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

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

Niall Kenneally's Cork Constitution side and their provincial rivals, Young Munster, are both on their travels this weekend in the Division 1A semi-finals ©INPHO/Ben Brady

Defending champions Clontarf may have finished five points clear at the top of the table, but the title remains there for the taking as an intriguing Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A season reaches the play-off stage.

The two semi-finals will be available on a pay-per-view platform on the links below. Pay-per-view cost for each game is €7 with revenue going directly to participating clubs. Cost of production is underwritten by title sponsors Energia and the IRFU.

That means €5 from each stream will go to the home team with €1.66 going to the away team (a 75:25 split). The remaining 34c will go to a charity as chosen by Energia.

The live streams and pay-per-view format are part of an ongoing pilot to develop the Energia All-Ireland League while identifying ways to make live streaming a more sustainable option for clubs.


Saturday, April 22

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

CLONTARF (1st) v YOUNG MUNSTER (4th), Castle Avenue

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Clontarf: WWWWWLLWWWLWWWWWWW; Young Munster: LWWLLWWWWLWWLWWWLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Dylan Donnellan 105; Tries: Dylan Donnellan 21; Young Munster: Points: Evan Cusack 89; Tries: Dan Walsh 7

Watch Here Live (Pay-Per-View)

Preview: Clontarf welcome back talismanic captain Matt D’Arcy for this home semi-final. They are hoping to beat last year’s semi-final attendance of 2,500 and take a step closer to becoming the first Division 1A back-to-back champions since Shannon in the mid-2000s.

Castle Avenue has not been impenetrable this season, though, with Terenure College and Cork Constitution both posting wins there. Young Munster also ran Clontarf close in February, a late surge cutting a 15-point deficit back to 27-24.

Gearoid Prendergast’s Cookies are a match for anyone on their day – they beat ‘Tarf 24-19 at home in November – and will be bolstered by nine changes from last weekend. Skipper Alan Kennedy and key backs Conor Hayes and Fionn Gibbons are amongst them.

Nonetheless, with Steve Crosbie, another of their former professionals, a canny addition to the bench, ‘Tarf should have the firepower to reach their third straight final – especially with 21-try hooker Dylan Donnellan proving lethal from lineout mauls.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 12, 2022: Young Munster 24 Clontarf 19, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, February 18, 2023: Clontarf 27 Young Munster 24, Castle Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win


Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WWWWWWWWLWWLLWWWLW; Cork Constitution: WLWWWWWLDWWWLLWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Caolan Dooley 129; Tries: Craig Adams 13; Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 123; Tries: Billy Scannell 8

Watch Here Live (Pay-Per-View)

Preview: Terenure College’s eight-match winning run during the first half of the season showed their obvious drive to go one better than last year. They held off Cork Constitution’s challenge in recent weeks to secure a home semi-final.

Con are much improved of late, compared to their 47-12 early season humbling by ‘Nure. In Jonny Holland’s first season as head coach, they bounced into the semis with four successive wins, including a 27-23 defeat of ‘Nure which saw Harry O’Riordan touch down in the final play.

Clontarf have been the only away team to win at Lakelands this season, and with a bumper crowd behind them, Terenure are hoping to keep their League and Cup double dreams alive. Winger Craig Adams (13 tries) is part of a dangerous back-three.

These sides boast two of the most potent mauls in the top flight, with Con hooker Billy Scannell tallying up eight tries to date. Whoever gets on top at set-piece time and the breakdown will go a long way to deciding the outcome.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 8, 2022: Terenure College 47 Cork Constitution 12, Lakelands Park; Saturday, April 1, 2023: Cork Constitution 27 Terenure College 23, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win