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# On the home front
Lansdowne can go top and the rest of the weekend's Ulster Bank League action
There’s also a big Limerick derby down for decision between 1A leaders Young Munster and Garryowen.

Ulster Bank League

Scott Deasy Ryan Byrne / INPHO Former Munster out-half Scott Deasy is Lansdowne's top scorer this season with 70 points. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Division 1A

St Mary’s College (6th) v Lansdowne (2nd)

Templeville Road — 7.30pm tonight (Friday, 25 November)

It will be interesting to see what impact the recent break in fixtures has on these sides, mid-table St. Mary’s having lost their last two games by tight margins and Lansdowne winning three on the bounce to rise to second overall.

Lansdowne’s strength in depth is pushing through in timely fashion, ex-Buccaneer Jacob Walshe and U20 number eight Paul Boyle shining in a superb pack effort against UCD (45-10), along with rock-solid lock Willie Earle who has now made 101 league appearances for the club.

Ten tries scored in 160 minutes of rugby tells you how well the St. Mary’s attack is faring. It is their defending that really needs to sharpen up. Injuries and player unavailability remain issues for Jamie Cornett’s men, who are winless at home, seven rounds in.


Terenure College (10th) v Clontarf (8th)

Lakelands Park — 7.30pm tonight (Friday, 25 November)

Kyle McCoy Dan Sheridan / INPHO Kyle McCoy will look to guide Terenure to just their second win of the season tonight. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Terenure College and Clontarf are both going through difficult periods at the moment. The pair clashed in the 2015 Division 1A semi-finals but are currently taking up two of the bottom three rungs in the table.

Clontarf could do with a dose of Mick McGrath magic, the hirsute winger having returned to action in their round seven defeat at Cork Constitution. A win by any margin at Lakelands would suffice for the results-starved north Dubliners.

Terenure have lost their last four on the bounce, their luck deserting them at times and especially against Young Munster last time out. Key back-rowers James O’Neill and Kyle McCoy, this season’s captain, are setting high standards that their team-mates must match.


UCD (9th) v Old Belvedere (5th)

Belfield Bowl — 7.30pm tonight (Friday, 25 November)

Jamie Glynn Ryan Byrne / INPHO UCD will be looking for more Jamie Glynn magic against Belvo. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

UCD endured a 35-point hammering by Lansdowne in the previous round, but would have been much closer had they finished a series of promising attacks. In the end, a superb dummy and sprint through from captain Jamie Glynn — his fourth try of the campaign — was their only five-pointer.

Like the students, Old Belvedere fell two places in the standings after a frustrating 27-7 home loss to Trinity. If they cut down on the turnovers and have Steve Crosbie back in the side, ‘Belvo might just avenge last season’s 20-12 reversal at Belfield.

UCD’s Bowl has been a hive of activity this month, including the hosting of three Ireland Women’s internationals, and another sizable crowd is expected tonight with student card holders admitted free of charge, and free Christmas-themed food on offer.


Young Munster (1st) v Garryowen (7th)

Tom Clifford Park — 7.30pm tonight (Friday, 25 November)

Alan Tynan kicks 12/11//2016 Tommy Dickson / INPHO Young Munster out-half Alan Tynan. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

Given the positions of these Limerick rivals in the table, you could chalk this down as a comfortable home win. But Garryowen showed in their 43-38 bonus-point win over St. Mary’s that they will fight tooth and nail for a result.

Sam Arnold, who will make his Munster debut tomorrow, and David Johnston were the pick of their backs behind a resilient pack. However, Garryowen’s maul defence let them down at times and that is an area the table-topping Cookies are sure to target, with scrum half Rob Guerin (four tries) also waiting to pounce.

Last season’s corresponding fixture ended in a 16-all draw, hooker Liam McMahon’s try bringing Garryowen level in the final 10 minutes. The Light Blues lost April’s rematch 14-8, with winger Michael Vaughan’s late intercept score settling the issue.


Dublin University (3rd) v Cork Constitution (4th)

College Park — 2pm tomorrow (Saturday, 26 November)

Shane Daly scores a try Ryan Byrne / INPHO Shane Daly has been in excellent form this season for Con. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

This would be a brilliant appetiser to take in before Ireland’s 5.30pm clash with Australia. Just scoring difference has third-placed Trinity ahead of visitors Cork Constitution in the top-flight standings.

Constitution’s form is marginally better with four wins in a row, out-half Tomas Quinlan (69 points) and full-back Shane Daly (five tries) continuing to excel in the scoring stakes. Jack McDermott (65 points) and Colm Hogan (five tries) have made similar contributions for the students so far.

Tony Smeeth’s youngsters were hugely impressive in eclipsing current leaders Young Munster (27-7) last time out and if they can hit the heights of that performance again, they should claim another big scalp from the south.


Division 1B

UCC (7th) v Dolphin (9th)

The Mardyke — 7.30pm tonight (Friday, 25 November)

Tom Kiersey Presseye / Freddie Parkinson/INPHO Tom Kiersey on the ball for UCC during their win against Ballynahinch a fortnight ago. Presseye / Freddie Parkinson/INPHO / Freddie Parkinson/INPHO

Cork rivals UCC and Dolphin may be in the bottom half of the table, but their inspirational defensive stands against Ballynahinch and Naas respectively show they should be closer to the division’s business end.

As well as winning 15-10 away to ‘Hinch in round seven, UCC have beaten both Ballymena and Shannon at their Mardyke base, while Dolphin — who were five-point winners against Naas — are yet to win away from home this season.

Tries have been hard to come by for both sides so it could be left to UCC’s top scorer Kevin O’Keeffe (61 points) and whomever Dolphin have on kicking duty (Cian McGovern and Cillian Monahan both kicked in Barry Keeshan’s absence a fortnight ago) to decide the outcome of this floodlit derby.


Naas (5th) v UL Bohemians (2nd)

Forenaughts — 2pm tomorrow (Saturday, 26 November)

Johne Murphy Gary Carr / INPHO Naas player-coach Johne Murphy is keen for his side to bounce back from their defeat to Dolphin. Gary Carr / INPHO / INPHO

A big test for both sides as Naas look to bounce back into the top four and UL Bohemians try to match the efforts of new leaders Buccaneers who were 24-16 winners at Forenaughts last month.

The fifth-placed Kildare men have been grinding out results as the division’s third-lowest scorers, but they will need to take as many chances as possible against Bohs, who are averaging 27 points per game.

Naas player-coach Johne Murphy said: “It was a disappointing one for us down in Dolphin in the last round. But we’re still in the hunt, so if we can kick on and win these last two games before Christmas, we’re right in the mix going forward into next year.”


Ballynahinch (6th) v Ballymena (4th)

Ballymacarn Park — 2.30pm tomorrow (Saturday, 26 November)

Sam Windsor Presseye / Matt Mackey/INPHO Ulster's Sam Windsor is expected for feature for Ballynahinch. Presseye / Matt Mackey/INPHO / Matt Mackey/INPHO

Ballynahinch have struggled noticeably at home in the league this season, a run of three defeats in their last four games seeing them slip down into the bottom half of the table.

‘Hinch, who advanced to another Ulster Senior Cup final last week, certainly have the players to challenge for promotion. Injuries rule out Aaron Cairns, John Donnan and Lorcan Dow, but the Ulster trio of Sam Windsor, Johnny McPhillips and David Busby should feature in the backs.

Ballymena got back to winning ways in a thrilling 69-point contest with Galwegians, and they look to have the stronger squad for this Ulster derby, with Kieran Treadwell and captain David Whann combining in the second row and the fit-again Ritchie McMaster, who kicked 15 crucial points against ‘Wegians, joining Dave Shanahan at half-back.


Shannon (10th) v Old Wesley (3rd)

Coonagh — 2.30pm tomorrow (Saturday, 26 November)

Marcus Horan Presseye / John McIlwaine/INPHO Shannon head coach Marcus Horan. Presseye / John McIlwaine/INPHO / John McIlwaine/INPHO

Coonagh is the venue for Shannon’s fourth home fixture of the league season. Marcus Horan’s young side started the month with a 17-10 dismissal of Dolphin and they are hoping to end it by upsetting third-placed Old Wesley.

November has been a positive period for the Parish club with five points gained from their last two outings. Wesley, though, might have too much quality, especially if ace place-kicker Barry McLaughlin (89 points) pushed past the century mark.

Looking to rebound from a 27-point hammering by Buccs, Morgan Lennon’s charges are tough to live with when they put their chances away. Indeed, Wesley have picked up three try-scoring bonus points in the last four rounds.


Division 2A

Sunday’s Well v Nenagh Ormond

Musgrave Park — 2pm, Saturday

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Banbridge v Galway Corinthians

Rifle Park — 2.30pm, Saturday

Belfast Harlequins v Queens University

Deramore Park — 2.30pm, Saturday

Blackrock College v Malone

Stradbrook — 2.30pm, Saturday

Cashel v Highfield

Spafield — 2.30pm, Saturday


Division 2B

Bective Rangers v MU Barnhall

Donnybrook — 7.30pm, Friday

Greystones v Armagh

Dr Hickey Park — 2pm, Saturday

Wanderers v Skerries

Merrion Road — 2pm, Saturday

City Of Derry v Dungannon

Judge’s Road — 2.30pm, Saturday

Old Crescent v Thomond

Rosbrien — 2.30pm, Saturday


Division 2C

Boyne v Tullamore

Shamrock Lodge — 2pm, Saturday

Seapoint v Sligo

Kilbogget Park — 2pm, Saturday

Bangor v Bruff

Upritchard Park — 2.30pm, Saturday

Midleton v Navan

Towns Park — 2.30pm, Saturday

Rainey v Kanturk

Hatrick Park — 2.30pm, Saturday

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