Friday 23 March 2018

AIL club scene

Old Belvedere v Dolphin, Anglesea Road, 2.30

When Old Belvedere were beaten by Clontarf two weeks ago, their title hopes look dead and buried. However, 'Tarf surprisingly slipped up against an understrength UCD side last weekend, and lost again to Lansdowne last night.

Those defeats mean that Clontarf's lead at the top of the table is cut to just two points – and Belvo have two games left to the north Dubliners' one.

Paul Cunningham's side will no doubt be buoyed by 'Tarf's losses but they must see off Dolphin this afternoon in their final home league game of the season.

Belvo will be hoping to welcome back their talismanic captain Danny Riordan.

The full-back, who has been outstanding all season, was sorely missed against Clontarf but Cunningham will be keeping his fingers crossed that Riordan (pictured) is fit enough to return for his side's crucial final two games.

Dolphin aren't guaranteed their place in Division 1A next season and they will be seeking a win that would do just that.

The Cork side have been hit and miss all season, despite having several Munster youngsters in their ranks. Belvo need to make home advantage count before they travel to Limerick next weekend to take on Garryowen.

For a side that started the campaign as 100/1 outsiders, Belvo have done remarkably well this season. They may well rue to loss to Clontarf but a bonus point win this afternoon could well swing the title race back in their favour.

Verdict: Old Belvedere

Penultimate weekend

of Division 1A action

As 2014's top-flight season draws to a close, there is still plenty to play for at both ends of the table. It's a straight fight between Clontarf and Old Belvedere for the league title. If Clontarf were to win it, it would be the first title in their history – but last night's defeat could prove costly.

Garryowen and Ballynahinch are rooted at the other end of the table. Garryowen look destined for the drop while Ballynahinch, as it stands, are set for a relegation play-off. Huge credit must go to the northern side who have put together.

Another Limerick

club set for the drop

Barring a minor miracle, Garryowen will play their rugby in Division 1B next year and will follow fellow Limerick clubs, Shannon and UL Bohemian (who were both relegated last season) into the country's second tier.

It's been a poor couple of seasons for Limerick clubs in the upper divisions of the AIL. Next year, it looks almost certain that Young Munster will be the only Shannonside club playing in Division 1A.


(2.30 unless stated)

Division 1A

Ballynahinch v UCD, Ballymacarn Park; Old Belvedere v Dolphin, Anglesea Road; St Mary's v Garryowen, Templeville Road; Young Munster v Cork Constitution, Tom Clifford Park.

Division 1B

Shannon v Malone, Thomond Park, 1.0; Blackrock College v Dublin University; Buccaneers v UL Bohemian, Dubarry Park; Corinthians v Belfast Harlequins, Corinthian Park; Dungannon v Terenure College, Deramore Park.

Division 2A

Ballymena v NUIM Barnhall, Eaton Park; Banbridge v Naas, Rifle Park; Cashel v Bruff, Spafield; Galwegians v Rainey OB, Crowley Park; Highfield v Bective Rangers, Woodleigh Park; Queens v Old Crescent, Dub Lane; Seapoint v Old Wesley, Kilbogget Park; UCC v City of Derry, The Mardyke.

Division 2B

Ards v Nenagh Ormond, Hamilton Park; DLS Palmerston v Thomond, Kirwan Park; Midleton v Armagh, Towns Park; Richmond v Navan, Richmond Park; Sligo v Skerries, Hamilton Park; Sundays Well v Greystones, Musgrave Park; Suttonians v Instonians, JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds; Tullamore v Boyne, Spollanstown.


Irish Independent

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