Lansdowne look for 3rd win on the trot, Cookies welcome 'Tarf and all your UBL previews

Meanwhile, Shannon, Dolphin and UCC will hope to claim their first wins of the season in division 1b.

Kick-off 2.30pm Saturday unless stated.


LANSDOWNE (1st) v OLD BELVEDERE (3rd), Aviva Stadium back pitch, tonight, 7.30pm

As well as Ulster Bank League points being on the line, tonight’s floodlit tie doubles up as the Leinster Senior League Cup final with both Lansdowne and Old Belvedere coming through the group stages unbeaten.

Peter Dooley with Mark O'Neill Peter Dooley in action against Terenure last week. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

The headquarters club have brought that winning form into Division 1A and their rampant pack will have to be curtailed by a ‘Belvo side smarting from a 13-11 home defeat by Garryowen.

Mindful of Belvedere’s quality (they did the double on Lansdowne last season), Mike Ruddock said: “Belvedere are going to be difficult, no doubt about that. Another big battle at the breakdown is in store and, with a six-day turnaround, the freshest side on the day, I think, will be the winning team.”

UBL Form: Lansdowne: WW; Old Belvedere: WL

Top Scorers

Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 21; Tries: Daniel McEvoy 2.

Old Belvedere: Points: Willie Staunton 22; Tries: Shane McDonald 3.

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (6th) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (8th), Templeville Road, tonight, 7.30pm

The two teams that came up from Division 1B at the end of last season. Sean Kearns’ right boot decided the corresponding fixture in St. Mary’s favour –9-5 in April, in response to Trinity’s 20-14 October win.

Kearns was coolness personified when drilling over the late penalty that defeated title holders Clontarf last week. The 21-year-old out-half is already top of the division’s scoring charts with 29 points after two rounds.

Sean Kearns lines up a kick Sean Kearns in Schools action for Blackrock Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

Trinity gave their arch rivals UCD a good rattle before losing 23-13, and this week they will be facing their former captain Paddy Lavelle, who had a terrific debut in the Mary’s midfield against ‘Tarf.

UBL Form: St. Mary’s College: LW; Dublin University: WL

UBL Top Scorers

St. Mary’s College: Points: Sean Kearns 29; Tries: Sean Kearns, Brian McGovern, Paddy O’Driscoll 1 each.

Dublin University: Points: Jack McDermott 18; Tries: Paddy Finlay, Michael Courtney, Evan Dixon, Colm Hogan 1 each.

GARRYOWEN (7th) v CORK CONSTITUTION (9th), Dooradoyle

Garryowen delivered the goods in their opening win away to Old Belvedere, captain Neil Cronin kicking three from three in what was new forwards coach Denis Leamy’s debut on the touchline.

They will be expecting a backlash from Cork Constitution who were surprisingly hammered by Young Munster (37-15). Con’s discipline and scrummaging simply have to improve – their four yellow cards in the first two rounds were costly.

Shane Daly Shane Daly. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Light Blues blooded an impressive nine league debutants over the past fortnight. One of those newcomers, Liam Coombes, should have a fascinating full-back duel with Cork Con’s Ireland Under-20 international Shane Daly.

UBL Form: Garryowen: LW; Cork Constitution: WL

UBL Top Scorers

Garryowen: Points: Neil Cronin 18; Tries: Hugh O’Brien-Cunningham, Johnny Keane, David Johnston, Andrew O’Byrne 1 each.

Cork Constitution: Points: Tomas Quinlan, Shane Daly 10 each; Tries: Shane Daly 2.

TERENURE COLLEGE (10th) v UCD (4th), Lakelands Park

Terenure will be doing everything in their power to avoid a third successive league defeat. They can, at least, draw confidence from their season’s double over UCD last term.

Creating more opportunities for wingers Jake Swaine and Sam Coghlan Murray is a must for ‘Nure, with the latter set to line out against some of his former UCD and Leinster ‘A’ team-mates.

Greg Jones UCD's Greg Jones during the summer. Source: Camerasport/Dave Howarth/INPHO

The Belfield side closed out a hard-fought victory at Trinity last week, despite being outperformed at set piece time. A better return there should provide the springboard for a winning performance at Lakelands.

UBL Form: Terenure College: LL; UCD: LW

UBL Top Scorers

Terenure College: Points: Jake Swaine 7; Tries: Jake Swaine, Conor Finn 1 each.

UCD: Points: Tom Foley 13; Tries: Stephen Murphy, Greg Jones, Peadar Timmins, Jamie Glynn 1 each.

YOUNG MUNSTER (2nd) v CLONTARF (5th), Tom Clifford Park

A high error count in the backs let Clontarf down in their home defeat to St. Mary’s and the reigning champions can ill-afford another sloppy display against in-form Young Munster.

The forwards battle will be worth the admission price alone at Greenfields, as two of the division’s best scrums collide, and Robin Copeland (the scorer of a sublime solo try against Cork Con) and Tony Ryan lead two athletic back row units.

The sides’ corresponding clash in Limerick twelve months ago finished in a 27-all draw. ‘Tarf lost their grip on an eight-point interval lead as Munsters’ big pack grew increasingly influential.

UBL Form: Young Munster: LW; Clontarf: WL

UBL Top Scorers

Young Munster: Points: Paul Downes 15; Tries: Dan Walsh, Robin Copeland, Rob Guerin 2 each.

Clontarf: Points: Rob Keogh 22; Tries: Rob McGrath, Vakh Abdaladze, Tony Ryan, Royce Burke Flynn 1 each.


BALLYNAHINCH (5th) v SHANNON (9th), Ballymacarn Park

Second-from-bottom Shannon make the trip north after a heavy 24-point beating by Buccaneers. Munster ‘A’ back rower Lee Nicholas, who captains from the base of the scrum, will demand a big collective improvement.

Shannon will likely need that and more as Ballynahinch are eager to avoid defeat to Limerick opposition for the second week running. UL Bohemians had ‘Hinch’s number in a high-scoring affair.

Johnny McPhillips with Cody McClary Ireland U20 out-half McPhillips in pre-season action with Ulster A. Source: Presseye/Brian Little/INPHO

Poor passing led to the Co. Down outfit coughing up some soft tries to Bohs, but Ballymacarn Park provides a timely dose of home comfort and they should get straight back to winning ways.

UBL Form: Ballynahinch: WL; Shannon: LL

UBL Top Scorers

Ballynahinch: Points: Johnny McPhillips 15; Tries: Sam Windsor, Jordan Grattan 2 each.

Shannon: Points: Ronan McKenna 19; Tries: Ronan McKenna 1.

DOLPHIN (10th) v GALWEGIANS (4th), Irish Independent Park

If Galwegians continue where they left off against UCC, it is hard to see anything other than an away win here. Dolphin are bottom of the table and hoping that their early season injuries can quickly clear.

Tighthead Conor Carey, a try scorer in that 31-14 dismissal of UCC, has been catapulted into the Connacht team for his provincial debut, while the Academy’s Jack Dinneen and Cormac Brennan are also impressing in ‘Wegians blue.

Edward O'Keefe Edward O'Keefe steps out of trouble against Cork Con last season. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Dolphin’s youngsters are still finding their feet under new head coach David Corkery, but they showed some promising signs against Old Wesley, including an excellent late try from key forward Barry Fitzgerald.

UBL  Form: Dolphin: LL; Galwegians: LW

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UBL Top Scorers

Dolphin: Points: Cillian Monahan 8; Tries: Cameron O’Shaughnessy, Barry Fitzgerald 1 each.

Galwegians: Points: Mitch Lam 14; Tries: Ed O’Keeffe, Matthew Byrne, Cormac Brennan, Jack Dinneen, Conor Carey, Aidan Moynihan 1 each

NAAS (7th) v BUCCANEERS (6th), Forenaughts

A first ever league meeting for these clubs. Can Buccaneers build on their excellent 27-3 triumph over Shannon, or will Naas claim their second Connacht scalp in three weeks at Forenaughts?

Fionn Carr, who made a number of appearances for Buccs last season, is the main threat in a lively Naas back-line. He will get close attention from two of his former Connacht team-mates, Shane Layden and Mata Fifita.

Stevie Mullholand in action with Kolo Kiripati Kolo Kiripati Source: Presseye/Matt Mackey/INPHO

Watch out too for the battle between powerful Samoan number eights Kolo Kiripati, the Buccs captain, and Naas’ Paulie Tolofua, who was an Ulster Bank Division 2A Player of the Year award nominee in 2015/16.

UBL Form: Naas: WL; Buccaneers: LW

UBL Top Scorers

Naas: Points: Peter Osborne 11; Tries: Fionn Carr, Henry Bryce, Fionn Higgins 1 each.

Buccaneers: Points: Conor McKeon, Jordan Conroy 10 each; Tries: Jordan Conroy 2.

UCC (8th) v BALLYMENA (3rd), the Mardyke

Results have been hard to come by for promoted UCC, who had played well in spells without getting fully rewarded. Having gone 11-0 in front against Galwegians, they ended up losing by 17 points.

Ballymena were worthy winners of their two openers, but are not killing sides off. Against Naas, their back row trio of Connor Smyth, Stephen Mulholland and man-of-the-match Matthew Rea were especially influential.

Kevin O'Keefe with Jack Milligan Kevin O'Keefe evades a tackle in 2015. Source: Presseye/Mervyn McClelland/INPHO

Both back-lines will hope for drier conditions this week, with Ulster’s Mark Best looking to add to his two tries so far and Charlie O’Regan, the reigning Division 2A Player of the Year, looking to unleash UCC’s skilful outside backs.

UBL Form: UCC: LL; Ballymena: WW

UBL Top Scorers

UCC: Points: Kevin O’Keeffe 19; Tries: Conor Barry, Peter McCabe, Cillian Ansbro 1 each.

Ballymena: Points: Mark Best 25; Tries: Mark Best 2

UL BOHEMIANS (1st) v OLD WESLEY (2nd), University of Limerick 4G pitch

Few would have predicted that this would be an early season top of the table clash, but UL Bohemians and Old Wesley have shot out of the traps with back-to-back victories.

Bohs are playing some great stuff under their new management, with winger Jamie McNamara – the division’s joint-top try scorer with three in two games – in a really rich vein of form.

Old Wesley secure a lineout File photo. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Wesley, who had have three touchdowns from their own flying wing Paul Harte, were 33-5 winners when they last visited Bohs a year ago. A much tighter affair is expected tomorrow afternoon.

UBL Form: UL Bohemians: WW; Old Wesley: WW

UBL Top Scorers

UL Bohemians: Points: Rick McKenna 16; Tries: Jamie McNamara 3.

Old Wesley: Points: Barry McLaughlin 24; Tries: Paul Harte 3

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