MATCH OF THE DAY
Shannon v Clontarf, Thomond Park, 2.30
THE bookies still have Clontarf as joint-favourites for the league title, but the Dubliners could do with winning at Thomond Park if they are to keep pace with their rivals.
Andy Wood's men are in second place, ahead of Lansdowne on points difference, and behind leaders St Mary's by three. With the Blues facing winless Old Belvedere, the northdsiders will be wary of losing any ground on one of club rugby's most imposing away trips.
Stephen Keogh's charges have only lost once at home this season and, having put off their round-nine derby with Garryowen after the untimely passing of Colm Tucker, they will be keener than ever to do battle with the Dubliners.
The two have had some serious tussles over the years, the most notable coming at this very venue when Shannon took the title in 2009 on a technicality after a titanic final.
The Limerick men will be hurt by the departure of their experienced, decorated winger David O'Donovan, who has left for Australia.
Having lost 29-8 on their visit to Castle Avenue in November, the hosts will be out for revenge, but they must stop Clontarf's powerful back-row if they are to do so. Simon Crawford, Barry O'Mahony and Frank Cogan have been dominant all season and between them provided three of the four tries that day.
Their dominance gives an exciting backline plenty of go-forward ball and that will be crucial today. This can be the day where 'Tarf lay down a marker.
Verdict: Away win.
With his coaching partner Gavin Duffy away on Ireland Wolfhounds duty in England, former Connacht and Leeds Carnegie back-row Rigney will be going it alone at Crowley Park today.
The Westerners have a serious eight-pointer against Bruff , with the Limerick side two points behind them in the relegation zone. A win would create breathing space.
Portlaoise native Rigney played more than 100 times for Connacht before his retirement in 2009. He won the Powergen Cup for Leeds in 2005 before returning to the Sportsground, and his experience will be needed by his charges this afternoon.
BOYNE WITHDRAW CITING
THE IRFU yesterday confirmed that Boyne RFC had dropped their citing case against a Highfield player arising from their Division 2B clash on December 10.
Boyne flanker Eoin Collins lost the sight in his right eye after an incident in a maul during the match and the club cited a Highfield player in the aftermath.
But following video evidence, provided by the Cork club, Boyne came to the conclusion that the player did not contribute in any way to the injury and apologised for any "distress and inconvenience" caused to him.
Ulster Bank all-ireland League fixtures
(2.30 unless stated)
Cork Constitution v Lansdowne, Temple Hill; Garryowen v Dolphin, Dooradoyle; Old Belvedere v St. Mary's College, Anglesea Road, 2.30; Shannon v Clontarf, Thomond Park; Young Munster v Blackrock College, Clifford Park;
Belfast Harlequins v Ballynahinch, Deramore Park; Buccaneers v Ballymena, Dubarry Park, 7.30; Dungannon v U.L. Bohemian, Stevenson Park; Galwegians v Bruff, Crowley Park; UCC v UCD, Mardyke, 3.0;
Bective Rangers v Old Crescent, Donnybrook; Clonakilty v City of Derry, The Vale; DLSP v Malone, Kirwan Park; Greystones v Midleton, Dr Hickey Park; Instonians v Seapoint, Shaws Bridge; Queen's University v Old Wesley, Dub Lane; Terenure College v Corinthians, Lakelands; Thomond v Dublin University, Fitzgerald Park;
Ards v Sligo, Hamilton Park; City of Armagh v Cashel, Armagh; Highfield v Navan, Woodleigh Park; Naas v Boyne, Fournaughts; Nenagh Ormond v Banbridge, New Ormond Park; Rainey Old Boys v Connemara, Hatrick Park; Sunday's Well v Suttonians, Musgrave Park; Wanderers v NUIM Barnhall, Aviva Stadium.