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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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There's plenty of tasty domestic action this weekend before Ireland take on the All Blacks

League leaders Dublin University taking on Lansdowne is one of the many highlights in the UBL this weekend.

Division 1A:

Clontarf (7th) v Old Belvedere (4th)

Castle Avenue, tonight, 7.30pm

Karl Miller Karl Miller and his Old Belvedere teammates will be looking to get back to winning ways against Clontarf. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

THREE DEFEATS IN four matches have Clontarf down in seventh spot, although they are only five points off the summit. Despite being outlasted by Lansdowne last week, there was much to admire in ‘Tarf’s performance with centre Matt D’Arcy crossing for his second and third tries of the campaign.

The defending champions entertain Old Belvedere tonight, the sides’ first league clash since the north Dubliners won 27-21 at Anglesea Road in April when current Ireland squad member Joey Carbery kicked seven points.

Belvedere fell from first to fourth place last Saturday, a late penalty try earning them a losing bonus point against Cork Constitution. Returning centre Steve Crosbie could be an important figure for ‘Belvo as they face into four Dublin derbies before Christmas.

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Clontarf: WLLWL; Old Belvedere: WLWWL.

Ulster Bank League Top Scorers - Clontarf: Points: Rob Keogh 57; Tries: Matt D’Arcy 3; Old Belvedere: Points: Willie Staunton 51; Tries: Shane McDonald 3.

Cork Constitution (5th) v  Terenure College (10th)

Temple Hill, Saturday, 2.30pm

Tomas Quinlan kicks a penalty Cork Constitution’s Tomas Quinlan will be hoping to maintain his fine form. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Two clubs who seem to be going in opposite directions, Cork Constitution on the rise after a brace of momentum-building wins and bottom-placed Terenure losing two tight games back-to-back.

Tomas Quinlan’s left boot was hugely influential in Con’s dismissals of Lansdowne and Belvedere, registering 16 and 15 points respectively. The Munster Academy trio of Shane Daly, Liam O’Connor and Rory Burke have also impressed.

Two late reversals for ‘Nure against ‘Belvo and neighbours St. Mary’s were tough to take. James Blaney’s men are playing well enough to be further up the league’s ladder, with sniping scrum half Kevin O’Neill hitting good form.

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Cork Constitution: WLLWW; Terenure College: LLWLL.

Ulster Bank League Top Scorers - Cork Constitution: Points: Tomas Quinlan 49; Tries: Shane Daly 3; Terenure College: Points: Jake Swaine 36; Tries: Jake Swaine, James O’Neill 3 each.

Dublin University (1st) v Lansdowne (3rd)

College Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Michael Courtney scores a second try Michael Courtney and Dublin University will be aiming to cement their place at the top of the table this weekend. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Few would have thought Dublin University would be the Division 1A leaders almost a third of the way into the season. But Tony Smeeth’s young guns are deservedly top of the pile, a point clear of tomorrow’s visitors Lansdowne.

The students recovered brilliantly from an early 14-point deficit to hit Garryowen with 27 unanswered points last week, winger Colm Hogan running in his fourth league try and out-half Jack McDermott topping up his season’s haul to 56 points.

McDermott’s duel with Lansdowne number 10 Scott Deasy, who led well against Clontarf, should be an intriguing one, as will the scrap between two packs with strong set piece structures.

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Dublin University: WLWWW; Lansdowne: WWLLW.

Ulster Bank League Top Scorers - Dublin University: Points: Jack McDermott 56; Tries: Colm Hogan 4; Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 42; Tries: Joe McSwiney 3.

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

Templeville Road, Saturday, 2:30pm

There is an extra pep in St. Mary’s step this week after overcoming local rivals Terenure, their blistering back-three of David Fanagan, Terry Kennedy and man-of-the-match Jordan Larmour all contributing tries in a 17-13 victory.

Young Munster are four places and four points better off than Mary’s, so this is a key fixture for two ambitious clubs. The scrum battle should be ferocious, with respective captains Brian McGovern and Ger Slattery right at the heart of it.

Looking at the table, Munsters are the division’s top points scorers at present with Mary’s having one of the best defences, so this game really could go either way.

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Sr. Mary’s College: LWLWW; Young Munster: LWWLW.

Ulster Bank League Top Scorers - St. Mary’s College: Points: Sean Kearns 47; Tries: Sean Kearns, Brian McGovern, Paddy O’Driscoll, Ian O’Neill, Mark Fogarty, Kevin Sheahan, Cathal O’Flaherty, David Fanagan, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Larmour 1 each; Young Munster: Points: David O’Mahony 41; Tries: Dan Walsh, Robin Copeland, Rob Guerin, Jack Harrington, Alan Kennedy 2 each.

UCD (8th) v Garryowen (9th)

Belfield Bowl, Saturday, 2.30pm

A second successive clash with a student side for Garryowen who were well-beaten by Trinity in round 5. It will be interesting to see if Munster’s returning centre Sam Arnold starts for the Light Blues after his cameo off the bench a week ago.

18-year-old centre Tommy O’Brien made a very good impression on his league debut for UCD last week, scoring a try in their 37-31 loss at Young Munster which earned them two bonus points.

UCD have been playing well without getting results, and it has been a similar story for Conan Doyle’s Garryowen, who will be determined to banish memories of last January’s 45-19 hammering at Belfield.

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: UCD: LWLLL; Garryowen: LWWLL.

Ulster Bank League Top Scorers - UCD: Points: Tim Foley 17; Tries: Tom Fletcher 3; Garryowen: Points: Neil Cronin 37; Tries: Andrew O’Byrne 2.

____________________

Division 1B:

Ballymena (5th) v Old Wesley (3rd)

Eaton Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Ballymena’s challenge petered out against leaders UL Bohemians last week, so lying outside of the top four, they can ill-afford another defeat as the race for promotion hots up.

Visitors Old Wesley are two places and five points ahead of the Braidmen, their latest success seeing them overhaul Galwegians in an eight-try thriller. Ace goal-kicker Barry McLaughlin topped up his excellent 75-point season’s haul with a try.

But Ballymena have given away the least points so far in the second tier, and their mean defence may hold the key to deciding this round 6 fixture.

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Ballymena: WWLWL; Old Wesley: WWLWW.

Ulster Bank League Top Scorers - Ballymena: Points: Mark Best 32; Tries: Mark Best, Rodger McBurney 3 each; Old Wesley: Points: Barry McLaughlin 75; Tries: Ger Finucane 4.

Buccaneers (2nd) v UL Bohemians (1st)

Dubarry Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Conor McKeon Conor McKeon will be looking to inspire Buccaneers to victory as the top two meet. Source: Presseye/Mervyn McClelland/INPHO

A top of the table clash to savour with both Buccaneers and unbeaten UL Bohs brimming with talent and confidence. Buccs will be hoping five-try winger Jordan Conroy is back from illness, setting up a potential showdown out wide with Bohs’ own scoring star Jamie McNamara (five tries).

UL dispatched one of their main promotion rivals in beating Ballymena 25-15. They hold a five-point lead at the summit and a sixth straight win could put a significant distance between them and the chasing pack.

A high-scoring and entertaining contest is in the offing in Athlone, as the high-flying Red Robins have already scored 23 tries in their five league matches with Buccs (19 tries) not far behind.

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Buccaneers: LWWWW; UL Bohemians: WWWWW.

Ulster Bank League Top Scorers - Buccaneers: Points: Conor McKeon 41; Tries: Jordan Conroy 5; UL Bohemians: Points: Rick McKenna 52; Tries: Jamie McNamara 5

Galwegians (8th) v Ballynahinch (6th)

Crowley Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Three of Ballynahinch’s starters from last week – Sam Windsor, Conor Joyce and Jacob Stockdale – are in the Ulster matchday squad for tonight’s Edinburgh game, along with versatile back Aaron Cairns.

Hosts Galwegians will have the more settled team. Bottling up the frustration of their 35-25 defeat at Old Wesley, Brian McClearn’s men should be primed for a big performance in Glenina.

These two clubs were relegated from the top flight last season and with both in the bottom half of the table currently, the result here could have a galvanising effect on the victors.

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Galwegians: LWLLL; Ballynahinch: WLWLL.

Ulster Bank League Top Scorers - Galwegians: Points: Mitch Lam 22; Tries: Aidan Moynihan, Ed O’Keeffe, Rory Parata 2 each; Ballynahinch: Points: Johnny McPhillips 19; Tries: Jordan Grattan, Sam Windsor 3 each.

Naas (4th) v UCC (7th)

Forenaughts, Saturday, 2.30pm

Paulie Tolofua runs in for a try Paulie Tolofua crossed the line for Naas last weekend against Ballynahinch. Source: Presseye/Freddie Parkinson/INPHO

Naas are really warming to their task in Division 1B, lowering the colours of both Shannon and Ballynahinch in the past fortnight with eight tries to boot – two of them from right winger Rob O’Connor.

Before the start of the season, the fourth-placed Kildare men would have targeted this game as a ‘must win’. They came up with UCC from 2A last term having done the double on the students (34-27 at home and 20-15 at the Mardyke).

However, the Cork side have triumphed over Ballymena and Shannon in recent weeks with goal-kicker Kevin O’Keeffe (50 points) nailing some vital kicks. Captain Kevin Slater and Charlie O’Regan marshal their potent back-line.

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Naas: WLLWW; UCC: LLWLW.

Ulster Bank League Top Scorers - Naas: Points: Peter Osborne 37; Tries: Fionn Carr 3; UCC: Points: Kevin O’Keeffe 50; Tries: Conor Barry 3.

Shannon (10th) v Dolphin (9th)

Thomond Park back pitch, Saturday, 2.30pm

Shannon and Dolphin finished sixth and seventh respectively last season and occupy the bottom two positions at present, with both sides scrapping desperately for a victory.

The presence of defence/lineout coach Tom Hayes on the pitch helped Shannon stay in the hunt against UCC until they leaked a late try. Their young out-half Conor Fitzgerald had a very good day with the boot, landing some tough kicks, but injuries are hampering their selection.

Dolphin, 31-22 losers at Buccaneers in the last round, need to tighten up their defence for this Munster derby, although their cohesive attacking play is delivering tries with six in their last three outings (including two touchdowns from skipper Ryan Murphy).

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Shannon: LLLLL; Dolphin: LLWLL.

Ulster Bank League Top Scorers - Shannon: Points: Ronan McKenna 26; Tries: Ronan McKenna, Riley Winter, Shane Mullally, Lee Nicholas 1 each; Dolphin: Points: Barry Keeshan 37; Tries: Ryan Murphy 2.

____________________

Division 2A:

Blackrock College RFC v Highfield 
Stradbrook, Saturday, 2.00pm

Belfast Harlequins v Cashel RFC
Deramore Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Nenagh Ormond v Banbridge
New Ormond Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Galway Corinthians v Malone
Corinthian Park, Saturday, 5.00pm

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Division 2B:

Greystones MU Barnhall 
Dr Hickey Park Friday, 7.30pm

Armagh v Old Crescent
Palace Grounds, Saturday, 2.30pm

Bective Rangers v City of Derry
Donnybrook, Saturday, 2.30pm

Thomond v Skerries
Liam Fitzgerald Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Wanderers v Dungannon
Aviva Stadium, Saturday, 2.30pm

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Division 2C:

Boyne v Sligo
Shamrock Lodge, Saturday, 2.30pm

Bruff v Tullamore
Kilballyowen Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Kanturk v Bangor
Knocknacolon, Saturday, 2.30pm

Midleton v Seapoint
Towns Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

Rainey v Navan RFC
Hatrick Park, Saturday, 2.30pm

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