Club Scene - All Ireland League Uncovered
GAME OF THE WEEKEND Old Belvedere v Garryowen, Anglesea Road, 2.30 Old Belvedere have lost just one of their seven league games this season and that defeat came in their second outing against UCD.
They play host to a Garryowen side that are still searching for their first win of the season. Current Belvo head coach and former Garryowen manager, Paul Cunningham, has his team playing an exciting brand of rugby which has seen them climb to second in the table and just one point behind leaders Clontarf.
The home side will be without several of their usual starting XV due to commitments in the British and Irish Cup with Leinster. Jack Conan, who has been one of the most impressive players in the league this season, is unavailable. So, if there was ever a good time for Garryowen to be playing an in-form Belvo side, it is now.
Garryowen are already seven points adrift at the bottom of the table and if they don't manage to notch up a win heading into the Christmas break, then it would be very difficult to see them surviving relegation.
League leaders Clontarf face a potential banana skin in a trip up north against Ballynahinch. Old Belvedere will be mindful of that and will know that if Clontarf do slip up, a win against Garryowen would put them in pole position.
Prediction: Old Belvedere
CHRISTMAS BREAK AND WEAKENED SQUADS
This weekend is the final round of Division 1A fixtures before the league takes a Christmas break.
As usual there is plenty to play for at both ends of the table as Clontarf look to consolidate their place at the top, and bottom side Garryowen seek their first win of the season.
Plenty of teams will be without key players as the third round of the British and Irish Cup takes place. With depleted squads throughout this weekend's games, it will be a real test of the strength in depth of the various squads.
'NURE RECORD ON THE LINE
Terenure are the only side in the top two divisions who can boast a 100pc record. They welcome Dungannon to Lakelands this afternoon.
The northern side sit third from bottom with just one win to their name. Terenure have already opened up a four-point gap at the top and it's difficult not to see them maintain that lead this weekend.
NUMBER OF THE DAY
1 Young Munster are the only side not from Dublin in the top five of Division 1A.
Ulster Bank League Fixtures (2.30 unless stated)
Ballynahinch v Clontarf, Ballymacarn Park; Lansdowne v Dolphin, Aviva Stadium; Old Belvedere v Garryowen, Anglesea Road; St Mary's College v Cork Con, Templeville Road; Young Munster v UCD, Tom Clifford Park.
Belfast H'quins v Corinthinas, Deramore Park; Dublin University v Blackrock College, Sydney Parade; Malone v Shannon, Gibson Park; Terenure v Dungannon, Lakelands; UL Bohemian v Buccaneers, Annacotty.
Ballymena v Bruff, Eaton Park; Banbridge v Rainey OB, Rifle Park; Cashel v Seapoint, Spafield; Galwegians v Old Crescent, Crowley Park; Highfield v NUIM Barnhall, Woodleigh Park; Naas v Bective Rangers, Forenaughts; Queens v City of Derry, Dub Lane; UCC v Old Wesley, The Mardyke.
Ards v Tullamore, Hamilton Park; Armagh v Sligo, Palace Grounds; DLS Palmerstown v Suttonians, Kirwan Park; Greystones v Skerries, Dr Hickey Park; Thomond v Instonians, Liam Fitzgerald Park; Boyne v Navan RFC, Shamrock Lodge, 4.0.