Sport Rugby

Thursday 23 February 2017

Famous faces on a sideline near you

MATCH OF THE DAY: Cork Con v Clontarf, Temple Hill, 2.30WITH so many Corkmen in the Clontarf line-up this season, this game will feel like a home away from home for them this afternoon.



Former Con captains Frank Cogan and Evan Ryan are joined by Richie Lane and ex-Dolphin men Sam Cronin and Barry O'Mahony in the 'Tarf squad and they have added a combination of steel and flair that has put the north Dubliners in control of Division 1A this season.

Four from four, Andy Wood's men will undergo a proper grilling this afternoon against a Con side that has seen plenty of changes since reaching last year's final.

Brian Walsh is a man of standards, however, and although they have lost two of their four matches so far, Con aren't far away. A win today would put them just two points off the top boys.

Both of Con's defeats -- to Munster rivals Shannon and Garryowen -- have come at home in what was once one of the most intimidating venues in the country.

Peter O'Mahony has graduated to Munster's first team, but there is plenty of promise in a squad that includes Simon Zebo, Brian Hayes and Tom Gleeson.

However 'Tarf are a seriously experienced team with the Corkmen mixing with Leinster squad members Aaron Dundon and Noel Reid, and they can state their intent by keeping their run going today.

Verdict: Clontarf

COACHES CORNER

Eric miller (blackrock)

A TEAK-tough openside with a playing CV to envy, Miller is building his coaching career up from the bottom and if he keeps Blackrock up this season it will be an achievement to be proud of.

Having coached Old Wesley and St Gerard's school last year, the 1997 Lion is in charge of a club whose competitive edge has been blunted by off-field turmoil as it struggles financially -- Blackrock have a major player shortage, having pulled their second and third teams out of the Leinster leagues.

'Rock got their first win of the season last week with an unlikely away success at champions Old Belvedere and they need another Dublin derby victory over St Mary's to get out of the drop-zone. Another win would be a serious notch on Miller's resume.

MUST TRY HARDER

Shannon may be in third, but Stephen Keogh's men haven't been the most exciting to watch, having scored just one try -- Luke O'Dea's against Cork Constitution -- in their four games this season.

Ulster Bank all-ireland League fixtures

(2.30 unless stated)

Division 1A

Blackrock v St Mary's, Stradbrook; Cork Constitution v Clontarf, Temple Hill; Lansdowne v Dolphin, Aviva Stadium, 2.0; Shannon v Old Belvedere, Thomond Park.

Division 1B:

Ballymena v UCD, Eaton Park; Buccaneers v Ballynahinch, Dubarry Park; Galwegians v Dungannon, Crowley Park; UCC v Belfast Harlequins, Mardyke.

Division 2A

DLSP v Bective Rangers, Kirwan Park; Dublin University v Old Crescent, College Park; Instonians v Clonakilty, Shaws Bridge; Malone v Corinthians, Gibson Park; Old Wesley v City of Derry, Donnybrook; Queen's University v Terenure, Dub Lane; Seapoint v Midleton, Kilbaggott Park; Thomond v Greystones, Fitzgerald Park.

Division 2B

Banbridge v Naas, Rifle Park; Cashel v Boyne, Cashel; Connemara v City of Armagh, Monastery Field; NUIM Barnhall v Nenagh Ormond, Parsonstown; Sligo v Highfield, Sligo; Sunday's Well v Ards, Musgrave Park; Suttonians v Navan, Station Road; Wanderers v Rainey Old Boys, Merrion Road, 4.0.

Irish Independent

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