Friday 9 December 2016

Famous faces on a touchline near you JAMES BLANEY (TERENURE COLLEGE)

Published 18/02/2012 | 05:00

MATCH OF THE DAY

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Clontarf v Cork Constitution, Castle Ave, 2.30

BACK on top, Clontarf's title credentials will undergo rigorous scrutiny in north Dublin this afternoon as Cork Constitution look to get themselves back in the race.

Trailing the leaders by eight points, Brian Walsh will know that his men cannot afford any slip-ups from here on in but with the top two both among their remaining six matches they have the capacity to bridge that gap.

They are well aware of how good today's opponents are, having lost three of their key players to the capital in recent times. Both Evan Ryan (right) and Frank Cogan skippered the Cork club, while Richie Lane contributed handsomely to their points total during his long, successful stint with the club.

Clontarf have bounced back from their post-Christmas defeat to Dolphin by winning four on the trot to go top and their blend of pure power up front and nous behind is a potent one. It was Con who came out on top when the sides met at Temple Hill in November and both sides will be helped with the provinces naming strong sides for their Pro12 games this weekend.

Colm O'Shea should return to Clontarf with a spring in his step after making his Leinster debut last week.

It is finely balanced, with both sides aware of the importance of a win. Clontarf can keep their roll going and kill off the challenge of a dangerous rival, while Con are playing cup rugby now to stay in it.

Verdict: Home win.

COACHES CORNER

Famous faces on a touchline near you JAMES BLANEY (TERENURE COLLEGE)

A member of a family steeped in Terenure heritage, the former hooker played for both Leinster and Munster from 1996 to 2005. Now coaching the old club, the brother of David and Brian is learning his trade in a solid, if unspectacular, season at the helm of the Division 2A club. The southsiders have won half of their games and need to improve their away form to push on.

Promotion appears beyond them, but a derby win over Bective today could do much to boost morale.

NO CASHEL BLUES

The Division 2B fairytale keeps on rolling in Tipperary, where Cashel remain unbeaten after 10 matches and on course for promotion. Newcomers to senior rugby, they have taken to it like ducks to water and the question that remains is whether they can complete a perfect season.

Ulster Bank All-Ireland League fixtures

(2.30 unless stated)

Division 1A

Blackrock v Lansdowne, Stradbrook; Clontarf v Cork Constitution, Castle Avenue; Dolphin v Old Belvedere, Musgrave Park; St. Mary's v Shannon, Templeville Road; Young Munster v Garryowen, Clifford Park.

Division 1B

Ballynahinch v Buccaneers, Ballymacarn Park; Belfast Harlequins v UCC, Deramore Park; UCD v Ballymena, Belfield; (Dungannon v Galwegians postponed)

Division 2A

Bective Rangers v Terenure, Donnybrook; Clonakilty v Old Crescent, The Vale; DLSP v Seapoint, Kirwan Park; Greystones v Corinthians, Dr Hickey Park; Instonians v Midleton, Shaws Bridge; Malone v Old Wesley, Gibson Park; Queensv Trinity, Dub Lane; Thomond v City of Derry, Fitzgerald Park.

Division 2B

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

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