in on 100 points for this season.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 27, 2021: Dublin University 38 Young Munster 3, College Park; Saturday, January 29, 2022: Young Munster 8 Dublin University 27, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dublin University to win

LANSDOWNE (8th) v GARRYOWEN (10th), Aviva Stadium back pitch

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Lansdowne: LLLWLL; Garryowen: LLLLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Lansdowne: Points: Peter Hastie 24; Tries: Michael Silvester 3; Garryowen: Points: Tony Butler 42; Tries: JJ O’Neill 4

Preview: Both clubs could do with a change in fortunes, Garryowen’s hunt for a maiden win going on after UCD pulled clear in the second half of their most recent outing. On the positive side, JJ O’Neill has taken his early season tally to four tries.

A full 17 points outside of the top four, Lansdowne have reunited Kyle Dixon and Conall Doherty as their starting centres. Cillian Redmond shifts to the left wing, and scrum half Mike Walsh and lock James Doyle are the other changes.

Leinster Academy and Ireland Under-20 out-half Sam Prendergast is poised for some involvement off the Lansdowne bench. Garryowen also have some promising young talent coming through, including number 8 Brian Gleeson and their Munster Academy scrum half Jack Oliver.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 27, 2021: Garryowen 5 Lansdowne 29, Dooradoyle; Saturday, January 29, 2022: Lansdowne 46 Garryowen 5, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win