Table-topping Young Munster host Clontarf and this weekend's AIL previews

Dave Mervyn looks ahead to the weekend’s domestic action.

Men’s AIL Division 1A

Kick-off Saturday 2.30pm unless stated 

corey-reid-celebrates-after-scoring-a-try-with-mark-boyle Corey Reid and Lansdowne host Dublin University on Friday evening. Ben Brady / INPHO Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

LANSDOWNE v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY, Aviva Stadium back pitch, Friday, 7.30pm

Paul Boyle’s younger brother Mark returns at number 8 for Lansdowne tonight, with former Ulster player Clive Ross reverting to the blindside berth and captain Jack O’Sullivan switching to openside.

Frank Kavanagh and promising young tighthead JJ Hession are brought into the front row and Peter Hastie starts at out-half, as the headquarters club look to build on their recent 22-5 victory at Clontarf.

Dublin University make the short trip with a strong side, bolstered by the availability of Leinster’s Joe McCarthy, Thomas Clarkson and Jack Dunne. Aran Egan fills in for captain Mick O’Kennedy at out-half.

billy-kingston-dejected Billy Kingston and UCC were soundly beaten by UCD last time out. Evan Treacy / INPHO Evan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

BALLYNAHINCH v UCC, Ballymacarn Park 

University opponents again for Ballynahinch as they resume their league campaign a fortnight on from a chastening 42-17 defeat at UCD. Their South African full-back Shane Ball got off the mark with a try.

‘Hinch’s second half showing in Belfield did at least give them some momentum to bring forward into round six. They will have taken note of UCC’s impressive display against high-flying Young Munster.

The Cork students were held try-less but tested the Cookies throughout. They will hope for an improved performance from their scrum tomorrow, along with more opportunities for speedster Matthew Bowen who has four tries to his name.

paddy-patterson-scores-a-try UCD are without Paddy Patterson, pictured, for the next few weeks. Evan Treacy / INPHO Evan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO


The last three league encounters between these clubs have produced a famous 27-20 win for UCD in Temple Hill, a big 53-10 backlash from Cork Constitution, and then a four-point cliffhanger in Con’s favour.

The Leesiders’ takedown of Garryowen last time out suggests they are back on track, pushing themselves back towards the top four. UCD are just two points behind them, following back-to-back home wins.

The Kevin Croke-coached students are without their top try scorer, Munster’s Paddy Patterson, for the next few weeks. Rob Gilsenan replaces him at scrum half, Tom Coughlan is the only other change in the second row.

jack-daly-and-jack-mullany-celebrate-after-the-game Garryowen sit second in the table ahead of their trip to Lakelands. Brian Reilly-Troy / INPHO Brian Reilly-Troy / INPHO / INPHO


Former Leinster out-half Cathal Marsh slots into the Terenure College back-line for the visit of second-placed Garryowen. ‘Nure are looking to back up their last-gasp triumph at Trinity two weeks ago.

James Connolly and Jordan Coghlan are notable absentees in the back row, meaning a positional switch for Luke Clohessy to openside flanker. Conall Boomer starts at number 8 and Mike Murphy comes into the engine room.

With Munster embarking on their two-match South African tour, Garryowen are without the likes of Ben Healy and Jack Daly. Academy call-up Tony Butler is set to return at out-half, eager to add to his 40 points so far.

conor-hayes-celebrates-scoring-a-try-with-patrick-campbell Conor Hayes, centre, reverts to the right wing for Young Munster. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO


Patrick Campbell, one of three new additions to the Munster Academy, returns at full-back for Young Munster’s top-four clash with Clontarf. Conor Hayes reverts to the right wing.

The table-topping Cookies pair Tom Goggin and captain Alan Kennedy together in the second row, with the Brisbane-born Bailey Faloon promoted from the bench to start at blindside.

Clontarf, who won 7-6 on their most recent visit to Greenfields, were stymied by Lansdowne’s robust defence in the last round. Five-try hooker Dylan Donnellan remains a big weapon for ‘Tarf from mauls.

Division 1B


Highfield welcome back out-half James Taylor from injury for this eagerly-awaited top of the table clash. There are four personnel changes to the team that won 24-20 at Old Belvedere.

Luke Kingston replaces Sam Burns at full-back, while Travis Coomey and Ian McCarthy both get the nod to start in the front row. Highfield and Old Wesley are level on 22 points, with five wins and two bonus points each.

Wesley got one over the Corkmen in late 2019, winning 25-22 at home, but lost the return fixture 26-13. Their back row of Will Fay, Alastair Hoban and Reuben Pim was very effective against Malone last time out, particularly in defence.


There is an Ulster flavour to both selections for tomorrow’s provincial derby, Aaron Sexton and Lewis Finlay bookending the Malone back-line and David O’Connor lining out at blindside flanker for Banbridge.

Malone have sadly lost Josh Pentland to retirement, the centre recovering from a spinal injury but opting to hang up his boots. Head coach Wilbur Leacock said he was ‘a key member of the senior squad’ and ‘an outstanding young man’.

Hoping his side can end their losing streak, Bann boss Mark McDowell said: “We’re working hard in training, ironing out those little glitches that are costing us. I remain confident that we will soon embark on a run of wins to lift us off the bottom.”

NAAS v CITY OF ARMAGH, Forenaughts

Naas and City of Armagh met twice in 2019, playing out a 23-all draw at Forenaughts before the Ulstermen prevailed 13-6 at home the following October. So expect another tight margin in this latest rematch.

The division’s two highest scorers feature tomorrow, with Naas captain Peter Osborne, who converted all four of their tries at Banbridge, tallying up 55 points so far. Armagh’s Kyle Faloon is just three behind him.

Armagh head coach Chris Parker commented: “We used the free week to refocus on our next series of matches in the run up to the Christmas break. We need to be more composed in the opposition 22 and convert our chances into points.”


Old Belvedere make three personnel changes for this Dublin derby, Jack Keating adding his pace to the back-three and there are starts up front for Fionn McWey and Jack Breen. Paddy Dowling switches to the blindside.

St. Mary’s College are on a roll, even absorbing an injury crisis in the lead up to their 21-17 victory at Shannon. The versatile Dan Lyons stepped into the breach, switching from the back row to loosehead prop.

Lyons’ forward colleague, Mick McCormack, is gaining a reputation for his scrummaging and played for Leinster ‘A’ last week. Mary’s centres Myles Carey and Mick O’Gara are also catching the eye, scoring a combined four tries in the last two rounds.

NAVAN v SHANNON, Balreask Old (Covid-19-affected match cancelled – 0-0. Both teams are awarded two points)


Division 2A

  • Cashel v Ballymena, Spafield
  • Dolphin v Buccaneers, Musgrave Park
  • MU Barnhall v Old Crescent, Parsonstown
  • Nenagh Ormond v Queen’s University, New Ormond Park
  • UL Bohemians v Rainey Old Boys, UL Arena

Division 2B

  • Ballina v Wanderers, Heffernan Park
  • Belfast Harlequins v Greystones, Deramore Park
  • Blackrock College v Sligo, Stradbrook
  • Galway Corinthians v Dungannon, Corinthian Park
  • Malahide v Galwegians, Estuary Road

Division 2C

  • City of Derry v Clonmel, Judge’s Road
  • Enniscorthy v Sunday’s Well, Alcast Park
  • Midleton v Skerries, Towns Park
  • Omagh Academicals v Bruff, Thomas Mellon Playing Fields
  • Tullamore v Bangor, Spollanstown

Bernard Jackman, Gavan Casey, and Murray Kinsella reflect on Ireland’s stunning win over the All Blacks, hail Ciara Griffin’s Ireland career, and chat about Rassie:

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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