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

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

Terenure College's Luke Clohessy takes on Young Munster flanker Ronán O'Sullivan during last month's Division 1A clash at Tom Clifford Park ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Terenure College’s revenge mission against Young Munster takes on the mantle of match of the day as the second half of the Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A campaign gets underway.


Saturday, January 14

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

GARRYOWEN (10th) v CLONTARF (2nd), Dooradoyle, 2pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Garryowen: LLLLLLLLL; Clontarf: WWWWWLLWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Tony Butler 42; Tries: JJ O’Neill 4; Clontarf: Points: Conor Kelly 66; Tries: Dylan Donnellan 9

Preview: Bottom side Garryowen will have been glad to see the back of 2022 after nine straight defeats across the first half of the Energia All-Ireland League season. They have 13 points to make up on second-from-bottom Lansdowne.

A four-try second half salvo saw Clontarf run out 36-10 winners when these teams met before Christmas. Hooker Dylan Donnellan took his haul for the campaign to nine tries that day with another brace.

Leinster’s Alex Soroka will join his older brother Ivan in the ‘Tarf pack, with wingers Aitzol Arenzana King and Cian O’Donoghue, and locks Fionn Gilbert and Ed Kelly, their other changes for the resumption of their title defence.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 15, 2022: Clontarf 36 Garryowen 7, Castle Avenue; Saturday, December 10, 2022: Clontarf 36 Garryowen 10, Castle Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win


Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Cork Constitution: WLWWWWWLD; Dublin University: WWWWLWLLD
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 77; Tries: Alessandro Heaney, James Murphy 4 each; Dublin University: Points: Aran Egan 115; Tries: Ronan Quinn 7

Preview: Meeting again so soon after last Saturday’s 10-try thriller, the Temple Hill crowd will be hoping for more fireworks from these top four rivals. Dublin University out-half Aran Egan, the division’s top scorer, now has 115 points to his name.

Munster prop Liam O’Connor is one of Cork Con’s five changes, with returning flanker Jack Kelleher also set to feature. His back row colleague James Murphy is now their joint-top try scorer with four.

Trinity are poised to bring Bart Vermeulen and Zach Baird, Ryan’s younger brother, into their front row. Winless in the last three rounds, a successful trip to Leeside would be just the ticket ahead of the students’ rematch with Terenure College.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, March 5, 2022: Dublin University 32 Cork Constitution 27, College Park; Saturday, January 7, 2023: Dublin University 35 Cork Constitution 35, College Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

SHANNON (8th) v LANSDOWNE (9th), Coonagh

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Shannon: LLLLWLWLW; Lansdowne: LLLWLLWLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Shannon: Points: Mike Cooke 68; Tries: Ethan Coughlan, Jordan Prenderville, Aran Hehir, Josh Costello, Dan Hurley 2 each; Lansdowne: Points: Peter Hastie 53; Tries: Clive Ross, Michael Silvester, Sean Galvin, Tadgh McElroy 4 each

Preview: Sliding down to ninth in the table, Lansdowne closed out 2022 with back-to-back defeats, including a frustrating 41-31 home loss to Shannon. They battled back from 24-7 down to lead 31-24, only to lose by 10 points in the end.

For this return fixture, flanker Jack O’Sullivan is back to captain Lansdowne, giving his side a huge lift. Leinster Academy duo Charlie Tector and Temi Lasisi will also start, the latter packing down opposite Munster Academy prop Kieran Ryan.

There are five changes to the Shannon team from their win in the last round. Alex Long and Kelvin Brown are added to the pack, Jamie McGarry gets the nod at full-back, and Alan Flannery and Jack O’Donnell form the centre pairing.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 16, 2019: Lansdowne 43 Shannon 15, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Saturday, December 17, 2022: Lansdowne 31 Shannon 41, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Shannon to win

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

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WWWWWWWWL; Young Munster: LWWLLWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Caolan Dooley 64; Tries: Craig Adams 7; Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 56; Tries: Dan Walsh 6

Preview: The Munster trio of Dan Goggin, Patrick Campbell and Conor Phillips will boost Young Munster’s bid to repeat their win over Division 1A pacesetters Terenure College from before Christmas. It was Terenure’s first defeat of the campaign.

Munsters dug deep to win 24-18 in a foggy Greenfields, but to back up that result at Lakelands Park – especially with this game doubling up as an Energia Bateman Cup semi-final – would mean even more to the fifth-placed Cookies.

Goggin, Campbell and Phillips all start in the back-line, along with ever-threatening winger Conor Hayes, and Munster forwards Chris Moore and Eoin O’Connor are on the bench. Terenure, who have winger Craig Adams on seven tries, will be all out for revenge.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, March 26, 2022: Terenure College 18 Young Munster 12, Lakelands Park; Saturday, December 10, 2022: Young Munster 24 Terenure College 18, Tom Clifford Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win

UCD (7th) v BALLYNAHINCH (6th), UCD Bowl

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCD: LLLLLWLWL; Ballynahinch: WWLLWLLWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: Tim Corkery 41; Tries: Alex O’Grady, Ross Deegan 4 each; Ballynahinch: Points: Greg Hutley 81; Tries: George Pringle 7

Preview: It was a feisty encounter last week with three sin-binnings each and eight tries scored, leaving the coaches and players with plenty to review. Ballynahinch are chasing their third win on the trot, with the top half of the table within reach.

However, UCD will be quietly confident of bouncing back and closing an eight-point lead that ‘Hinch have developed over them. The students are hoping to have Chris Cosgrave, Ben Brownlee, James Culhane and current Ireland Under-20 international Diarmuid Mangan in their starting XV.

Ballynahinch, who have Ulster forwards Cormac Izuchukwu and Marcus Rea available, will be looking to lay down a marker again up front. The McCall brothers, Kyle and Zack, and Bradley Luney have been influential in recent rounds.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 26, 2022: Ballynahinch 19 UCD 27, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, January 7, 2023: Ballynahinch 31 UCD 25, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCD to win