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There's a busy line-up of domestic action for Ireland's rugby clubs this weekend

Promoted Dublin University host college rivals UCD in a Division 1A derby on Saturday afternoon.
Sep 23rd 2016, 2:03 PM 4,935 4

Hayden Triggs Hayden Triggs is Mary's new forwards coach. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Division 1A:

Clontarf v St Mary’s College

Castle Avenue, Saturday, 2.30pm

These two sides finished their opening games strongly last week, three closing penalties from Rob Keogh seeing Clontarf edge out UCD and Sean Kearns’ 16-point haul earned St. Mary’s a losing bonus point against Cork Constitution.

‘Tarf have some adjustments this week with Leinster lock Mick Kearney and injured Connacht prop Ivan Soroka (foot) both absent. The students outscored them by two tries to one, so Andy Wood will want a lot more from his back-line.

Mary’s have had an injury-disrupted start to the season. It will be interesting to see what difference Leinster’s Hayden Triggs can make as their forwards coach and if they can create more scoring opportunities for Ireland Sevens flyer Terry Kennedy.

Cork Constitution v Young Munster

Temple Hill, Saturday, 2.30pm

Cork Con played in fits and starts against St. Mary’s but eventually got the job done. Two second half yellow cards did not help and Brian Hickey will want improved discipline from his charges in their first home outing.

Of course, this is a repeat of last April’s Division 1A semi-final which Con edged 22-16. Two late tries, including one from current captain and in-form centre Niall Kenneally, proved all important back then.

Former Con flanker Dan Walsh had a fine debut for Munsters last week, scoring a brace in their epic 36-35 defeat to Old Belvedere. Gearoid Lyons’ place-kicking paved the way for a narrow regular season win at Temple Hill last January, and Paul Downes will need to be just as accurate if the Cookies are to repeat that feat.

Dublin University v UCD

College Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Michael Courtney scores a second try Michael Courtney was on the mark for Dublin University against Terenure. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

UCD will be kicking themselves after leaking some ‘costly’ match-deciding penalties to Clontarf in the closing stages. No better way to bounce back than against fierce rivals Trinity in this hotly-anticipated student derby.

UCD director of rugby Bobby Byrne expects a ‘tight and unpredictable game’, and there is likely to be little in it, especially if the hosts can build on their encouraging round 1 victory away to Terenure College.

UCD are dotted with Leinster Academy gems – Andrew Porter and James Ryan are potential stars of the future – but Trinity have some very talented players too. Watch out for skillful out-half Jack McDermott and versatile forward Pierce Dargan, who played US PRO Rugby for Ohio in recent months.

Lansdowne v Terenure College

Aviva Stadium main pitch, Saturday, 2.30pm

Daniel McEvoy on the attack Daniel McEvoy attacks for Lansdowne in their bonus-point win over Garryowen. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Former champions Lansdowne set out their stall with a bonus point win at Garryowen and their front row of Leinster’s Peter Dooley, ex London Scottish hooker Tyrone Moran and captain Ian Prendiville was in dominant scrum form.

New signings John O’Donnell and Alan Bennie have joined their Ireland Sevens skipper Tom Daly in a high quality Lansdowne back-line, one which Terenure will do well to stymie on the Aviva Stadium’s main pitch.

Despite Kevin O’Neill’s red card, ‘Nure will draw encouragement from their battling display against Trinity and they will need no reminding of the scoreline when they last met Mike Ruddock’s men – a stunning five-try 32-3 triumph at Lakelands last March.

Old Belvedere v Garryowen

Anglesea Road, Saturday, 2.30pm

Conan Doyle Garryowen forwards coach Paul Neville: the Limerick side will be hoping to get back to winning ways on Saturday. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Garryowen won 28-13 in the corresponding fixture last season, but the scoreline is likely to be reversed if Old Belvedere continue their impressive early season form.

They are hunting a second successive Limerick scalp after coming away from Young Munster with a thrilling 36-35 win. Former professional Daniel Riordan is already up and running with two tries, a tally matched by busy right winger Shane McDonald.

The Light Blues, who have lost Conor Oliver and Alex Wootton to the Munster bench, need to tighten up their defence and discipline, although their final quarter against Lansdowne was much improved. Notably, they will come up against three former Garryowen players in the Belvo pack – front rowers Ed Rossiter and Declan Lavery and recent signing, number 8 Dave Sherry.

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Division 1B:

Ballymena v Naas

Eaton Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Two of the victorious teams from round 1 meet at Eaton Park where Ballymena have actually lost three of their last four league games. Putting that poor finish to last season behind them, Andy Graham’s men ran out 25-19 winners at Shannon last Saturday.

While new centre Mark Best led by example with 15 points, Ballymena leaked a total of 14 penalties in Limerick – including a yellow card – so they can ill-afford a repeat performance, especially with Naas’s Peter Osborne in very good form with the boot.

There should be some fireworks in the backs where Fionn Carr, player-coach Johne Murphy and Henry Bryce provide the momentum for the Kildare men. However, home advantage should propel the Braidmen to another win.

Buccaneers v Shannon

Dubarry Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Rory O'Connor attempts to claim a high ball Buccaneers' Rory O'Connor goes up for a high ball against Ballynahinch. Source: Presseye/Mervyn McClelland/INPHO

Both sides won at home in last season’s head-to-head and Buccaneers will certainly want to start on the right note in Athlone, after going down to 35-13 to Ballynahinch in their opener.

The Pirates’ basics were poor up north and few players impressed, apart from try-scoring lock Cian Romaine and debutant prop Dylan Quinn, so coach Brett Wilkinson will be demanding a big improvement second time out.

2015 Munster Junior Cup-winning star Ronan McKenna was Shannon’s lone scorer against Ballymena, accumulating 19 points, and Buccs will have to curb the talented number 10′s influence if they are to prevail.

Galwegians v UCC

Crowley Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Misfiring Galwegians let an opening win slip from their grasp away to Naas, conceding two decisive penalties in the final minutes as Brian McClearn’s coaching reign began on a losing note.

Putting that disappointing performance behind them, ‘Wegians return to Glenina where they beat this weekend’s visitors UCC, 23-17, in a Division 2A game in January 2014. Current captain Brian Murphy was one of their try scorers that day.

UCC went close to defeating Old Wesley in a nip-and-tuck opener last week, with Munster development prop Peter McCabe’s late try securing a losing bonus point. A similar outcome may be their best hope in Galway.

Old Wesley v Dolphin

Donnybrook, Saturday, 2.30pm

A big day for Old Wesley as they officially open their new pavilion and clubhouse at Donnybrook. Morgan Lennon’s men look well placed to mark the occasion with a win, especially if goal-kicking winger Barry McLaughlin continues to split the posts with regularity.

Their centre Isaac Leota from New Zealand, who teed up Paul Harte for a try against UCC, is shaping up to be a big addition to the Wesley back-line and the 4G pitch should be to his liking.

They face Cork opposition again in the form of Dolphin who will be really hurting after a 41-10 hammering by UL Bohemians. Their second row pairing of captain Dave O’Mahony and John Madigan will aim to inspire a much better showing from David Corkery’s young side.

UL Bohemians v Ballynahinch

University of Limerick 4G pitch, Saturday, 2.30pm

An intriguing early season contest between the divisional leaders after the opening round. UL Bohemians’ result against Dolphin was the most eye-catching of the day as they ran in six tries and centre Rick McKenna tallied up 16 points.

In bagging a brace of tries, Ulster’s Sam Windsor also starred in Ballynahinch’s runaway victory over Buccaneers. However, injuries and unavailability rule out Windsor, Chris Quinn, captain Mike Graham and Davy Nicholson for this trip south to Limerick.

New half-backs Johnny McPhillips and Angus Lloyd are set to start for ‘Hinch, setting up a crunch match-up with the UL Bohs pairing of Robbie Bourke and Cathal Sheridan, the former Munster player who is a skills coach and player mentor with the UL Bohs Academy.

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Division 2A:

Nenagh Ormond v Cashel RFC
New Ormond Park, Friday, 7.30pm

Galway Corinthians v Belfast Harlequins
Corinthian Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Malone v Highfield
Gibson Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Queens University v Banbridge
Dub Lane, Saturday, 2.30pm

Sundays Well v Blackrock College
Musgrave Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

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Division 2B:

Armagh v City of Derry
Palace Grounds, Saturday, 2.30pm

Greystones v Wanderers
Dr Hickey Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

MU Barnhall v Old Crescent
Parsonstown, Saturday, 2.30pm

Skerries v Dungannon
Holmpatrick, Saturday, 2.30pm

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Division 2C:

Bruff v Midleton
Kilballyowen Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Kanturk v Seapoint
Knocknacolon, Saturday, 2.30pm

Navan v Bangor
Balreask Old, Saturday, 2.30pm

Rainey v Boyne
Hatrick Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Tullamore v Sligo
Spollanstown, Saturday, 2.30pm

– An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Garryowen coach Paul Neville as Conan Doyle.

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