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Weekend Rugby Preview
2 February 2004, 12:09 am
It is back to league action this weekend with crucial games at stake for several sides as the various leagues near completion.
It is back to league action this weekend with crucial games at stake for several sides as the various leagues near completion.

In the AIL Division One, the top two sides Cork Constitution and Shannon face sides challenging for a top four finish. At Temple Hill leaders Cork Constitution should extend their unbeaten run with a victory against Buccaneers, while Shannon should see off the challenge of holders Ballymena at Thomond Park.

Dolphin can take a major step towards retaining their First Division status with a home win over bottom side Galwegians.

The big game in Division Two is the meeting of leaders U.L. Bohemian and U.C.C. at Thomond Park on Sunday. The Limerick side were surprisingly beaten by Midleton last time out. The College are in fifth place, three points behind the leaders and could give their promotion hopes a big boost with a victory. The remaining Munster sides are concentrating on avoiding relegation.

Old Crescent entertain bottom side Sunday's Well at Rosbrien and will fancy their chances of winning, although the 'Well should push them all the way. Midleton welcome Waterpark to the Towns Park and should record back-to-back wins for the first time this season. It is a Limerick derby at Clifford Park where Young Munster take on Thomond and form points to an away win.

It is also a local derby in the Third Division where Highfield take on Clonakilty at Woodleigh Park and the home must win this tie to stay in the promotion race.

It is the second last series of games in the Heineken Munster Junior League. First Division leaders Kilfeacle should maintain their top position with a win over relegated St. Mary's at Corbally. Holders Bruff should repeat their recent Cup win over Richmond and collect all five points as they prepare for what could be a decider against Kilfeacle the following week.

Youghal could do with a home win over Crosshaven to ease their worries of becoming involved in a relegation decider against Richmond in their final game. Nenagh Ormond should see off the challenge of Clanwilliam and like wise Clonmel should add to St. Senan's recent bad run. Old Christians will try halt their recent bad run with a victory away to Cobh Pirates.

In the Second Division leaders Tralee can move another step towards promotion with a win away to Ballincollig. A defeat for the home side will see them drop down to the Third Division next season. The big game in this Division is the meeting of Skibbereen and Thurles at the West Cork venue. Thurles are presently in joint second place with Cashel and three points ahead of Skibbereen, but the West Cork side have a game in hand.

The home side will be confident of winning this tie and could end the Tipperary side's prospects of a quick return to the top flight. Cashel are at home to Charleville and will be expected to get the points. but could face a strong challenge from the North Cork side. Waterford City take on Douglas at Kilbarry and this is a tie the visitors must win if they are to avoid being relegated for the first time in their history.

Ennis two points ahead of Douglas and level with Waterford, will do well to get something from their trip to Kanturk. Castleisland should continue their good run with a victory away to Muskerry.

The two promotion places in Division Three could be decided this weekend. Leaders Abbeyfeale travel to Newcastle West in a West Limerick derby and they will be hoping to make it eleven wins out of eleven. Newcastle West have come back into the promotion race with some impressive performances recently and must win to keep their hopes alive.

Fermoy are at home to Dungarvan and will be looking to pick up all five points and if Abbeyfeale avoid defeat, they will join them in the Second Division. The other games in this Division could see home wins for Galbally, Kilrush and Kinsale with Presentation likely to make their trip to Newport a winning one.

Cork Constitution and Garryowen should continue their battle for the Munster Seconds League with wins. Garryowen are at home to Sunday's Well and Cork Constitution face Shannon at Coonagh.

St. Munchin's and Crescent make history on Sunday night when they become the first sides to play a Schools Cup game under lights at Thomond Park with a 6.30 kick off.

The Munster Under 18 League semi-finals are down for decision with Southern winners Sunday's Well at home to the Northern winners Thomond and the West Munster winners Castleisland entertain the East Munster champions Kilfeacle.

FIXTURES:

FRIDAY 27th FEBRUARY

Celtic League: Munster v Ospreys,Musgrave Park,7.30

SATURDAY 28th FEBRUARY

AIB League Division 1: Blackrock College v U.C.D.,Stradbrook,2.30 Cork Constitution v Buccaneers,Temple Hill,2.30 Co. Carlow v Belfast Harlequins,Oak Park,2.30 Dolphin v Galwegians,Musgrave Park,2.30 Lansdowne v Clontarf,Lansdowne Road,2.30 Shannon v Ballymena,Thomond Park,2.30 St. Mary's College v Dungannon,Templeville Road,2.30

Division 2: Bective Rangers v Ballynahinch,Donnybrook,2.30 Dublin University v D.L.S.P.,College Park,2.30 Midleton v Waterpark,Towns Park,2.30 Old Belvedere v Malone,Anglesea Road,2.30 Old Crescent v Sunday's Well,Rosbrien,2.30 Terenure College v Barnhall,Lakelands,2.30 Young Munster v Thomond,Clifford Park,2.30

Division 3: Ards v Wanderers,Hamilton Park,2.30 Ballina v Instonians,Heffernan Park,2.30 Banbridge v Corinthians,Rifle Park,2.30 Connemara v City of Derry,Monastery Field,2.30 Greystones v Portadown,Dr. Hickey Park,2.30 Highfield v Clonakilty,Woodleigh Park,2.30 Skerries v Queens University,Holmpatrick,2.30 Suttonians v Old Wesley,Station Road,2.30

Senior Friendly: Garryowen v Naas,Dooradoyle,3.00

Under 20 South Western Conference: U.C.C. v U.L. Bohemian,Mardyke,2.30

Pool 2: Galwegians v N.U.I.G.,Crowley Park,2.30

Under 20 League Division 2: Cobh Pirates v Clonmel,Cobh,2.30

Under 18 "B" Cup Semi-Finals: Fermoy v Dolphin,Fermoy,11.30 Kanturk v Midleton,Kanturk,12.00

Under 16 "B" Cup: Douglas v Midleton,Moneygourney,12.00 Skibbereen v Mitchelstown,Skibbereen,11.30

Under 18 Friendly: P.B.C. v Cork Constitution,Wilton,11.30

SUNDAY 29th FEBRUARY

AIB League Division 2: U.L. Bohemian v U.C.C.,Thomond Park,3.00

Heineken Munster Junior League Division 1: Bruff v Richmond,Bruff,3.00 Clonmel v St. Senan's,Clonmel,3.00 Cobh Pirates v Old Christians,Cobh,3.00 Nenagh Ormond v Clanwilliam,Nenagh,3.00 St. Mary's v Kilfeacle,Corbally,3.00 Youghal v Crosshaven,Youghal,3.00

Division 2: Ballincollig v Tralee,Ballincollig,3.00 Cashel v Charleville,Cashel,3.00 Kanturk v Ennis,Kanturk,3.00 Muskerry v Castleisland,Muskerry,3.00 Skibbereen v Thurles,Skibbereen,3.00 Waterford City v Douglas,Waterford,3.00

Division 3: Fermoy v Dungarvan,Fermoy,3.00 Galbally v Dunmanway,Galbally,3.00 Kilrush v Carrick-on-Suir,Kilrush,3.00 Kinsale v Killarney,Kinsale,3.00 Newcastle West v Abbeyfeale,Newcastle West,3.00 Newport v Presentation,Newport,3.00

Munster Seconds League Division 1: Garryowen v Sunday's Well,Dooradoyle,3.00 Shannon v Cork Constitution,Coonagh,3.00

Division 2: Midleton v Highfield,Towns Park,3.00

Junior 2 League South: Ballincollig v Bandon,Ballincollig,12.00 Cork Constitution v Youghal,Temple Hill,12.30 Douglas v Cobh Pirates,Moneygourney,11.45 U.C.C. v Muskerry,Curaheen Road,12.00

Junior 3 League South Division 1: Bandon v Highfield,Bandon,3.00 Muskerry v Castleisland,Muskerry,12.30 Old Christians v Charleville,Rathcooney,12.30 U.C.C. v Tralee,Curaheen Road,3.00

Division 2: Carrigaline v Kanturk,Carrigaline,12.00 Corca Dhuibhne v Midleton,Ballydavid,3.00

O'Carroll Plate: Cashel v Shannon,Cashel,1.00

Evans League: Nenagh Ormond v Clanwilliam,Nenagh,1.00 Scariff v Waterpark,Scariff,3.00

Gleeson Cup: Clonmel v Thurles,Clonmel,1.00

Junior 3 Friendly: Fermoy v Shandon,Fermoy,1.30

Under 20 Friendly: Young Munster v St. Senan's,Derryknockane,12.30

Schools Senior Cup: St. Munchin's v Crescent Comp.,Thomond Park,6.30

Munster U18 Semi-Finals: Castleisland v Kilfeacle,Castleisland,3.00 Sunday's Well v Thomond,Musgrave Park,4.00

Under 18 Cup: Clanwilliam v Waterpark,Tipperary,11.00 Dungarvan v Galbally,Dungarvan,12.00 Waterford City v Clonmel,Waterford,11.30

Under 16 Cup: Carrick-on-Suir v Thurles,Carrick-on-Suir,11.30 Cashel v Waterford City,Cashel,11.30

Under 16 League: Newcastle West v U.L. Bohemian,Newcastle West,11.30

Under 14 League: Bruff v Shannon,Bruff,12.00 Old Crescent v Newcastle West,Rosbrien,11.30 Scariff v Ennis,Scariff,12.00 St. Senan's v U.L. Bohemian,Shannon,11.30 Thomond v St. Mary's,Fitzgerald Park,12.00 Young Munster v Garryowen,Derryknockane,11.30

IWRFU Cup: Ballincollig v U.L. Bohemian,Tanner Park,2.30 U.C.C. v Ashbourne,Curaheen Road,1.00

IWRFU Plate: Clonakilty v Clanwilliam,Shannon Vale,1.30

TUESDAY 2nd MARCH

Schools Junior Cup: St. Nessan's v Ard Scoil Rís,Fitzgerald Park,2.30

WEDNESDAY 3rd MARCH

Schools Senior Cup: Rockwell v P.B.C.,Thomond Park,3.00

O'Brien Cup: Intermediate School v CBS Limerick,Newcastle West,2.30 Patrician Academy v Colaiste Coilm,Mallow,3.00

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