Saturday 21 April 2018

Club Scene - All-Ireland League Uncovered

game OF THE WEEKEND

Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Neither Ballynahinch nor Garryowen have managed to get a win on board after five games. The bottom two sides meet this weekend, so something has to give.

BALLYMACARN PARK, TOMORROW, 2.30

Neither Ballynahinch nor Garryowen have managed to get a win on board after five games. The bottom two sides meet this weekend, so something has to give.

The Limerick club make the long trip up north tomorrow, but will be buoyed by last weekend's Munster Senior Cup semi-final win over local rivals Shannon.

Both sides were narrowly beaten in their last league games. Ballynahinch were unlucky against third-placed Old Belvedere, who held out after some pressurised defending on their own line in the closing stages. Garryowen showed signs of improvement against Young Munster, but were guilty of missing a host of placed kicks that saw them lose by a single point.

With a gap already opening between the bottom three sides and those above them, this weekend's clash in Ballymacarn is crucial for both sides. Ballynahinch will be looking for their speedy winger David McIlwaine to continue the kind of form that has seen him involved with Ulster this season.

Garryowen will be eager to win the battle up front after scrum improvements in recent weeks. However, a trip up north is always difficult and home advantage may well be what sees Ballynahinch to their first league win of the season.

Verdict: Home win

AIL season enters crucial period

This weekend's set of fixtures begins the first of three successive weekends of AIL rugby before the competition takes a break over the Christmas period. With plenty of points up for grabs between now and then, teams at both ends of the table will be eager to go into the break in good shape.

Dublin derby Friday

With the majority of games resuming their normal Saturday afternoon slot, there are two big Dublin derbies taking place tonight. Last season's champions, Lansdowne will be looking to make it four wins on the bounce when they take on Old Belvedere. Meanwhile, an ever-impressive UCD side can go top if they beat St Mary's at Belfield. With current league leaders Clontarf not playing until tomorrow, the Students have an ideal chance to make a big statement on their return to Division 1A.

NUMBER OF THE DAY

187 The average number of points that have been scored on each of the first five weekend's in Division 1A.

Ulster Bank League fixtures

Division 1A

Tonight (7.30): Lansdowne v Old Belvedere, Aviva Stadium; UCD v St. Mary's College, Belfield

Tomorrow (2.30): Ballynahinch v Garryowen, Ballymacarn Park; Cork Constitution v Clontarf, Temple Hill; Young Munster v Dolphin, Tom Clifford Park;

DIVISION 1B

Tomorrow (2.30): Belfast Harlequins v Dublin University, Deramore Park; Buccaneers v Dungannon, Dubarry Park; Malone v Blackrock College, Gibson Park; Terenure College v Shannon, Lakelands Park; UL Bohemian v Corinthians, Annacotty.

DIVISION 2A

Tonight (7.30): Seapoint v NUIM Barnhall, Kilbogget Park

Tomorrow (2.30): Ballymena v Banbridge, Eaton Park; Cashel RFC v Bective Rangers, Spafield; City of Derry v Old Crescent, Judge's Road; Galwegians v Highfield, Crowley Park; Old Wesley v Bruff, Donnybrook; Queens University v Naas, Dub Lane; UCC v Rainey OB, The Mardyke.

DIVISION 2B

Tomorrow (2.30): Ards v Sligo, Hamilton Park (Newtownards); Armagh v Skerries, Palace Grounds; De La Salle Palmerstown v Tullamore, Kirwan Park; Greystones v Boyne, Dr. Hickey Park; Midleton v Richmond, Towns Park; Nenagh Ormond v Instonians, New Ormond Park; Sundays Well v Suttonians, Musgrave Park; Thomond v Navan RFC, Liam Fitzgerald Park.

Irish Independent

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