Preview | Senior And Junior Rugby
9th December 2021 By Leonard Allen
Both the Men’s and Women’s All Ireland Leagues reach the halfway stages this weekend.
For a list of this week’s fixtures, please click here.
In Division 1A of the Men’s All Ireland League, the four Munster sides are in action against Dublin opposition.
Cork Constitution, who are third following their fifth successive victory in which they put up 45 points without reply against UCC at the Mardyke to claim maximum points, welcome fifth-placed Terenure College to Leeside. The visitors go into to the tie on the back of a 39-0 home win over bottom side Ballynahinch.
UCC, who are second from bottom following their heavy 45-0 home defeat by Cork Constitution, travel to the capital to take on Dublin University. The Dublin students were defeated 27-7 by leaders Clontarf at Castle Avenue last time out.
Fourth-placed Young Munster are also in Dublin as they take on UCD, who are hovering above the drop zone, at Belfield. The Limerick side ran out 20-16 home winners over neighbours Garryowen, following two successive defeats, while UCD go into the tie on the back of a 48-15 defeat by Lansdowne at the Aviva Stadium.
Garryowen, who are sixth, face a tricky task as they welcome leaders Clontarf to Dooradoyle. After a promising start to the campaign, which yielded four successive wins and was followed by four successive defeats, the Sky Blues lost their last game 20-16, to claim their second losing bonus point. Clontarf ran out 27-7 home winners over Dublin University last time out.
There is a Munster derby in Division 1B as unbeaten leaders Highfield travel to Limerick to lock horns with sixth-placed Shannon at Thomond Park. The Leesiders made it eight wins from eight as they defeated City of Armagh 21-10 at Woodleigh Park last time out, while Shannon go into the tie on the back of a narrow 15-12 away win over Malone.
On Friday evening, seventh-placed Old Crescent go head to head with eighth-placed UL Bohemian at Takumi Park in Division 2A. Both sides claimed maximum points from their last games as Old Crescent defeated bottom side Nenagh Ormond 30-15 in North Tipperary, while UL Bohemian ran out 29-26 home winners over Ballymena.
Sixth-placed Dolphin entertain Nenagh Ormond, who are propping up the table, at Musgrave Park. Both sides go into the tie on the back of defeats by Cashel and Old Crescent in their respective games last time out.
Fourth-placed Cashel travel to County Kildare to take on fifth-placed MU Barnhall. The Premier County side go into the tie on the back of a 24-7 home win over Dolphin, while MU Barnhall narrowly defeated Buccaneers 15-13 in Athlone.
Midleton, who are fifth in Division 2C, face a tricky task as they welcome fourth-placed Tullamore to East Cork. Midleton were defeated 18-8 by Omagh Academicals in County Tyrone last time out, while the Faithful County side recorded a narrow 16-13 away win over Bruff in their last game.
Sunday’s Well, who are still without a win and rooted to the foot of the table, travel to County Limerick to take on seventh-placed Bruff at Kilballyowen Park. The Leesiders claimed their third losing bonus point from their narrow 16-14 defeat by Bangor at Musgrave Park, while Bruff were defeated 35-22 by Enniscorthy in County Wexford.
Clonmel will have their work cut out as they welcome second-placed Enniscorthy to South Tipperary. Clonmel claimed a losing bonus point from their 9-6 defeat by City of Derry on Foyleside in their last game, while the Model County side claimed all points on offer from their 35-22 home win over Bruff.
In the final series of games in Phase One of the Women’s All Ireland League, second-placed UL Bohemian, who will be playing in the top section in the New Year, are away to fifth-placed Suttonians. The Limerick side go into the tie on the back of a comprehensive 64-5 home win over Ballincollig, from which they claimed maximum points. Suttonians, who will be playing in the lower section, go into the tie on the back of a narrow 13-12 home win over Malone.
Ballincollig, who will be playing in the lower section, following their heavy 64-5 defeat by UL Bohemian, welcome third-placed Blackrock College to Tanner Park, with the Dublin side going into the tie on the back of a 17-7 home win over Old Belvedere.
The final series of games in Conferences A, B, C and D of the Munster Junior League takes place this weekend with some important games that will decide where clubs will be playing in phase 2 which begins on January 16th.
The game of the day in Conference A is the West Tipperary derby between Clanwilliam and Kilfeacle in Tipperary Town. Kilfeacle are fourth on 20 points, while Clanwilliam are fifth on 15 points. The Tipperary Town side will be looking to make the most of home advantage count in a last gasp bid to leapfrog their near neighbours into fourth place. To achieve this objective, Clanwilliam must score four tries and win and also prevent Kilfeacle from getting anything from this game. Kilfeacle were defeated 24-19 by Newcastle West in their last League game on home soil and they were also defeated 36-0 by the same opposition a week later in the Munster Junior Clubs’ Challenge Cup semi-final at Morrissey Park. The Tipperary Town side’s slim aspirations of a top four finish will be boosted by their 22-6 away win over St Senan’s last time out and their recent 16-7 home win over Mallow in the semi-final of Munster Junior Clubs’ Challenge Cup.
Two sides who have secured their top four finish go head to head in West Limerick as second-placed Newcastle West entertain new table toppers Richmond. The home side go into the tie on the back of successive away wins over Kilfeacle in the League and the Munster Junior Clubs’ Challenge Cup semi-final. Richmond ran out 40-14 home winners over Galbally from which they claimed all points on offer.
Third-placed Thomond, who have also secured their top four finish, are away to bottom side Galbally. Thomond recorded a comprehensive 59-7 home win over Abbeyfeale last time out, while Galbally go into the tie on the back of a heavy 46-14 away defeat by Richmond.
Abbeyfeale host St Senan’s with both sides going into the tie on the back of defeats by Richmond and Clanwilliam respectively and this result could have a big bearing on final places in phase 2.
The top four sides in Conference B have already been decided.
Unbeaten leaders Bandon, who recorded a 29-7 home win over Crosshaven last time out are away to sixth-placed Skibbereen in a West Cork derby. Skibbereen lost their last game 30-12 against Muskerry at Ballyanly.
Second-placed Waterpark who surrendered their unbeaten run against Bandon at Ballinakill, travel to South Cork to take on Crosshaven, who also lost their last game against Bandon.
Third-placed Old Christians lock horns with third-placed Muskerry at Rathcooney, with both sides going into the tie on the back of maximum point home wins over Mallow and Skibbereen, respectively. Again, this result could have a big bearing for the final places in phase 2 of the competition.
Mallow, who are propping up the table, entertain fellow strugglers Clonakilty. The North Cork side were defeated 26-17 by Old Christians at Rathcooney, while Clonakilty were narrowly defeated 11-10 by West Cork neighbours Skibbereen at the Carbery Showgrounds.
In Conference C, Thurles are the only side assured of a top four finish, while Fethard, Dungarvan, Scariff, Ennis and St Mary’s are all in contention for a top four finish.
Unbeaten leaders Thurles should prove too strong for bottom side Mitchelstown at the Mid Tipperary venue, while second-placed Fethard are at home to Waterford City.
Third-placed Dungarvan are at home to fourth-placed Ennis and Scariff, who are fifth, entertain St Mary’s who are sixth with two games in hand and looking to maintain their aspirations of a top four finish.
Runaway leaders Kanturk are away to second-placed Kinsale in Conference D, with six points separating these sides. The Duhallow side also have a game in hand against Tralee, which is due to take place in early January.
Charleville and Ballincollig, who are joint third go head to head at Smith’s Road and Fermoy, who are a point behind these sides are away to bottom side Killorglin.
Two sides who will be finishing outside the top four go head to head in the Kingdom as Tralee entertain Cobh Pirates.
Killarney, who are the new leaders in Conference E following their 36-26 home win over Chorca Dhuibhne, will be looking to make it two wins out of two over the West Kerry Gaeltacht side as these sides meet in Ballydavid.
Youghal and Castleisland, who recorded victories over Douglas in their last games go head to head in East Cork. The Seasiders claimed maximum points from their 24-21 home win over Douglas, while Castleisland ran out 23-5 away winners over the South Cork side.
In the Women’s Divisional Cup Ballincollig host Tipperary and Skibbereen make the short journey to Bantry Bay.