Sport Rugby

Thursday 23 March 2017

Famous faces on a sideline near you Mike Prendergast (young munster)

MATCH OF THE DAY Clontarf v Shannon, Castle Avenue, 2.30



CLONTARF's mission is a return to winning ways after stewing on their first defeat of the season against Cork Constitution three weeks ago.

That loss allowed Young Munster go top of the table and the visit of third-placed Shannon to north Dublin today will provide a further examination of Clontarf's credentials.

With the Cookies in action against Lansdowne at home, it should be about keeping pace with the leaders for the duo, who both have realistic title ambitions.

Stephen Keogh's charges were held to a draw at home to Old Belvedere on their last appearance, but few teams travel to Dublin with as little fear as Shannon, and with the experience of Keogh, Mossie Lawlor, David O'Donovan and David Quinlan in their side, they will be confident. Both sides are without influential players who are involved in Pro12 action with the provinces.

Luke O'Dea and Paddy Butler start for Munster, while Aaron Dundon and Noel Reid are on Leinster's bench in Treviso.

Andy Wood's pack is well able to mix it with the best and is full of hard-nosed experience. If they can get on top of the Limerickmen, then the Castle Avenue home crowd will be looking for fireworks out wide.

These two teams provided one of the most memorable AIL finals in recent years and this one could be a cracker.

Verdict: Home win

COACHES CORNER

YOUNG MUNSTER sit on top of the Division 1A table, and that's due in no small part to their coach, who sometimes pulls on his kicking boots and helps out on the other side of the white line.

The 34-year-old former Munster and Gloucester scrum-half's drop-goal kept the Cookies up in the last minute two years ago, and since he became coach the Limerick native has turned the club's fortunes around.

They reached the semi-finals last year and their mixture of knarled forwards, solid half-backs and strong-running outside backs fits the bill for a club who have always been one of the most imposing in the league.

BUCCS DOCKED POINTS

AFTER five wins from their opening five games, Buccaneers have been dealt a blow with the news that they have been docked two points after it was found they fielded an ineligible player, Jamie Robinson, during their opening game of the season.

Ulster Bank all-ireland League fixtures

(2.30 unless stated)

Division 1A

Blackrock v Cork Constitution, Stradbrook; Clontarf v Shannon, Castle Avenue; Dolphin v Garryowen, Musgrave Park; Young Munster v Lansdowne, Tom Clifford Park.

Division 1B

Ballynahinch v Bruff, Ballymacarn Park; Belfast Harlequins v Buccaneers, Deramore Park; Dungannon v UCC, Stevenson Park; UCD v Galwegians, Belfield; UL Bohemian v Ballymena, Annacotty.

Division 2A

City of Derry v Seapoint, Judges Road; Corinthians v QUB, Corinthian Park; Greystones v Instonians, Dr Hickey Park; Midleton v Dublin University, Towns Park; Old Crescent v Malone, Rosbrien; Old Wesley v Clonakilty, Donnybrook; Terenure v DLSP, Lakelands.

Division 2B

Ards v Wanderers, Hamilton Park; Boyne v Banbridge, Drogheda; Highfield v Connemara, Woodleigh Park; Naas v Sligo, Fournaughts; Navan v Cashel, Balreask; Nenagh Ormond v Sunday's Well, New Ormond Park; NUIM Barnhall v City of Armagh, Maynooth; Rainey Old Boys v Suttonians, Hatrick Park.

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