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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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Here are your division 1A and 1B Ulster Bank League previews

There are some tasty ties in the top two divisions of the Irish domestic game.

All games kick-off at 2.30pm today, unless stated.

DIVISION 1A

BALLYNAHINCH (7th) v OLD BELVEDERE (3rd)

Ballymacarn Park

Ballynahinch face Dublin opposition for the second week running and will be determined to bounce back from their 32-20 loss at Terenure.

Danny Riordan Danny Riordan remains a key man for Belvo. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Derek Suffern’s side let a 20-14 lead slip against ‘Nure and will need no reminding that they lost six times at Ballymacarn Park in last season’s league.

Old Belvedere opened the new campaign with a 24-8 dismissal of Cork Constitution and will fancy their chances of making it two wins out of two, especially with Daniel Riordan still having a crucial influence from full-back.

CORK CONSTITUTION (8th) v LANSDOWNE (1st)

Temple Hill

Out-half Scott Deasy could return to haunt his former club Cork Constitution as Lansdowne look to make it two victories on the bounce.

Deasy kicked 15 points in Lansdowne’s bonus point win at home to Dolphin, and it is hard to oppose Mike Ruddock’s table-topping team here given their early season showings.

Con did the double on Lansdowne last year, so will not be lacking in confidence. Their assistant coach David Corkery has promised they will ‘fight every inch of the way’ to reach the play-offs.

DOLPHIN (10th) v CLONTARF (2nd)

Musgrave Park

It is a tough start to the league for Steve Ford’s Dolphin. Seven days on from a 31-point defeat to Lansdowne, they host reigning Division 1A champions Clontarf.

Ian Hirst 'Tarf's Ian Hirst carries against Young Munster last weekend. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The Cork club, whose record points scorer Barry Keeshan is now also assistant coach, blooded eight debutants last week – two of them in the front row (powerful props Peter McCabe and James ‘Rocky’ Rochford).

Winning on the road became a welcome habit for Andy Wood’s ‘Tarf side last year and barring a big improvement from Dolphin, the north Dubliners should come away from Musgrave Park with the points.

YOUNG MUNSTER (9th) v UCD (5th)

Tom Clifford Park

UCD director of rugby Bobby Byrne will find out a good deal more about his current crop of players when they make the trip south to Greenfields.

The students came good at home to St. Mary’s thanks to a late penalty try, and now face a Young Munster side hurting from a 37-19 reversal at Clontarf.

This looks an intriguing clash and particularly the midfield battle where Young Munster pair Shane O’Leary and Dan Goggin will try to outdo UCD’s Stephen Murphy and Jordan Coghlan.

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (6th) v TERENURE COLLEGE (4th)

Templeville Road, 2.45pm

This game will be streamed live on www.IrishRugby.ie.

Both clubs have waited a long time for this one – since April 2009, to be exact – so expect some big collisions in ‘the Battle of Dublin 6W’ between St. Mary’s College and Terenure College.

A huge turnout is anticipated at Templeville Road with league points, local bragging rights and the Mick Smyth Cup all on the line (Smyth is a Terenure College RFC man fondly remembered by both clubs).

Gavin Dunne Gavin Dunne's boot is as reliable as ever. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

It would be a huge statement of intent if Division 1B champions Terenure could record back-to-back wins on their return to the top flight. But Mary’s will be all out to ensure that does not happen, and their reliable goal-kicker Gavin Dunne could be the man to decide the outcome.

DIVISION 1B

BELFAST HARLEQUINS (6th) v BALLYMENA (2nd)

Deramore Park

A last-gasp try saw Belfast Harlequins pipped by UL Bohemians last Saturday, so Adam Larkin’s men will want to avoid such a scenario in their first home game.

Positives for ‘Quins included a strong scrummaging display and centre Eamon Lane’s 11-point return with the boot, but they leaked three tries in Limerick.

The performances of Mike McComish (three assists) and David Shanahan (two tries) in Ballymena’s 20-0 defeat of Corinthians suggest the Braidmen mean business. This Ulster derby is an ideal test of their league credentials.

BUCCANEERS (8th) v GARRYOWEN (3rd)

Dubarry Park

Garryowen outgunned arch rivals Shannon in the opening round and should triumph here in Athlone, especially if their big back row of Shane Buckley, Barry O’Mahony and New Zealander Josh Hrstich can fire again.

Head coach Conan Doyle will also be keen to get one over on his former centre partner Alan Gaughan, who has returned to Buccaneers after three seasons with the Light Blues.

Shane Buckley and Steve Crosbie Garryowen's Shane Buckley (tackling) is a key figure. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Buccs blew hot and cold in their defeat away to Malone and have lost injured captain Alex Hayman (shoulder) for a number of weeks. Winger Rory O’Connor ran in their lone try and the Pirates will need more of their young guns to step up if they are to claim Garryowen’s scalp.

CORINTHIANS (10th) v MALONE (4th)

Corinthian Park

Corinthians could not capitalise on a good start against Ballymena and failed to score a single point in Pat Cunningham’s first league game in charge.

Captain James Buckley will want to get a lot more out of the back-line this weekend, especially in the familiar surroundings of Corinthian Park.

Malone – 34-point winners over Corinthians last April – are in buoyant mood after beating Buccaneers with returning full-back Andy Bryans bagging a brace of tries.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (7th) v UL BOHEMIANS (5th)

Sydney Parade

Dublin University fielded ten debutants last weekend and fared quite well against hosts Galwegians, scoring three tries and narrowly missing out on a losing bonus point.

Playing at Sydney Parade before their upcoming opening of the new College Park pitch, Trinity have the notable addition of USA international Tim Maupin on the right wing.

Mossie Lawlor skips past Foster Horan Mossy Lawlor (left) is playing on this season. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

If Tony Smeeth’s youngsters can cut down the errors they stand a chance of overcoming UL Bohemians, whose ageless full-back Mossy Lawler is giving it ‘one more year’.

SHANNON (9th) v GALWEGIANS (1st)

Thomond Park back pitch

Contrasting fortunes for these sides last week as Galwegians shot to the top of the table after defeating Trinity, while Shannon were well-beaten by Garryowen in their ‘Friday Night Lights’ derby.

The ‘Wegians backs displayed their finishing skills with four tries against the students (reigning Division 2A Player of the Year Jerome Harimate scored the second of them).

Ian Sherwin will not be panicking despite the disappointing 21-3 loss to Garryowen, as a dose of home comfort should inspire Shannon to a much improved display. Expect ‘Wegians to take the spoils though.

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