Jump to main content



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

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

Lansdowne centre Andy Marks takes the ball into contact during their Division 1A clash with Terenure College at Lakelands Park in November ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

The equivalent matches were decided by a single point during the regular season, so the Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 1A semi-finals could both go right down to the wire on Saturday afternoon.

Tickets for the final at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, April 28 – the first ever #EnergiaAIL Men’s and Women’s finals double header – are on sale now from Ticketmaster – buy here.


Saturday, April 20 –

CORK CONSTITUTION (2nd) v CLONTARF (3rd), Temple Hill, 2.30pm (live on Irish Rugby TV)

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Cork Constitution: WLWWWWLWLWWWWWWLWW; Clontarf: WWWWWDWWWWLLWWWLLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: James Taylor 141; Tries: Matthew Bowen 13; Clontarf: Points: Conor Kelly 131; Tries: Dylan Donnellan 20

#EnergiaAIL Men’s Division 1A: Semi-Final Club Factfiles

Preview: Chasing their first Division 1A final appearance since 2019, Cork Constitution welcome back full-back Rob Hedderman and forwards Luke Masters and Ronan O’Sullivan as starters. Current Ireland Under-20 hooker Danny Sheahan has also been added to the bench.

It was one win apiece during the regular season, with Con out-half James Taylor landing a late three-pointer and then winning a turnover penalty in a hard-fought 27-26 win at Temple Hill. Matthew Bowen is a danger man on the left wing, notching nine tries in the last five rounds.

Leinster Academy pair Aitzol King and Ben Murphy both start for Clontarf, with the latter’s younger brother, Ireland U-20 out-half Jack, on the bench. ‘Tarf paid the price for losing two of their last three matches, meaning this is their first away semi-final since 2015.

Bidding to reach their third final in as many years, the north Dubliners claimed a famous 2009 play-off victory at Con during Andy Wood’s first spell in charge. They were the best team across the first half of this season, and captain Dylan Donnellan has been in prolific form again with 20 tries.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Rob Hedderman; Daniel Hurley, Harry O’Riordan, Niall Kenneally, Matthew Bowen; James Taylor, Adam Maher; Alessandro Heaney, Billy Scannell, Luke Masters, Sean Duffy, John Forde, Jack Kelleher, Ronan O’Sullivan, David Hyland (capt).

Replacements: Danny Sheahan, Brendan Quinlan, Charlie Connolly, Eoin Quilter, Matisse Lamarque d’Arrouzat, Kamil Nowak, Louis Kahn, Rob Jermyn.

CLONTARF: Noah Sheridan; Aitzol King, Tadhg Bird, Matt D’Arcy, Peter Maher; Conor Kelly, Ben Murphy; Ivan Soroka, Dylan Donnellan (capt), Ben Griffin, Fionn Gilbert, Josh Murphy, Ruadhan Byron, JJ O’Dea, Tony Ryan.

Replacements: Barry Gray, Alex Usanov, Declan Adamson, Jack Murphy, Louis O’Reilly, Mark O’Sullivan, Jim Peters, Darragh Bolger.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 2, 2023: Clontarf 30 Cork Constitution 26, Castle Avenue; Saturday, January 27, 2024: Cork Constitution 27 Clontarf 26, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win

TERENURE COLLEGE (1st) v LANSDOWNE (4th), Lakelands Park, 4.30pm (live on Irish Rugby TV)

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: WLLWWLWWWWWWWWWWWW; Lansdowne: WWWLLWWLLWWWLLLWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Terenure College: Points: Aran Egan 104; Tries: Alan Bennie, Luke Clohessy 7 each; Lansdowne: Points: Stephen Madigan 94; Tries: Andy Marks, Rory Parata 8 each

#EnergiaAIL Men’s Division 1A: Semi-Final Club Factfiles

Preview: Nine starters from last season’s final will line out for Terenure College in this heavyweight Dublin derby. Summer signings Conor Phillips and Aran Egan feature behind the scrum, along with Ireland U-20 centre Sam Berman who recently returned from a hamstring injury.

Despite a slow start, Terenure have gathered impressive momentum through to the spring with a dozen victories on the bounce. Sean Skehan’s charges completed a season’s double over Lansdowne in February, prevailing 27-20 thanks to out-half Egan’s 12 points from the tee.

This is a repeat of the 2022 semi-final which ‘Nure edged 20-18. Lansdowne have had quite an overhaul since then with only Andy Marks, Jack Matthews, Ruairi Clarke, and Clive Ross retained in tomorrow’s starting XV from the team that lost at Lakelands two years ago.

There has been an influx of youth from last year’s Fraser McMullen Cup-winning squad, along with quality additions like former professionals Rory Parata and Jack Cooke, and South African number 8 Hardus van Eeden. Declan Fassbender’s side are tough to beat, picking up a whopping 19 bonus points across the campaign.

TERENURE COLLEGE: Adam La Grue; Conor Phillips, Sam Berman, Peter Sylvester, Craig Adams; Aran Egan, Alan Bennie; Campbell Classon, Levi Vaughan, Adam Tuite, Harrison Brewer (capt), Matthew Caffrey, Adam Melia, Luke Clohessy, Jordan Coghlan.

Replacements: Max Russell, Ben Howard, Conan O’Donnell, Mikey O’Reilly, Jim White, Conor McKeon, Yago Fernandez Vilar, Barry Galvin.

LANSDOWNE: Hugo McLaughlin; Cillian Redmond (capt), Andy Marks, Rory Parata, Cathal Eddy; Stephen Madigan, Jack Matthews; George Morris, Tom Barry, Greg McGrath, Jack Cooke, Ruairi Clarke, Clive Ross, Barry Fitzpatrick, Hardus van Eeden.

Replacements: Luke Thompson, Temi Lasisi, Adam Boland, Donough Lawlor, Liam Forster, James Kenny, Steve McMahon, Sean Galvin.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 11, 2023: Terenure College 24 Lansdowne 23, Lakelands Park; Saturday, February 17, 2024: Lansdowne 20 Terenure College 27, Aviva Stadium back pitch

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Terenure College to win