Sport Rugby

Saturday 18 November 2017

Club Scene - All-Ireland League Uncovered

Garryowen v Old Belvedere, Dooradoyle, 2.30pm

Danny Riordan, Old Belvedere
Danny Riordan, Old Belvedere
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Barring one of the biggest upsets of the season in Limerick this afternoon, Old Belvedere will be crowned AIL champions for just the second time in the club's history.

Garryowen's defeat to St Mary's College last weekend condemned the Sky Blues to the club's first ever relegation. Prior to that, Garryowen were the only club in Ireland not to have suffered such a fate.

Belvo manager Paul Cunningham knows better than anyone else how proud a club Garryowen are – having both played for and managed the club – and they will be doing everything in their power to spoil the party.

The game will be shown live on RTE 2, which adds to the excitement, but it will also add to the pressure for Belvo and that is something that they must handle – unlike Clontarf over the last two weeks.

A win would guarantee Belvo the title regardless of what happens in Clontarf's home game against Ballynahinch, but the Dublin side are likely to again be without their captain Danny Riordan.

Garryowen are playing for nothing more than pride, but make no mistake about it, they won't go down without a fight.

Belvo looked like they had thrown the title away after their recent defeat to Clontarf, but they are now just one win away from clinching it. If they are to do so, they must manage the occasion and ensure that there aren't any late, dramatic twists.

Verdict: Old Belvedere.

 

Relegation play-off scrap goes to wire

Ballynahinch have taken maximum points from their last three games, which was enough to see them pull away from Garryowen at the foot of the table.

As it stands, they will face a relegation play-off, but it is still mathematically possible for them to ensure their Division 1A safety.

For that to happen, Dolphin and Young Munster must both suffer heavy defeats, while Ballynahinch would have to see off Clontarf, who, of course, still harbour title hopes.

 

Terenure on brink of unbeaten season

Division 1B champions Terenure College can achieve a rare feat today – if they manage to beat second-placed Buccaneers at Lakelands Park, they will have gone through the entire season having won all 18 of their league games.

Coached by former Munster and Leinster hooker James Blaney, Terenure have achieved back-to-back promotions and based on their performances this season, will be a strong force in 1A next year.

A win today would cap the perfect season for them.

Number of the day

2 - The number of points separating Old Belvedere from second-placed Clontarf heading into the final day of the season.

 

Ulster Bank League Fixtures

(2.30pm unless stated)

TODAY

Division 1A

Clontarf v Ballynahinch, Castle Avenue; Cork Con v St Mary's, Temple Hill; Dolphin v Lansdowne, Irish Independent Park; Garryowen v Old Belvedere, Dooradoyle, *LIVE RTE 2; UCD v Young Munster, Belfield.

Division 1B

Belfast Harlequins v Dungannon, Deramore Park; Dublin University v Shannon, Sydney Parade; Malone v Corinthians, Gibson Park; Terenure College v Buccaneers, Lakelands Park; UL Bohemian v Blackrock College; Dungannon v Shannon.

Division 2A play-off

Highfield v Thomond, Woodleigh Park.

Division 2B play-off

Instonians v Kanturk, Shaw's Bridge.

Irish Independent

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