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Dublin: 8°C Saturday 31 October 2020
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Don't forget the UBL - here's the pick of this weekend's domestic rugby action

Division 1A leaders after six rounds, Young Munster travel to play Terenure this afternoon.

Tomas Quinlan kicks a penalty Tomas Quinlan already has 60 points for Cork Con this season. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Division 1A:

Cork Constitution (4th) v Clontarf (8th)
Temple Hill, Saturday, 2.30pm

Form: Cork Con: WLLWWW; Clontarf: WLLWLL

Top Scorers: Cork Con: Points: Tomas Quinlan 60; Tries: Shane Daly 4; Clontarf: Points: Rob Keogh 57; Tries: Matt D’Arcy 3

History will be made on Leeside as Joy Neville, who has had a rapid rise up the IRFU match official ranks, becomes the first woman to referee an Ulster Bank League Division 1A fixture.

The former Ireland Women’s international will oversee two teams with contrasting form at present, Cork Constitution on a three-match winning streak and teetering title holders Clontarf losing four of their last five games.

Con’s pack has been providing the platform for their wins, led by influential locks Brian Hayes and Conor Kindregan, but Tarf will travel in the hope that they can repeat last February’s 18-12 victory at Temple Hill.

Garryowen (9th) v St Mary’s College (6th)
Dooradoyle, Saturday, 2.30pm

Form: Garryowen: LWWLLL; Mary’s: LWLWWL

Top Scorers: Garryowen: Points: Neil Cronin 48; Tries: Andrew O’Byrne, David Johnston 2 each; Mary’s: Points: Sean Kearns 47; Tries: David Fanagan, Terry Kennedy, Darren Moroney 2 each

After three defeats in a row to Dublin clubs, Garryowen face another capital side in St. Mary’s who are three places and four points better off than the second-from-bottom Light Blues.

Captain Neil Cronin’s late penalty gave Garryowen a losing bonus point away to UCD, but they really need to create more chances and start putting them away as the Limerick men have not scored more than 16 points in any of their last five outings.

There is the added incentive of lifting the Shay Deering trophy for both clubs at Dooradoyle, and with Ireland Sevens speedster Terry Kennedy sparking their five-try second half against Young Munster, Mary’s have the firepower to take the spoils here.

Steve Crosbie Steve Crosbie: Munster signing starred for OB against Clontarf. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Old Belvedere (3rd) v Dublin University (5th)
Anglesea Road, Saturday, 2.30pm

Form: Old Belvedere: WLWWLW; Dublin University: WLWWWL

Top Scorers: Old Belvedere: Points: Willie Staunton 51; Tries: Shane McDonald 3; Dublin University: Points: Jack McDermott 65; Tries: Colm Hogan 4

A big test for Dublin University just a week on from losing their grip on top spot. Both Old Belvedere and Trinity have led the league in the early rounds, and the pair are currently part of five front-running clubs separated by only five points.

The students were mostly undone by Scott Deasy’s boot in a 25-14 loss to Lansdowne, so improved discipline will be top of Tony Smeeth’s checklist for this short trip to Ballsbridge.

Munster signing Steve Crosbie starred with a 15-point kicking contribution in Belvo’s round 6 success at Clontarf, but there should be some try-scoring fireworks tomorrow with attack-minded full-backs Daniel Riordan and Jack Kelly aiming to spark two talented back-lines.

Terenure College (10th) v Young Munster (1st)
Lakelands Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Form: Terenure College: LLWLLL; Young Munster: LWWLWW

Top Scorers: Terenure College: Points: Jake Swaine 41; Tries: Jake Swaine, James O’Neill 3 each; Young Munster: Points: David O’Mahony 54; Tries: Rob Guerin 3

Given these clubs’ respective positions in the table, it looks a simple equation at Lakelands. However, bottom-placed Terenure are always very tough to beat on home turf and their recent results belie their level of performance.

Disappointing second halves have seen Nure lose out to St Mary’s and Cork Con, their attack faltering at crucial stages. They are also falling foul of the referee’s whistle, with two yellow cards proving costly against Con.

While delighted with his side’s free-scoring form, Young Munster boss Gearoid Prendergast will demand a miserly defence from his charges after leaking 29 second-half points to Mary’s. Still, the Cookies have a winning mentality at the moment and should stay top of the pile.

FRIDAY’S RESULT: Lansdowne 45-10 UCD

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Division 1B:

Ballynahinch (5th) v UCC (7th)
Ballymacarn Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Form: Ballynahinch: WLWLLW; UCC: LLWLWL

Top Scorers: Ballynahinch: Points: Johnny McPhillips 29; Tries: Jordan Grattan, Sam Windsor 3 each; UCC: Points: Kevin O’Keeffe 56; Tries: Conor Barry 3

Boasted by their comeback win away to Galwegians, Ballynahinch showed plenty of character to get back to winning ways with Ulster prospects John Donnan and Jonny Murphy both impressing up front.

Hinch are without Johnny McPhillips and David Busby this weekend due to Ireland U20 and Sevens camps, but Michael Graham and James Simpson are back for the visit of UCC who are on the road for the second week running.

The Cork students were held try-less by Naas. Their ace place-kicker Kevin O’Keeffe has contributed 56 of their 111 points so far, and Hinch’s greater scoring spread – they have averaged 29 points per game in the last three rounds – should see them through.

Max Whittingham Max Whittingham and Naas are looking for their fourth straight win. Source: Presseye/Freddie Parkinson/INPHO

Dolphin (10th) v Naas (4th)
Musgrave Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Form: Dolphin: LLWLLL; Naas: WLLWWW

Top Scorers: Dolphin: Points: Barry Keeshan 42; Tries: Ryan Murphy 2; Naas: Points: Peter Osborne 42; Tries: Fionn Carr 3

A hugely frustrating final quarter saw Dolphin lose their grip on a winning lead against Shannon, a big setback given they have only picked up one win and one losing bonus point in the opening six rounds.

They had the experienced 10-12 axis of Barry Keeshan and Denis Hurley in Limerick, and the pair could have a big say in this result with Hurley set to line out against his former Munster teammate, Naas player-coach Johne Murphy.

Murphy has the Kildare men playing some great stuff, their ability to score late on proving decisive in two of their recent outings. With Old Wesley playing Buccaneers, another victory for Naas could enhance their top-four standing.

Galwegians (8th) v Ballymena (6th)
Crowley Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Form: Galwegians: LWLLLL; Ballymena: WWLWLL

Top Scorers: Galwegians: Points: Mitch Lam 22; Tries: Cormac Brennan, Rory Parata 3 each; Ballymena: Points: Mark Best 32; Tries: Mark Best, Rodger McBurney 3 each

Neither side would have envisaged being in the bottom half of the table a third of the way into the season. Galwegians have been guilty of a couple of alarming collapses, ruining some fine first-half work.

They have chalked up six bonus points already, including two against Hinch last time out. Connacht centre Rory Parata has run in three tries in his last two appearances for the Blues.

Prop Andrew Warwick, who penned a new contract with Ulster this week, will start for Ballymena who are bidding to end a two-game losing streak. Their provisional starting line-up also including Alan O’Connor and Stephen Mulholland up front and Dave Shanahan and Mark Best in the backs.

Conor Maguire runs in a try Conor Maguire helped Old Wesley to a four-try win in Ballymena last weekend. Source: Presseye/Dylan McIlwaine/INPHO

Old Wesley (3rd) v Buccaneers (1st)
Donnybrook, Saturday, 2.30pm

Form: Old Wesley: WWLWWW; Buccaneers: LWWWWW

Top Scorers: Old Wesley: Points: Barry McLaughlin 82; Tries: Ger Finucane 4; Buccaneers: Points: Alan Gaughan 42; Tries: Jordan Conroy 7

This should be a belter of a game. Old Wesley and Buccaneers both registered five wins in the first six rounds, with the swashbuckling Pirates holding a narrow lead at the summit.

Buccs are on a revenge mission after letting Wesley off the hook in a 42-38 defeat at Donnybrook last season, an encounter in which Shane Layden and David Butler both suffered cruciate injuries on the 4G pitch.

Wesley’s four-try display at Ballymena showed their clinical edge, but the Athlone outfit, with winger Jordan Conroy now on seven tries, have the pace and power to win what should be a close contest.

UL Bohemians (2nd) v Shannon (9th)
Thomond Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Form: UL Bohemians: WWWWWL; Shannon: LLLLLW

Top Scorers: UL Bohemians: Points: Rick McKenna 52; Tries: Jamie McNamara 5; Shannon: Points: Ronan McKenna 33; Tries: Ronan McKenna, Riley Winter, Shane Mullally, Lee Nicholas, Conor Glynn, Richie Mullane 1 each

A Limerick derby with plenty riding on the result. UL Bohemians’ winning run came to a shuddering halt away to Buccaneers so it is vital that they bounce back quickly, while Shannon will be hugely keen to build on their maiden victory at home to Dolphin.

Form does go out the window in a local derby clash, but Marcus Horan’s men will have to work extremely hard to negate the 17-point differential between themselves and second-placed Bohs in the league standings.

The UL backs will be hoping for a better return after a quiet day against Buccs, while their forwards have shown a try-scoring touch with hooker David Rowsome notching a couple of well-taken scores.

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Division 2A:

Banbridge v Cashel
Rifle Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Highfield v Belfast Harlequins
Woodleigh Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Malone v Sundays Well
Gibson Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Nenagh Ormond v Galway Corinthians
New Ormond Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Queen’s University v Blackrock College
Dub Lane, Saturday, 2.30pm

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Division 2B:

Armagh v Thomond
Palace Grounds, Saturday, 2.30pm

Dungannon v Bective Rangers
Stevenson Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

MU Barnhall v Wanderers
Parsonstown, Saturday, 2.30pm

Old Crescent v City of Derry
Rosbrien, Saturday, 2.30pm

FRIDAY’S RESULT: Skerries 11-36 Greystones

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Division 2C:

Bangor v Seapoint
Upritchard Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Kanturk v Bruff
Knocknacolon, Saturday, 2.30pm

Sligo v Midleton
Hamilton Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Tullamore v Rainey
Spollanstown, Saturday, 2.30pm

FRIDAY’S RESULT: Navan 34-6 Boyne

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