Monday 16 December 2019

Rugby club scene: The All-Ireland League uncovered

Munster player Niall Scannell has returned from a lengthy lay-off and will add quality to the Dolphin pack. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
Munster player Niall Scannell has returned from a lengthy lay-off and will add quality to the Dolphin pack. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Game of the weekend: Ballynahinch v Dolphin, (Ballymacarn Park, 2.30pm): Most people would have predicted that both of these teams to be embroiled in the basement battle, but Ballynahinch have been the surprise package so far this season.

Admittedly it is still early days but the northern side have already shown enough quality to suggest that they are far stronger than they were last year.

Dolphin, on the other hand, have struggled badly but are boosted by the return of a couple of key players.

'Hinch come into the game on the back of a defeat to Young Munster but have been in free-scoring form. Winger Ross Adair already has four tries to his name and is a major threat to Dolphin.

Munster players Niall Scannell and Dave O'Callaghan have both returned from lengthy lay-offs and will add quality to the Cork side's pack.

But Ballynahinch will fancy their chances of making home advantage count and continue their impressive start to the season.

Verdict: Ballynahinch

 

St Mary's unveiling two best sides of all time for 'The Great Match' fundraiser

Next Friday (November 21), Templeville Road is the setting for an evening in which the club will select past and present players from every generation to form the two greatest St Mary's teams ever.

Tickets for the event which includes dinner along with evening's entertainments cost €40 for one person, €75 for two and €375 for a table of 10.

The two selected teams will be unveiled on the night, as well as a presentation on some of the great players who played in different eras for the club.

Bookings can be made by calling 01-4900440.

 

Battle of Donnybrook takes to 4G pitch

Division 2A league leaders Old Wesley are one of only two teams (Terenure being the other at the time of writing) across all four divisions who have a 100pc winning record, and they take on Bective Rangers today.

It will be the first time that an AIL derby will take place on Donnybrook's new 4G pitch, which is sure to add to what is generally an entertaining affair between two clubs who share the ground.

Bective have won just twice season and won't need an extra motivation to get one over on their old foes, but as well as sitting on top of the table, Wesley are also the league's top points scorers. It will take a big collective effort from Bective to stop the Wesley juggernaut.

 

Number of the weekend

48 - Clontarf's prolific out-half David Joyce is Division 1A's current top points scorer with 48. Joyce picked up the award for the league's top points scorer last season, and few would back against him doing so again.

 

One to watch

Sam Coghlan Murray impressed last week with two well-taken tries and he will be eager to continue that form, particularly with the Leinster coaches likely keeping a close eye on UCD's game with Old Belvedere.

 

Ulster Bank League fixtures

(Kick-off 2.30pm, unless otherwise stated)

Division 1A

Ballynahinch v Dolphin, Ballymacarn Park; Cork Constitution v Clontarf, Temple Hill; Old Belvedere v UCD, Anglesea Road; St. Mary's College v Young Munster, Templeville Road.

Division 1B

Buccaneers v Dublin University, Dubarry Park; Corinthians v Belfast Harlequins, Corinthian Park; Galwegians v Malone, Crowley Park; Garryowen v Ballymena, Dooradoyle.

Division 2A

Banbridge v NUIM Barnhall, Rifle Park; Bective Rangers v Old Wesley, Donnybrook; Cashel RFC v UCC, Spafield; Dungannon v Blackrock College RFC, Stevenson Park; Naas v Rainey OB, Forenaughts; Nenagh Ormond v City of Derry, New Ormond Park; Queens University v Seapoint, Dub Lane; Thomond v Skerries, Liam Fitzgerald Park.

Division 2B

Ards v Greystones, Hamilton Park; Midleton v Boyne, Towns Park

Richmond v Sligo, Richmond Park; Sundays Well v Old Crescent, Musgrave Park; Tullamore v Bruff, Spollanstown; Wanderers v Armagh, Merrion Road.

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