Club Scene: All-Ireland League Uncovered
Game Of The Weekend
Clontarf v Young Munster, Castle Avenue, 2.30
League leaders Clontarf will face a stern test of their title credentials as they welcome Young Munster to Castle Avenue. The Dublin side currently sit top of the table, one point ahead of second placed Old Belvedere and three points ahead of today's opponents.
Since losing on the opening day of the season, Clontarf have gone on a five-game unbeaten run. Wins against title rivals UCD and Cork Con in their last two outings have clearly signalled their intent to claim their first ever All-Ireland League title. But Young Munster themselves, have their own title hopes and they come into today's game on the back of two straight league wins.
Clontarf out-half David Joyce has been their key player this season and such has been his place-kicking record, Young Munster must be mindful of giving away penalties inside their own half as Joyce will have no hesitation in slotting them over. The former DCU player has racked up 41 points in his last two games including seven penalties against Con last weekend.
Young Munster have been boosted by the return of last season's 2A player of the year Willie Staunton. The versatile back made his comeback as a substitute in his side's win over Dolphin last weekend and he will bring plenty of experience to a young back line.
Clontarf are unbeaten at home all season and if Joyce continues in the kind of form that he has been showing lately, they should consolidate their place at the top of the table and continue their impressive unbeaten run.
Verdict: Home win
TIME RUNNING OUT FOR UCD AND GARRYOWEN
UCD and Garryowen are both seeking much-needed wins today, but for completely different reasons.
UCD have impressed since their promotion from Division 1B last season, but have hit a slump in recent weeks. The students have lost their last two games, but must get back to winning ways against Con if they are to rekindle their title challenge.
Garryowen, on the other hand, remain without a win all season after losing to relegation rivals Ballynahinch last weekend. Defeat to Lansdowne would see an already-substantial gap between them and the teams above them increase even further.
TALENTED DOLPHIN FAR LESS THAN SUM OF THEIR PARTS
Last weekend against Young Munster, Dolphin started with six contracted Munster players in their side. Rory Scannell and Darren Sweetnam were involved in a move that lead to Cian Bohane scoring what will certainly be a 'try of the season'' contender come the end of the campaign.
However, they went on to lose the game, which was their third defeat of the season.
For a team with so much talent, they should be challenging at the top end of the table.
NUMBER OF THE DAY
20 The number of points that separates the top and bottom sides of Division 1A after just six games.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE FIXTURES
(2.30 UNLESS STATED)
Clontarf v Young Munster, Castle Avenue; Dolphin v Ballynahinch, Musgrave Park; Garryowen v Lansdowne, Dooradoyle; St. Mary's College v Old Belvedere, Templeville Road; UCD v Cork Con, Belfield.
Blackrock College v Buccaneers, Stradbrook; Corinthians v Terenure, Corinthian Park; Dublin University v Malone, Sydney Parade; Dungannon v UL Bohemian, Stevenson Park; Shannon v Belfast Harlequins, Coonagh.
Banbridge v Galwegians, Rifle Park; Bective v Queens, Donnybrook; Bruff v City of Derry, Kilballyowen Park; Highfield v Old Wesley, Woodleigh Park; Naas v Ballymena, Forenaughts; NUIM Barnhall v UCC, NUI, Maynooth; Old Crescent v Seapoint, Rosbrien; Rainey OB v Cashel RFC, Hatrick Park.
Boyne v Thomond, Shamrock Lodge; Navan v Armagh, Balreask Old; Richmond v DLS Palmerstown, Richmond Park; Skerries v Nenagh Ormond, Holmpatrick; Sligo v Midleton, Hamilton Park; Suttonians v Greystones, McDowell Grounds; Tullamore v Sundays Well, Spollanstown.