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

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

Terenure College scrum half Alan Bennie throws a pass during their 32-12 win away to Lansdowne earlier in the season ©INPHO/Tom Maher

It is derby day in Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 1A as Garryowen and Shannon lock horns in Limerick, while two all-Dublin clashes are also down for decision.


Saturday, February 25

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

CORK CONSTITUTION (3rd) v UCD (8th), Temple Hill

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Cork Constitution: WLWWWWWLDWWWL; UCD: LLLLLWLWLLLWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 91; Tries: Billy Scannell, James Murphy 5 each; UCD: Points: Tim Corkery 43; Tries: Alex O’Grady 6

Preview: Veteran scrum half and former captain Gerry Hurley (38) is set to start for Cork Constitution as they look to bounce back from a 25-19 defeat to Lansdowne. He is reunited with current skipper Aidan Moynihan at half-back.

Mark Stafford is added to the back row, with Jack Kelleher switching to lock for the visit of eighth-placed UCD. With Mark McDermott now at the helm, the students have won their last two games, both at home against Shannon and Garryowen.

Jack Boyle returns to the UCD front row, fresh from making his Leinster senior debut last week. Flanker Oisin Spain is their only other change, with Boyle’s Leinster Academy colleagues, Chris Cosgrave, Ben Brownlee and Sean O’Brien, also starting.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 19, 2022: UCD 31 Cork Constitution 31, UCD Bowl; Saturday, November 5, 2022: UCD 31 Cork Constitution 36, UCD Bowl

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (6th) v CLONTARF (1st), College Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Dublin University: WWWWLWLLDLLLL; Clontarf: WWWWWLLWWWLWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Dublin University: Points: Aran Egan 136; Tries: Ronan Quinn 9; Clontarf: Points: Conor Kelly 81; Tries: Dylan Donnellan 10

Preview: Dublin University’s confidence levels took quite a hit with last week’s 43-17 loss at Shannon. But they are more than capable of turning things around, even against defending champions Clontarf who have moved to the top of the table.

In a match that doubles up as a Leinster Senior Cup semi-final, Trinity bring back in top try scorer Ronan Quinn and Leinster’s Lee Barron, who was involved against the Dragons. Thomas Clarkson is primed for an impact role off the bench.

‘Tarf are showing that knack of winning tight games of late, with their pack stepping up to the mark and captain Matt D’Arcy and Cian O’Donoghue bagging two tries each in the last two rounds. They seem to be hitting form at the right time.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 22, 2022: Dublin University 9 Clontarf 23, College Park; Saturday, November 5, 2022: Clontarf 38 Dublin University 33, Castle Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

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

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Garryowen: LLLLLLLLLLLWL; Shannon: LLLLWLWLWLLLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Garryowen: Points: Tony Butler 60; Tries: JJ O’Neill 4; Shannon: Points: Mike Cooke 85; Tries: Jordan Prenderville 5

Preview: Garryowen will pause before kick-off to remember their former captain and head coach Tom Tierney whose sudden passing was announced earlier today. They need to produce an inspired performance in this bottom of the table clash.

It does look a tough ask for the Light Blues, despite players of the calibre of Tony Butler, Neil Cronin and Kevin Seymour being involved. Shannon are poised to field an unchanged team, with Munster Academy back rower Daniel Okeke on the bench.

Buoyed by their bonus point victory over Trinity, Shannon head coach Stephen Keogh said: “It’s great to have these Limerick derbies back. The atmosphere in the town is great and hopefully we’ll see a big crowd out at Dooradoyle.”

Recent League Meetings – Friday, January 25, 2019: Shannon 7 Garryowen 28, Thomond Park main pitch; Friday, November 4, 2022: Shannon 30 Garryowen 19, Thomond Park back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Shannon to win

TERENURE COLLEGE (2nd) v LANSDOWNE (7th), Lakelands Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WWWWWWWWLWWLL; Lansdowne: LLLWLLWLLWWLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Caolan Dooley 72; Tries: Craig Adams 9; Lansdowne: Points: Peter Hastie 55; Tries: Michael Silvester 8

Preview: There are Energia All-Ireland League points and a place in the Leinster Senior Cup final on the line at Lakelands. Terenure will want to put their last two results behind them with a strong performance in front of the home support.

Campbell Classon and Adam Melia are the two changes up front for ‘Nure, while Caolan Dooley returns on the right wing. Former captain Stephen O’Neill and Conor McKeon, the ex-Connacht half-back, are part of a strong bench.

Lansdowne, who now have Declan Fassbender leading the coaching ticket, stick with a winning formula following their bonus point triumph over Con. Tom Monaghan, a try-scoring centre, and flanker Liam Forster impressed on their first league starts.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 23, 2022: Semi-Final – Terenure College 20 Lansdowne 18, Lakelands Park; Friday, November 4, 2022: Lansdowne 12 Terenure College 32, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win

YOUNG MUNSTER (4th) v BALLYNAHINCH (5th), Tom Clifford Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Young Munster: LWWLLWWWWLWWL; Ballynahinch: WWLLWLLWWWWLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 76; Tries: Dan Walsh 7; Ballynahinch: Points: Greg Hutley 110; Tries: George Pringle 8

Preview: Only two points separate these teams in the table as Ballynahinch, on the back of beating pacesetters Terenure, eye up the scalp of Young Munster in Greenfields. A sixth win in seven rounds could see them break into the top four.

The Cookies are formidable opponents at home, especially with Munster’s Patrick Campbell back at full-back and an unchanged pack battle-hardened from coming up against defending champions Clontarf.

‘Hinch make the trip south with both of Ulster’s Rea brothers, Marcus and Matthew, set to start in the back row. Jake Flannery is on provincial duty, but Jack Milligan is an able deputy at out-half. Nacho Cladera Crespo starts at loosehead.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 9, 2022: Ballynahinch 17 Young Munster 10, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, November 5, 2022: Ballynahinch 25 Young Munster 20, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win