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Exeter-linked Jack Dunne in action against leaders Clontarf, and the rest of the weekend's AIL previews

Second-placed Lansdowne travel to the UCD Bowl.

 Men’s AIL Division 1A Saturday, January 22

Kick-off 2.30pm Saturday unless stated  

craig-adams-scores-a-try Craig Adams scores a try for Terenure against Garryowen. Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

BALLYNAHINCH (10th) v TERENURE COLLEGE (4th), Ballymacarn Park

Eight rounds remain and bottom side Ballynahinch have eight points to make up on third-from-bottom UCD. They are fighting to avoid a two-legged relegation play-off in April.

Terenure College have put together a six-match winning streak. Their attack is looking sharp, with winger Craig Adams now on seven tries, and they are back in the top four where they want to stay.

39-point winners at home to ‘Hinch last month, ‘Nure make four changes this week. Matthew Caffrey and Conall Boomer return up front, with Jake Swaine and Cathal Marsh coming in at full-back and out-half respectively.

CORK CONSTITUTION (6th) v UCC (9th), Temple Hill

Losing twice to Terenure College has rocked Cork Constitution back onto their heels, but with eight bonus points so far, they are still just two points outside of the top four and a place in the play-offs.

Notably, the defending champions were also held try-less across both games by the Dubliners – with captain Aidan Moynihan kicking six penalties – so they will want to rediscover their clinical edge in this local derby.

Although Neil Lucey’s young UCC side are expected to be boosted by some of their Munster players, a losing bonus point may be their best hope. They round off the month with a trip to league leaders Clontarf.

jack-dunne Jack Dunne. Source: Ben Brady/INPHO

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (5th) v CLONTARF (1st), College Park

Jack Dunne, who has been linked with a move to Exeter Chiefs, is part of a strong Dublin University pack tomorrow. He partners Joe McCarthy at lock, with Ulster’s Harry Sheridan shifting to the back row.

Lee Barron, Thomas Clarkson, Liam Turner and Rob Russell bring the Leinster contingent to six for Trinity, but beefy visitors Clontarf, who beat the students 27-7 last month, will take some stopping.

They may have lost prop Vakh Abdaladze to a probable Champions Cup debut for Leinster, but table-topping ‘Tarf have enviable strength in depth. Hooker Dylan Donnellan tops the division’s try scorer charts with 10.

GARRYOWEN (7th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (3rd), Dooradoyle

Dan Walsh, who gets the nod at number 8, captains Young Munster in the absence of the injured Alan Kennedy. They are gunning for a quick-fire double over an out-of-sorts Garryowen.

Munster centre Dan Goggin will start for the Cookies, who also bring in provincial starlet Patrick Campbell at full-back, following his late match-winning try at home to UCD last week.

Winning a hard-edged Limerick derby could turn Garryowen’s season around. The onus will be on Tony Butler and Evan Maher to get the attack firing again after just four tries scored in the last four games.

scott-penny Scott Penny. Source: Ben Brady/INPHO

UCD (8th) v LANSDOWNE (2nd), UCD Bowl

Leinster duo Scott Penny and Tommy O’Brien are back in UCD colours for the visit of second-placed Lansdowne. Munster scrum half Paddy Patterson also features as the students aim for a much-needed win.

The provincial trio all start against a Lansdowne side that won 48-15 when the clubs met over a month ago. They won by a similar margin against ‘Hinch last week, with former UCD back Andy Marks touching down.

Liam O’Sullivan and Corey Reid return to the Lansdowne back-line, with Ireland Under-20 prospect Charlie Tector reverting to out-half. Forwards Ben Popplewell, Conan Dunne and Dan Murphy make it five personnel changes.

Men’s Divison 1B

BANBRIDGE (9th) v OLD WESLEY (1st), Rifle Park

This looks an intriguing contest given the jolt of confidence Banbridge gained from their back-to-back victories over Old Belvedere. Winger Conor Field’s brace last week took his try haul to six for the season.

Bann head coach Mark McDowell commented: “We had a tight game against Old Wesley in Dublin (losing 24-14). They’re an excellent side but I believe they’ll be facing a Banbridge team that is significantly more confident in what they’re trying to do than the one they met in Donnybrook.”

Facing into a crucial few weeks, which includes a rematch with Highfield, Wesley are determined to keep up their winning momentum. Tommy O’Callaghan and David Poff are particularly dangerous out wide, scoring nine tries between them.

CITY OF ARMAGH (6th) v HIGHFIELD (2nd), Palace Grounds 

Looking to bounce back from a disappointing 26-8 loss to Old Wesley, City of Armagh make two changes with Harry Boyd replacing Romain Morrow at out-half and Josh McKinley returning at lock.

Cutting down on the penalties and improving their decision-making are top of the agenda this week for Armagh. They are hoping to avenge a 21-10 defeat to Highfield from early December.

Highfield have also made two alterations, bringing in Mark Dorgan at inside centre and Daragh Fitzgerald at tighthead prop. After being held try-less by Shannon in successive rounds, the Corkmen will want to make amends.

NAVAN (10th) v OLD BELVEDERE (7th), Balreask Old 

Navan are offering free entry at Balreask Old tomorrow, while Old Belvedere will also be live streaming the game as they aim to recapture the form that saw them beat Navan 32-12 before Christmas.

Former Dublin University captain Colm Hogan returns at full-back in a much-changed Belvedere back-line. Justin Leonard joins David Butler in midfield and the half-back slots are filled by David Wilkinson and Peter O’Beirne.

Navan deserved something out of last week’s floodlit clash with Naas, but ended up as 22-point losers. ‘Belvo are only five points ahead of them in the table, so a win here could be huge in terms of the relegation battle.

SHANNON (5th) v MALONE (8th), Thomond Park back pitch 

Shannon are unbeaten in three games, winning against Malone and Highfield during that profitable spell, and those results have Pat O’Connor’s men knocking on the door of the top four.

Head coach O’Connor commented: “We’re really starting to gel and really start to come out the right side of tough matches. Clinically we were a little bit off last week, but that’s the pressure that Highfield put you under.”

Malone have gone four rounds without a win, dropping down to third-from-bottom. They are, at least, regularly getting over the whitewash with Ulster flyer Aaron Sexton scoring five tries in their last five matches.

craig-kennedy Craig Kennedy of St Mary's, file photo. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

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ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (4th) v NAAS (3rd), Templeville Road

In an incredible turn of events, St. Mary’s College drew both of their back-to-back games against Malone. Last week’s low-scoring affair saw winger Craig Kennedy score late to earn them two points.

Naas have put together four wins on the trot, frustrating Navan into submission last Friday night with their defensive wall led by Paul Monahan, Adam Coyle and number 8 Paulie Tolofua.

Johne Murphy’s Cobras were ruthless in putting away their chances – promising winger Donal Conroy helped himself to a hat-trick – and they will need more of the same against Mary’s, the division’s leading scorers.

DIVISION 2A

Ballymena v UL Bohemians, Eaton Park

Dolphin v Cashel, Musgrave Park

MU Barnhall v Buccaneers, Parsonstown

Old Crescent v Nenagh Ormond, Takumi Park

Queen’s University v Rainey Old Boys, Dub Lane

DIVISION 2B

Galway Corinthians v Galwegians, Corinthian Park, tonight, 8pm

Dungannon v Blackrock College, Stevenson Park

Malahide v Ballina, Estuary Road

Sligo v Greystones, Hamilton Park

Wanderers v Belfast Harlequins, Merrion Road

DIVISION 2C

Bangor v Sunday’s Well, Upritchard Park

Bruff v Enniscorthy, Kilballyowen Park

City of Derry v Skerries, Judge’s Road

Clonmel v Tullamore, Spafield

Midleton v Omagh Academicals, Towns Park

 

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