Saturday 18 November 2017

Club Scene - All-Ireland League Uncovered

Game of the weekend - Lansdowne v Clontarf - (Aviva Stadium Back Pitch, 2.30)

Clontarf's David Joyce is in terrific form. Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
Clontarf's David Joyce is in terrific form. Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

It hasn't come as much of a surprise that two powerhouses of the AIL are the early pace-setters in the top flight.

Reigning champions Clontarf face a tough test of their title credentials as they make the short trip to Dublin 4 to take on the side who they dethroned last April.

Both teams come into today's mouthwatering clash with 100pc winning records, while they have both also picked up a bonus point each.

Mike Ruddock's Lansdowne will eager to set down an early-season marker as they bid to win back their title, and last week's last-gasp away win over Cork Con will give them confidence.

Former Munster out-half Scott Deasy was his side's hero last time out as he held his nerve to convert an 84th-minute penalty for a 16-13 win and his experience will not only be crucial this afternoon but also throughout a long season.

Clontarf are again likely to be without Mick McGrath, who was involved with Leinster last night, but his younger brother Rob has already proved that he knows where the try line is. There won't be much to separate the two sides but with 'Tarf's David Joyce (above) in terrific form, he could well be the difference.

Prediction: Clontarf

Terenure's winning streak goes on

Anyone who hasn't been following Terenure College's incredible unbeaten run, sit up and take note.

After going through the entire last season undefeated as they cruised to the 1B title, 'Nure have picked up where they left off in claiming back-to-back wins on their return to the top flight.

Their remarkable run of 25 straight victories stretches back to February 2013, when Corinthians beat them in Division 2A.

Former Munster and Leinster hooker James Blaney has his side playing an excellent brand of rugby and after beating neighbours St Mary's College in last weekend's 'Dublin 6W derby' in front of Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt, they will be looking to extend that run against a rejuvenated Young Munster outfit.

Terenure have looked completely at home in 1A but carrying such a target on their back means that teams will be desperate to end their incredible run.

Feast of rugby in Dublin

Rugby fans in the capital are spoilt for choice this afternoon, with plenty of top-quality action taking place.

Four of this week's five Division 1A games are going ahead in Dublin while there are also two crunch games in Division 2A, featuring Blackrock College and Old Wesley. With provincial coaches continuing to speak highly of the standard of Ireland's grass-roots game, supporters in Dublin have an ideal chance to sample some of that today.

Buckley's unhappy debut

Former Munster and Ireland prop Tony Buckley made his Kanturk debut in their defeat to Navan last weekend.

As expected, Buckley started in the second-row but he didn't help his side's chances of picking up the win after he received a yellow card late on.

He and his team-mates will be looking to bounce back today when they welcome Boyne to Knocknacolon.

Number of the weekend

13 Bonus points have been earned across all four divisions in the opening two weeks of the season.

Fixtures

(2.30 unless otherwise stated)

Division 1A

Cork Constitution v Ballynahinch, Temple Hill; Lansdowne v Clontarf, Aviva Stadium Main Pitch; Old Belvedere v St. Mary's College, Anglesea Road; Terenure College v Young Munster, Lakelands; UCD v Dolphin, Belfield.

Division 1B

Ballymena v Dublin University, Eaton Park; Galwegians v UL Bohemians, Crowley Park; Garryowen v Corinthians, Dooradoyle; Malone v Belfast Harlequins, Gibson Park; Shannon v Buccaneers, Coonagh.

Division 2A

Blackrock College RFC v Skerries, Stradbrook; Cashel RFC v Naas, Spafield; City of Derry v NUIM Barnhall, Judge's Road; Old Wesley v Dungannon, Donnybrook; Queens University v Banbridge, Dub Lane; Seapoint v Rainey OB, Kilbogget Park; UCC v Bective Park, The Mardyke.

Division 2B

Armagh v Navan RFC, Palace Grounds; DLSP v Richmond, Kirwan Park; Highfield v Old Crescent, Woodleigh Park; Kanturk v Boyne, Knockacolan; Midleton v Sligo, Towns Park; Sunday's Well v Tullamore, Musgrave Park.

Irish Independent

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