MATCH OF THE DAY: Buccaneers v Clontarf, Dubarry Park, 2.30
BERNARD Jackman's Clontarf can open an imposing gap at the top of Division 1B if they can come away from the Midlands with a win this afternoon.
The top two in this section have both lost just once this season, with Buccs enjoying a game in hand over the Dubliners, who have adapted well to life outside Division 1A in the former Leinster hooker's second season in charge.
The two sides are coming off the back of big wins, both breaching the 30 -point mark last weekend, Clontarf at home to Galwegians and Buccaneers impressing away at Bruff.
Although Lansdowne have scored more points, Clontarf's attack has been impressive, with the addition of Cork Constitution's double-winning captain Evan Ryan, UCC's Sam Cronin and UCD starlet Noel Reid (above) adding impetus.
Up front, they will be without Ireland U-20 Michael Kearney, but Ben Gissing, Aaron Dundon, Barry O'Mahony and Simon Crawford make up part of an imposing unit.
With the likes of former Blackrock man Shane Monahan in their line-up, the Athlone men hold no little threat, but their defence is the basis of their success this season and they have conceded the lowest points total in the league, albeit with a game less played.
Clontarf won by 10 the last time the sides met, but will need a serious display to win away and set themselves fair for a shot at the play-offs.
DOWN MEMORY LANE
January 23, 1993
Cork Constitution 13
Young Munster 16
DESPITE a gale force wind blowing down the Temple Hill pitch, these two title-chasing sides served up a reminder of what Irish rugby could produce, at a time when the international team was struggling.
Peter Clohessy served notice of why he could add to Ireland's cause, as Young Munster's narrow victory, their sixth in seven meetings with Cons, sent them to the summit.
With 15 minutes remaining, Kenny Murphy looked to have given his side an match-winning 13-9 lead, but the Cookies rallied, with Declan Edwards and Ger Clohessy (above) leading the way, laying siege to the line.
Ten penalties and no change later, they flashed the ball wide. Aidan O'Halloran and Francis Brosnahan fed Niall McNamara, who delighted the visiting support with his winning try.
Cork Constitution -- C Haly; K Murphy, C Murphy, B Walsh, N Murray; E Crotty, M Bradley; P Soden, C Twomey, P McCarthy; G Fulcher, D Lynch; L Dinneen, P O'Hara, B Howell.
Young Munster -- G McNamara; N McNamara, F Brosnahan, N O'Meara, J McNamara, A O'Halloran, D Tobin; J Fitzgerald, M Fitzgerald, P Clohessy; P Meehan, R Ryan; G Clohessy, G Earls, D Edwards.
Players who have lined out for both clubs in today's games:
Buccaneers v Clontarf: Niall O'Brien
Dolphin v Garryowen: Barry O'Mahony, Jack Clarke
Old Belvedere v Blackrock: Fergal O'Beirne, Jonathan Mion
(2.30 unless stated)
Division 1A: Dolphin v Garryowen, Musgrave Park; Shannon v St Mary's College, Coonagh; Young Munster v Cork Constitution, Clifford Park; Old Belvedere v Blackrock College, Anglesea Road, 4.15.
Division 1B: Bruff v UCC, Kilballyowen Park; Buccaneers v Clontarf, Dubarry Park; Dungannon v Galwegians, Stevenson Park; Lansdowne v UL Bohemian, Aviva Stadium.
Division 2: Old Crescent v Old Wesley, Rosbrien, 1.00; Ballymena v QUB, Eaton Park; Ballynahinch v Dublin University, Ballymacarn Park; Clonakilty v Malone, The Vale; Corinthians v Midleton, Corinthian Park; Terenure v Belfast Harlequins, Lakelands; Thomond v DLSP, Fitzgerald Park; Bective Rangers v UCD, Donnybrook, 4.30.
Division 3: NUIM Barnhall v Suttonians, Parsonstown, 12.30; Banbridge v Rainey OB, Rifle Park; City of Derry v Wanderers, Judges Road; Connemara v Sunday's Well, Monastery Road; Greystones v Ards, Dr Hickey Park; Naas v Highfield, Fournaughts; Navan v Nenagh Ormond, Balreask; Seapoint v Instonians, Kilbogget Park.