13th December 2023 By Leonard Allen
It is another action packed weekend as the All Ireland League approaches the halfway mark as the Festive Season approaches with a full programme of games across all five divisions of the Men’s All Ireland League.
In Division 1A of the Men’s All Ireland League, Young Munster face a tricky task as they lock horns with Cork Constitution at Tom Clifford Park. The Lilywhites claimed all points on offer from their 38-25 home victory over UCD last time out, while the Limerick side go into the tie on the back of a narrow 16-13 away win over Ballynahinch.
Shannon, who have climbed out of the drop zone following their narrow 14-13 victory over Dublin University at Thomond Park, travel to the Capital to take on Clontarf at Castle Avenue. The Dublin side are the league’s unbeaten leaders and they defeated Lansdowne 31-28 on the Back Pitch at the Aviva Stadium last time out.
Highfield face a tough assignment in Division 1B as they travel to County Kildare to take on Naas at Forenaughts. Naas have climbed up to fourth, following their bonus point 38-29 victory over UCC at the Mardyke, while Highfield claimed a losing bonus point from their 22-19 home defeat by Old Wesley.
Garryowen, who have climbed up to sixth, go head to head with UCC, who have slipped to seventh, at Dooradoyle. Garryowen put up 14 points without reply against Buccaneers in Athlone last time out. The Leeside Students have slipped to seventh and are five points clear of the drop zone. They claimed a bonus point as they scored four tries in their 38-29 home defeat by Naas.
In Division 2A, it is derby day in the Premier County and Limerick.
The game of the day is the meeting of Cashel and unbeaten leaders Nenagh Ormond at the Spafield. The North Tipperary side go into the tie on the back of a maximum-point 38-5 victory over Greystones, while Cashel ran out 20-6 winners over Old Crescent in Limerick.
Third-placed UL Bohemian lock horns with Old Crescent, who are seventh, at Annacotty. UL Bohemian recorded a 17-10 away win over Navan last time out, while Old Crescent were defeated 20-6 at home by Cashel.
Dolphin travel to North County Dublin to take on Malahide in their basement clash in Division 2B at Estuary Road. The Leesiders, who are propping up the table, were heavily defeated 69-21 by runaway leaders Instonians at Musgrave Park. Malahide go into the tie on the back of a 20-5 defeat by Dungannon in County Tyrone.
Fourth-placed Bruff entertain Midleton, who are fifth, at Kilballyowen Park in Division 2C, with 13 points between these sides. Bruff recorded a narrow 14-10 away win over Tullamore last time out, while the East Cork side ran out 19-15 home winners over Clonmel.
Clonmel, who are sixth, will have their work cut out, as they welcome third-placed Enniscorthy to South Tipperary. The County Wexford side ended Clogher Valley’s unbeaten run last time out as they ran out 20-17 winners at Alcast Park. Clonmel returned with a losing bonus point from their 19-15 defeat by Midleton in East Cork.
It is cup action that dominates Junior competitions this weekend, as well as the re-fixing of two of last week’s Division 1 ties. There is also a full programme of games in the Munster Women’s League.
Kilfeacle, who won the All Ireland Junior Cup in 2020, entertain Ballyclare in the semi-finals. The other semi-final is a Dublin derby between Seapoint and Bective Rangers, which takes place in Killiney.
There are two games in Division 1 of the Munster Junior League, which were postponed last weekend.
Third-placed Sunday’s Well travel to Limerick to take on defending champions Richmond, who are one point clear of the drop zone, at Liam Fitzgerald Park (Thomond RFC). The Leesiders claimed all points on offer from their last game against Clanwilliam in Tipperary Town, which they won 28-12. Richmond were defeated 18-7 by Clonakilty in West Cork in their last game.
Newcastle West and Bandon go head to head at the West Limerick venue. Newcastle West were defeated 46-25 by Muskerry at Ballynanly, while Bandon claimed a losing bonus point from their 16-10 home defeat by Mallow.
The quarter finals pf the Munster Junior Clubs’ Challenge Shield and the Martin O’Sullivan Cup are also down for decision, with the games in the latter postponed from last weekend.
St Mary’s welcome Old Christians to Grove Island for their quarter final of the Munster Junior Clubs’ Challenge Shield and the winners will be away to Abbeyfeale in the semi-finals.
Kinsale host Crosshaven in a South Cork derby and the winners will be rewarded with home advantage against Ballincollig or St Senan’s, who meet at Tanner Park.
In the Martin O’Sullivan Cup, Killarney entertain near neighbours Killorglin and the winners will be rewarded with a home semi-final tie against Chorca Dhuibhne or Ennis, who meet in the West Kerry Gaeltacht.
Waterford City entertain near neighbours Carrick-on-Suir, with Castleisland awaiting the winners in the Kingdom.
In Division 1 of the Munster Women’s League, leaders UL Bohemian are away to Shannon-TUS at Coonagh, where they will be looking to build on their 29-17 maximum-point victory over Dolphin at Musgrave Park. Shannon-TUS claimed a losing bonus point from their 3-0 away defeat by Tralee.
Ennis-Kilrush face a tricky task as they entertain second-placed Tralee in the Banner County. The Clare side recorded a comprehensive 62-19 victory over Dolphin on Leeside last time out, while the Kingdom side were defeated 34-20 by UL Bohemian on the Back Pitch at Thomond Park.
Dolphin go in search of their first points as they entertain Skibbereen at Musgrave Park. Dolphin were defeated 29-17 by UL Bohemian last time out while the West Cork side go into the tie on the back of a heavy 60-5 defeat by Shannon-TUS at the Carbery Showgrounds.
The game of the day in Division 2 is the top of the table clash between Bruff and leaders Midleton at Kilballyowen Park. Midleton recorded a narrow 8-7 home win over Clonakilty last time out while the County Limerick side put up 20 points without reply against Clonakilty at Kilballyowen Park.
Fifth-placed Mallow, who recorded a comprehensive 47-19 home win over Ballincollig last time out, host Bantry Bay, who were defeated 26-5 by Midleton in East Cork.
Third-placed Thurles, who recorded a narrow 19-17 victory over Clonakilty in West Cork last time out, welcome Ballincollig, who are sixth, to the Premier County. Ballincollig go into the tie on the back of a heavy 47-19 defeat by Mallow in North Cork.