game OF THE WEEKEND
Young Munster v Garryowen, (Clifford Park, tomorrow, 2.30)
AFTER a couple of seasons spent at the wrong end of the table, Garryowen are back competing for honours following a strong start to the campaign.
The three-time champions haven't finished in the top half of the table since 2009, but Paul Neville and Tom Tierney have guided them to four wins out of their first five games and last week's derby victory over struggling Shannon at Dooradoyle will have given them a huge boost going into their second all-Limerick clash in a row tomorrow.
Facing Young Munster at Tom Clifford Park represents a significant step up for the sky blues who currently sit in second place, a point behind leaders Lansdowne.
The Cookies are just three points behind their neighbours and Mike Prendergast's side will be hoping to leapfrog them with a win this evening.
They too got a derby win last weekend as they overcame UL Bohemian at Thomond Park last Friday night. Having been edged out by Cork Constitution and Clontarf in the previous outings, that was crucial for Young Munster's title hopes.
They must do so without Munster prop Alan Cotter who has joined Bath on loan, his second short-term stint in the Premiership this season after a spell at London Irish.
Much will depend on the goal-kickers, with the hosts' Brian Haugh in fine form and Jamie Gavin having delivered victory from the tee last weekend.
The odds will shorten on Garryowen's title tilt if they can win this one, but a losing bonus point would not be the worst result.
Verdict: Home win
Brian Tuohy (Shannon)
Having retired from Connacht at the end of last season, Tuohy has been pitched into one of the toughest coaching jobs around after he was drafted in to rescue Shannon's season along with former U-21 coach James Hickey.
A centre and winger who played for the club and made one appearance for Munster before playing for Cornish Pirates and Connacht, he has stepped into the breach as Shannon fight to stay in the division.
Ireland's most successful club are without a win in five games and have picked up just one bonus point, in the new ticket's first game against Garryowen. After conceding 172 points, it is clear that defence will need to be the focus for the new duo in the weeks to come and they will be looking for a win over St Mary's tomorrow to get back on track.
streams set to flow
Live television doesn't come in to play in club rugby until the run-in, but clubs are starting to put technology to good use by streaming their games on their websites. The IRFU have already shown some games on their homepage, meaning that club fans living away can catch their games online. League leaders Lansdowne's game with UL Bohemian today can be watched at http://www.ihigh.com/lansdownefc.
Ulster Bank League Fixtures
(2.30 unless stated)
Division 1A: Dolphin v Clontarf, Musgrave Park; Lansdowne v UL Bohemian, Aviva Stadium; Old Belvedere v Cork Constitution, Anglesea Road;
Division 1B: Ballymena v Ballynahinch, Eaton Park; Bruff v Belfast Harlequins, Kilballyowen Park; Dublin University v UCD, College Park; Dungannon v Blackrock, Stevenson Park; Malone v Buccaneers, Gibson Park;
Division 2A: Banbridge v Cashel, Rifle Park; Bective Rangers v Seapoint, Donnybrook, 5.0; Corinthians v Midleton, Corinthian Park; Galwegians v DLSP, Crowley Park; Greystones v UCC, Dr Hickey Park; Highfield v Queens University, Woodleigh Park; Old Crescent v Old Wesley, Rosbrien, 2.0; Terenure v City of Derry, Lakelands;
Division 2B: Boyne v Naas, Drogheda; Connemara v Rainey OB, Monastary Field; Instonians v Nenagh Ormond, Shaws Bridge; Navan v Thomond, Balreask; NUIM Barnhall v Clonakilty, Parsonstown; Skerries v City of Armagh, Holmpatrick; Sligo v Ards, Sligo; Suttonians v Sunday's Well, Station Road.
Division 1A: Shannon v St Mary's College, Thomond Park; Young Munster v Garryowen, Clifford Park.