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Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 1A: Round 11 Previews

Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 1A: Round 11 Previews

Clontarf prop Ben Griffin takes on the Lansdowne defence during the sides' Division 1A meeting at Castle Avenue last season ©INPHO/Tom Maher

Top four rivals Clontarf and Lansdowne meet in our latest #EnergiaAIL Live feature game, which will be broadcast on Irish Rugby TV. Reigning Division 1A champions Terenure College, meanwhile, are on the road to City of Armagh.


Saturday, January 20

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

CITY OF ARMAGH (9th) v TERENURE COLLEGE (4th), Palace Grounds

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: City of Armagh: LLWWLLLLLL; Terenure College: WLLWWLWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – City of Armagh: Points: Brayden Laing 59; Tries: Jonny Morton, Jack Treanor, Dylan Nelson, Shea O’Brien 3 each; Terenure College: Points: Callum Smith 45; Tries: Luke Clohessy, Adam La Grue 4 each

Preview: With no points to show for their efforts against Ballynahinch, City of Armagh really need to get something on the board against first-time visitors Terenure College. Captain Josh McKinley had a successful return from injury last week and starts again in the second row.

Ulster’s Jude Postlethwaite, Shea O’Brien, and Cameron Doak also feature, with Chris Colvin and Jack Treanor both bumped up from the replacements bench. Leinster hooker John McKee will start for Terenure, who beat Armagh 29-17 at home last month.

Sean Skehan’s men are missing Jordan Coghlan and the Chicago-bound Conall Boomer in the back row, but recent debutant Jim White has stepped up to the plate. In addition, it is a big day for ‘Nure captain Harrison Brewer who makes his 100th All-Ireland League appearance.

Recent League Meeting – Saturday, December 9, 2023: Terenure College 29 City of Armagh 17, Lakelands Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win

CLONTARF (1st) v LANSDOWNE (3rd), Castle Avenue (live on Irish Rugby TV)

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Clontarf: WWWWWDWWWW; Lansdowne: WWWLLWWLLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Clontarf: Points: Dylan Donnellan 65; Tries: Dylan Donnellan 13; Lansdowne: Points: Stephen Madigan 64; Tries: James Kenny 6

Preview: There is never much between these teams when they meet. Clontarf had just four points to spare when they won on their last two visits to the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch. They were eight-point winners at home last season, avenging a surprise 22-5 defeat to Lansdowne from November 2021.

On current form, and with captain Dylan Donnellan now out on his own at the top of the try-scoring charts with 13, ‘Tarf should stretch their unbeaten run to 11 matches. But Lansdowne did start the New Year on solid footing, dispatching UCD in a five-try showing.

Busy winger Sean Galvin has sprung into life for the headquarters club with four tries in his last two games. The visitors will need big performances from skipper Jack Cooke and company in the forwards, especially in terms of their maul defence as they look to keep Donnellan quiet.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, March 31, 2023: Lansdowne 28 Clontarf 31, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Saturday, December 9, 2023: Lansdowne 27 Clontarf 31, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (10th) v SHANNON (8th), College Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Dublin University: LLLLLLLLLL; Shannon: WWLLLLLWLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Dublin University: Points: Harry Colbert 38; Tries: Zach Baird 4; Shannon: Points: Mike Cooke 44; Tries: Daniel Okeke, Gus Harrington, Jordan Prenderville, Will Reilly, Lee Nicholas 2 each

Preview: A massive match for bottom side Dublin University in the context of their season. With their next three fixtures all against teams in the top half of the table, a very elusive first win of the campaign is really a must. They are boosted by Leinster’s Lee Barron lining out at hooker.

Jack Kearney and Aaron Coleman also come into the Trinity pack, as the students look to reverse last month’s 14-13 defeat to Shannon. They led 10-0 at half-time but Shannon fought back, aided by a 63rd-minute penalty try, to win by the minimum margin.

Stephen Kiely and Luke Murphy, who both made the Ireland Under-20 squad this week, will start for Shannon at full-back and openside flanker respectively. They picked up a losing bonus point against ‘Tarf, and director of rugby Stephen Keogh has backed the same starting XV to get over the line.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 18, 2023: Shannon 43 Dublin University 17, Thomond Park back pitch; Saturday, December 9, 2023: Shannon 14 Dublin University 13, Thomond Park back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Shannon to win


Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCD: LWLLWWLLWL; Cork Constitution: WLWWWWLWLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: Michael Moloney 125; Tries: Ross Deegan 5; Cork Constitution: Points: James Taylor 99; Tries: Daniel Hurley 6

Preview: Division 1A’s two leading points scorers will be front and centre in this Belfield encounter. UCD’s goal-kicking scrum half Michael Moloney is currently top of the pile with a massive 125 points. Cork Constitution out-half James Taylor (99 points) is his closest challenger.

Taylor, who missed their 2024 opener against Young Munster, returns in the only change to the side that overcame the Cookies 23-13. Apart from the inclusion of flanker Ronan O’Sullivan, it is the same Constitution pack that started last month’s 38-25 bonus point victory over UCD.

The students are hoping for a strong showing from their tight five, which includes Leinster Academy prop Jack Boyle and Ireland U-20 squad members, Andrew Sparrow and Alan Spicer, and Leinster’s Rory McGuire on the bench. James Tarrant and Luke Kritzinger are the changes in the backs.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 25, 2023: Cork Constitution 29 UCD 34, Temple Hill; Saturday, December 9, 2023: Cork Constitution 38 UCD 25, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

YOUNG MUNSTER (6th) v BALLYNAHINCH (5th), Tom Clifford Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Young Munster: LLWLLWWWWL; Ballynahinch: LWLWWDWLWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Young Munster: Points: Shane O’Leary 56; Tries: Stephen McLoughlin 6; Ballynahinch: Points: Conor Rankin 85; Tries: Claytan Milligan 8

Preview: These teams know each other very well having already face off in both the Energia Bateman Cup and the league this season. Young Munster won by three points on both occasions, firstly advancing to the cup final thanks to a late maul try from Munster hooker Chris Moore.

Their recent return trip to Ballymacarn Park ended in a 16-13 triumph, during which Shane O’Leary kicked the decisive penalty in the dying seconds. Nine points separate them in the current table, and it is Ballynahinch who are the better off as they sit just outside the top four.

Chasing their third straight win, ‘Hinch bring in Paul Kerr, Aaron Cairns, Declan Horrox, Callum Irvine, and Ulster’s Reuben Crothers. The Cookies’ top try scorer, Stephen McLoughlin (6), captains them from the back row, with Munster’s Patrick Campbell set for some involvement off the bench.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 25, 2023: Young Munster 21 Ballynahinch 0, Tom Clifford Park; Saturday, December 9, 2023: Ballynahinch 13 Young Munster 16, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Young Munster to win