Con set for belter of a Munster derby with Garryowen
Ulster Bank League
(Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated) CLONTARF (5th) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (8th), Castle Avenue Form: Clontarf: LWLWWWLW; Dublin University: LLLWWLWL You could forgive Dublin University for approaching this game with caution given they were hammered 62-0 over the course of last season’s two meetings. However, Clontarf are yet to peak this term and were fortunate to come away with the spoils from Young Munster last week, with lastminute penalty hero Conor Kelly, who is just 18, coming up trumps. GARRYOWEN (2nd) v CORK CONSTITUTION (3rd), Dooradoyle Form: Garryowen: LWWLWLWW; Cork Constitution: WLWLLWWW
This should be a belter of a Munster derby with second-placed Garryowen and defending champions Cork Constitution both coming into form.
Liam Coombes, Neil Cronin and David Johnston were three key cogs in the Light Blues’ bonus point win at Trinity last week, with Lisheen youngster Coombes scoring a hat-trick of tries. Cork Con are grinding out wins — Quinlan’s boot rescued them in round 8 — and they could gain crucial ground in these backto-back clashes, as Garryowen are among their main rivals for a home semi-final berth.
ST. MARY’S COLLEGE (9th) v BUCCANEERS (10th), Templeville Road
Form: St. Mary’s College: WLLWLLLL; Buccaneers: LLLLLLLW
There was huge pride in the St Mary’s performance at the home of the champions last Saturday, which would have been a winning one with a bit more luck for Ciaran Ruddock and his team-mates. Mary’s return home with young out-half Conor Dean really growing in stature. Buccaneers too have renewed confidence after breaking their duck at home to UCD, aided by the efforts of influential locks Peter Claffey and Cian Romaine. TERENURE COLLEGE (4th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (7th), Lakelands Park
Form: Terenure College: WWWWLWLL; Young Munster: LLWLWWLL
No wins for either side in the last two rounds, but Terenure did run leaders Lansdowne close in a Friday Night Lights battle and a Ger Slattery-inspired Young Munster were a whisker away from beating Clontarf.
The pressure is very much on Munsters given they have fallen to seventh overall and are eight points adrift of fourth-placed Terenure, for whom number 8 Eoin Joyce has chipped in with four tries to date.
UCD (6th) v LANSDOWNE (1st), Belfield Bowl
Form: UCD: WWLLLLWL; Lanstomas WWWWWWWW Lansdowne had a slice of luck against Terenure with a controversial try awarded in their favour, but they continue to find a way to win even when losing two props to the sin-bin.
UCD emerged scoreless from a late onslaught on the Buccaneers’ line last Saturday, and they have fallen off the play-off pace despite the best efforts of skipper Jamie Glynn, Emmet Macmahon and Ciaran Frawley, who has started at out-half and full-back in recent rounds.
Division 1B BALLYMENA (9th) v OLD BELVEDERE (3rd), Eaton Park Form: Ballymena: WLLLWLLL; Old Belvedere: LLWDWWLW
Old Belvedere put in their best performance of the season so far in seeing off Naas’ challenge 28-10. Last week’s four tries were shared out by a back-line marshalled by streetwise full-back Daniel Riordan.
Ballymena have lost all four of their home games and have been guilty of playing rugby in the wrong areas of the pitch. Marcus Rea and Bryan Young picked up injuries against Shannon, while Callum Patterson, Glenn Baillie and Mark Foster face late fitness tests. BALLYNAHINCH (2nd) v SHANNON (1st), Ballymacarn Park Form: Ballynahinch: LWWWLWWW; Shannon: WWWWWWLW
This top of the table clash has all the ingredients to be a classic condowne: