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Club Scene: Game of the weekend

Young Munster v Shannon

(Tom Clifford Park, 2.30)

THE title has been wrapped up by Lansdowne, but there is plenty of intrigue at the bottom of Division 1A, where the battle to survive rages on.

Shannon, the league's most successful club, remain in the drop-zone, four points above UL Bohemians with two games remaining, as they bid to haul themselves out of trouble.

Old Belvedere's bonus-point victory over Lansdowne means that St Mary's are third from bottom and looking over their shoulder.

The bottom side goes down automatically, with the second-last club facing a play-off against the runners-up in Division 1B. With UCD and Trinity battling it out in excellent form for that spot, the play-off is unlikely to be an easy route to safety.

Shannon's task couldn't be tougher. The Young Munster side they face today look almost safe despite a run of six defeats in a row, but departing coach Mike Prendergast wants one more win to ensure their position after their title charge faded. Then, it is Lansdowne next week and, although the league title is secure, they are not a team that you want to have to beat.

Coach James Hickey watched his side lose narrowly to St Mary's last weekend and wants a response from his players. If Rob Guerin and Tadhg Bennett can guide them around, then they can get the points they desperately need. Whether it will be enough is another question.

Verdict: Away win

COLOURS BATTLE FOR PROMOTION

With Ballynahinch are almost assured of Division 1A rugby next season, the battle for the play-off place is between the students of UCD and Trinity.

Both university sides are poised on 53 points, but the Belfield boys are ahead on points difference and have a game in hand as they go into their final three games on a rampaging run of form that has seen them go unbeaten since January 5.

They face Malone at home, before taking on Ballymena and Blackrock away, while Trinity host Bruff today and play Malone away on April 27.

Number Of the week

1 Ulster's Rainey Old Boys are the only club to have gone unbeaten across the divisions to date. If they can avoid defeat against Clonakilty this afternoon, the Division 2A leaders will have completed the season without losing.

Fixtures

Today

(2.30 unless stated)

Division 1A: Clontarf v Cork Constitution, Castle Avenue; Dolphin v Garryowen, Musgrave Park; UL Bohemian v St Mary's College, Annacotty; Young Munster v Shannon, Clifford Park.

Division 1B: Ballynahinch v Blackrock College, Ballymacarn Park, 3.0; Belfast Harlequins v Dungannon, Deramore Park; Buccaneers v Ballymena, Dubarry Park, 7.0; Dublin University v Bruff, College Park; UCD v Malone, Belfield.

Division 2A: Banbridge v DLSP, Rifle Park; Bective v Cashel, Donnybrook; Corinthians v Seapoint, Corinthian Park; Greystones v Queen's University, Dr Hickey Park; Highfield v Galwegians, Woodleigh Park; Midleton v Old Wesley, Towns Park; Old Crescent v City of Derry, Rosbrien; Terenure v UCC, Lakelands Park.

Division 2B: Ards v Sunday's Well, Hamilton Park; Boyne v Skerries, Drogheda; City of Armagh v Connemara, Armagh; Naas v Instonians, Fournaughts; Navan v Suttonians, Balreask; Nenagh Ormond v NUIM Barnhall, Nenagh; Rainey Old Boys v Clonakilty, Hatrick Park.

Irish Independent