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Friday night Dublin derby tops the bill in this weekend's All-Ireland League action

Your Division 1A and 1B previews are right here.

Energia All-Ireland League, Saturday 19 October 
[KO 2.30pm unless stated]

Division 1A

Clontarf v Terenure College, Castle Avenue (Friday, 8pm)

THE TOP-FLIGHT ACTION kicks off tonight with a juicy Dublin derby which pits Clontarf against Terenure College, who have really caught the eye with their strong league start under new head coach Andy Skehan.

gearoid-lyons-takes-a-penalty Clontarf's Gearoid Lyons in action against Con last week. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

Scoring four tries against champions Cork Constitution and still not coming out on top was a big disappointment for ‘Tarf. But a second home win here would ensure they have a solid early-season platform to build on.

Terenure were actually 16-15 winners when they last visited Castle Avenue last April. It took an injury-time penalty from James Thornton to earn that result, and a similarly tight tussle is anticipated in this Friday night lights clash.

Ballynahinch v UCD, Ballymacarn Park

Another free-running College team for Ballynahinch to tackle after last week’s 39-6 reversal at the hands of UCC. Some of ‘Hinch’s Ulster contingent should be available for the third round visit of UCD.

The Belfield side, who have not hosted ‘Hinch in over three years, enjoyed their first league victory last week under new head coach Kevin Croke. Tricky centre Andy Marks bagged two tries in a 30-19 success at home to Dublin University.

charlie-ryan-lifts-the-celtic-cup Charlie Ryan is back in UCD colours this weekend. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Fresh from captaining Leinster ‘A’ to their second Celtic Cup title, Charlie Ryan makes his seasonal bow in UCD’s second row. Ronan Foley is another notable change, along with Luke Maloney, Colm Mulcahy and Harry Donnelly in the backs.

Dublin University v Garryowen, College Park

Smarting from back-to-back defeats, Dublin University have made four changes for tomorrow’s encounter with Garryowen. Their backline will include Rob Russell and Liam Turner, two Celtic Cup winners with Leinster ‘A’ last week.

Reuben Pim and Paddy Hamilton come in at lock and number eight respectively, but even if the Trinity XV is stronger this week, opponents Garryowen will travel with quiet confidence after accounting for Lansdowne six days ago.

The corresponding fixture last season resulted in a sizable 39-22 win for Trinity, but last October’s meeting was much closer at Dooradoyle where a conversion from Peadar Collins split the sides as the Light Blues claimed a 27-25 verdict.

Young Munster v UCC, Tom Clifford Park

League leaders UCC make the trip to Greenfields minus Munster’s John Hodnett and the injured Cian Bohane. The latter’s midfield place is taken by Louis Bruce, who was involved in the Munster ‘A’ Celtic Cup campaign.

Ryan Murphy, who notched two tries against ‘Hinch, is promoted from the UCC bench along with front rowers Shane O’Hanlon and Tadgh McCarthy. Wingers Matt Bowen and Murray Linn have scored three tries apiece so far.

louis-bruce Munster's Louis Bruce will start for UCC. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

There were winning margins of six and three points when these Munster rivals met last season. One point would do for the Cookies at the moment, with the home support hoping for a dominant showing from the Munsters pack and impressive new out-half Evan Cusack.

Cork Constitution v Lansdowne, Temple Hill

Lansdowne return to the scene of their 49-17 thumping by Cork Constitution last March. Con ended up finishing 13 points ahead of Lansdowne in the final table and replaced them as Division 1A champions.

Mike Ruddock’s men have a different spine to the team this year, and another newcomer, former UCD goal-kicker Conall Doherty, steps up tomorrow at outside centre. Daniel McEvoy, Ross Barron and Greg McGrath are the other changes.

Lansdowne will be keen to shut down Cork Con’s in-form centre Greg Higgins who has started the new season with three tries already. They won at Clontarf last week with the likes of captain Niall Kenneally, Brian Hayes and Duncan Williams back on board.

cork-constitution-players-celebrate-at-the-final-whistle Cork Con won at Clontarf last weekend. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

Division 1B:

City of Armagh v Old Belvedere, Palace Grounds

Out-half and captain Steve Crosbie has been in superb early-season form for Old Belvedere, racking up 41 points already. New centre James McKeown has also led the way with three tries so far.

Following last Saturday’s celebrations at the newly-named Ollie Campbell Park, they hit the road where Willie Faloon’s City of Armagh side are also two wins for two. Armagh won the corresponding fixture last season — 15-9 — thanks to second-half tries from Tim McNiece and Peter Starrett.

Armagh’s defence was brilliant at times during last week’s 20-14 victory at St. Mary’s, and it could be the winning and losing of this game. The hosts’ only changes are in the front row where Eddie O’Hagan and Jonny Morton are brought in.

Highfield v Naas, Woodleigh Park

This is Highfield and Naas’ first All-Ireland League encounter in almost eight years, back when they were both in Division 2B. The ambitious Corkmen are now top of the second tier and seeking to protect their proud home record.

Highfield are set to field an unchanged team, including winger Colin O’Neill who starred with four tries at Banbridge. The groundwork for those scores continues to be laid by player-coach Tim Ryan and their ultra-physical pack.

Seventh-placed Naas will be steeling themselves for a big test up front, as they look to halt their losing start to the new season. Nippy full-back Fionn Higgins has been their danger man during the first fortnight with two tries.

Shannon v Navan, Thomond Park back pitch

Having returned to winning ways last week, Shannon are back on home turf to entertain the divisional newcomers. Navan’s discipline needs to be tidied up after five costly penalties helped Old Belvedere to get the better of them.

a-general-view-of-thomond-park Thomond Park's back pitch. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Three of the division’s in-form centres will lock horns tomorrow as Shannon’s Pa Ryan looks to add to his three tries so far, while Navan’s impressive duo Riaan van der Vyver and Evan Dixon are averaging a try per game.

The back row battle should be intriguing as Limerick native James O’Neill features again for the Meath men. Shannon will need former Ireland U20 international Kelvin Brown at his most effective at the breakdown and as a ball carrier.

Malone v Banbridge, Gibson Park, 4pm

It has been a difficult start to the campaign for these two Ulster outfits. Tomorrow’s derby should bring out the best in them, with Banbridge’s pack boosted by the inclusion of Ulster ‘A’ pair Callum Reid and David O’Connor.

Malone’s new head coach Chris Henry has also been able to strengthen his starting line-up considerably. Ulster’s Angus Kernohan, Angus Curtis, Andrew Warwick, Matthew Dalton and Joe Dunleavy all come into the team.

Bann boss Mark McDowell said: “An Ulster derby is always going to have a bit of spice to it but (this one) probably even more now. The players have really got stuck into training and we’ll try to put Malone under a bit of pressure.”

Old Wesley v St Mary’s College, Energia Park, 4pm

The later kick-off in the capital sees Old Wesley aiming for three wins-out-of-three against St Mary’s College. The well-travelled Ed O’Keeffe slots in on the left wing for Wesley after transferring back across from Sale Sharks.

The hosts’ four personnel changes for tomorrow are completed by out-half Tom Kiersey and forwards Conor Maguire and Donnchadh Phelan. St Mary’s will be all out to right the wrongs of their frustrating 20-14 loss to Armagh.

Mary’s hooker Richie Halpin produced a man-of-the-match display six days ago, while Ryan O’Loughlin made an encouraging return from injury. Ex-Pres Bray captain Mick O’Gara has also adapted well in stepping up from schools rugby.

Division 2A:

  • Buccaneers v Ballymena, Dubarry Park
  • Cashel v Old Crescent, Spafield
  • Dolphin v Queen’s University, Musgrave Park
  • MU Barnhall v Nenagh Ormond, Parsonstown
  • UL Bohemians v Rainey Old Boys, University of Limerick 4G pitch

Division 2B:

  • Belfast Harlequins v Galway Corinthians, Deramore Park
  • Dungannon v Malahide, Stevenson Park
  • Galwegians v Greystones, Dr. Hickey Park
  • Wanderers v Sligo, Merrion Road
  • Ballina v Blackrock College, Heffernan Park

Division 2C:

  • Bangor v Clonmel, Upritchard Park
  • City of Derry v Omagh, Judge’s Road
  • Midleton v Bruff, Towns Park
  • Tullamore v Sunday’s Well, Spollanstown
  • Enniscorthy v Skerries, Alcast Park, 4pm.

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