18th January 2024 By Leonard Allen
It is another busy weekend with action across the Men’s All Ireland League and the Women’s All Ireland Cup series.
Cork Constitution, who have climbed up to second place following their 23-13 victory over Young Munster at Temple Hill, travel to the Capital to take on UCD, who are seventh, at Belfield. The Dublin Students were narrowly defeated 30-26 by Lansdowne on the Back Pitch of the Aviva Stadium last time out. The Lilywhites ran out 38-25 winners over UCD when they met at Temple Hill.
Young Munster welcome Ballynahinch to Tom Clifford Park, following their 23-13 away defeat by Cork Constitution. The Limerick side, who won the corresponding fixture 16-13 in County Down, face a tricky task, as the Ulster side are one point adrift of the top four following their 36-12 home win over City of Armagh.
Shannon, who are hovering above the drop zone, are away to bottom side Dublin University, who are still without a win, but have three losing bonus points to their credit. Both sides go into the tie on the back of defeats by Clontarf and Terenure College respectively. Shannon recorded a narrow 14-13 when these sides met in Limerick.
Highfield, who have climbed up to third place following their 50-12 home win over Naas, where they claimed all points on offer, travel to Dublin, to take on Old Wesley at Energia Park. The Dublin side have climbed up to seventh following their 20-3 away victory over Old Belvedere and they also won December’s corresponding fixture on Leeside 22-19, resulting in a losing bonus point for Highfield.
Fifth-placed Garryowen entertain Buccaneers, who are second from bottom at Dooradoyle. The Sky Blues recorded a 23-10 away win over UCC last time out while the Athlone side claimed a losing bonus point from their narrow 23-21 home defeat by Blackrock College. Garryowen put up 14 points without reply, when these sides met at Dubarry Park.
UCC travel to County Kildare, to take on Naas at Forenaughts, with both sides coming off the back of defeats by Highfield and Garryowen respectively. UCC are three points clear of the relegation places in eighth place, while Naas are sixth. Naas ran out 38-29 winners when these sides met at the Mardyke.
Division 2A leaders Nenagh Ormond, who surrendered their unbeaten record in their 20-13 home defeat by Premier County neighbours Cashel, but claimed a losing bonus point, are away to Greystones. The County Wicklow side are two points clear of the relegation places in seventh following their narrow 20-19 away win over Banbridge. Nenagh Ormond recorded a 38-5 victory when these sides met in North Tipperary.
Second-placed Cashel entertain Old Crescent, who have climbed up to fifth, following their maximum point 34-7 home win over UL Bohemian. Cashel ran out 20-13 away winners over Nenagh Ormond last time out and they also defeated Old Crescent 20-16, when these sides met at Takumi Park.
Fourth-placed UL Bohemian entertain Navan, who have slipped to second from bottom following their 24-19 home defeat by MU Barnhall. The Limerick side will be looking to make the most of home advantage count in a bid to bounce back from their 34-7 defeat by neighbours Old Crescent. UL Bohemian ran out 10-7 winners over Navan, when these sides met in County Meath.
Dolphin, who are propping up Division 2B, face a tough assignment as they travel to Belfast to take on runaway leaders Instonians, who have maximum points from their games to date. Dolphin claimed all points on offer from their basement clash with Malahide at Virgin Media Park, where they finished with 13 players, following two red cards. Instonians recorded a narrow 32-26 bonus point away win over Belfast Harlequins and they ran out comprehensive 69-21 winners, when they met Dolphin on Leeside.
In Division 2C, Bruff who have slipped to fourth, entertain fifth placed Tullamore at Kilballyowen Park. The County Limerick side were defeated 39-15 by Midleton in East Cork last time out, while Tullamore recoded a maximum point 33-12 home win over Bangor, who are propping up the table. The County Limerick side ran out 14-10 winners when these sides met in the Faithful County, resulting in a losing bonus point for Tullamore.
Clonmel entertain Midleton in a mid-table clash in South Tipperary. Clonmel were defeated 45-21 by Enniscorthy in County Wexford, while Midleton claimed all points on offer firm their 39-15 home win over Bruff. Clonmel ran out 19-15 winners when these sides met in East Cork.
In the Women’s All Ireland Cup series, UL Bohemian welcome Suttonians to Annacotty with both sides having recorded bonus point victories over Blackrock College.
Ballincollig entertain Wicklow, with both sides coming off the back of defeats by Railway Union.
There is a full programme of games in the Munster Junior League as the battle for promotion and relegation intensifies.
Defending Munster Junior League champions Richmond, who are hovering above the drop zone in Division 1, lock horns with unbeaten leaders Thomond at Garryowen Green. This game also doubles up as a Munster Junior Clubs’ Challenge Cup quarter final. Richmond were defeated 39-12 by Newcastle West last time out in West Limerick, while Thomond claimed all points on offer from their 33-5 victory over Sunday’s Well on Leeside. The winners of this game will be away to Bandon or Muskerry in the semi-finals of the Munster Junior Clubs’ Challenge Cup.
Second-placed Mallow, who are also unbeaten, but seven points behind Thomond, entertain second from bottom Clanwilliam at the North Cork venue. Mallow ran out 15-10 away winners over Skibbereen, while Clanwilliam were narrowly defeated 27-26 by Kanturk in Tipperary Town. Clanwilliam claimed two bonus points as they scored four tries.
Kanturk, who are five points clear of the relegation places following their narrow 27-26 bonus point away win over Clanwilliam, welcome Sunday’s Well, who are third to Duhallow. Sunday’s Well were defeated 33-5 by Thomond at Virgin Media Park last time out.
Clonakilty lock horns with near neighbours Bandon in a West Cork derby at The Vale. Clonakilty, who are fifth, returned with a losing bonus point from their 32-25 defeat by Muskerry in Mid Cork. Bandon are 11 points clear of the relegation places following their 31-17 maximum point victory over Thurles at Old Chapel.
Thurles, who are tied in fourth place with Newcastle West, lock horns with fifth-placed Kilfeacle in a Premier County derby. Both sides go into the tie on the back of defeats by Bandon and Newcastle West respectively.
Newcastle West entertain Skibbereen, who are seventh. The West Limerick side claimed all points on offer from their 26-12 away win over Kilfeacle, while Skibbereen claimed a losing bonus point from their 15-10 home defeat by Mallow.
Charleville, who are propping up the table, go head to head with Muskerry at Smith’s Road. The Sky Blues recorded a 32-25 maximum point home win over Clonakilty last time out. The North Cork side were defeated 48-0 by Clonakilty in West Cork in their last game, before Christmas.
Unbeaten leaders in Division 2 St Mary’s, who defeated Kinsale 19-12 in South Cork, are away to Galbally-Mitchelstown, who are second from bottom. Galbally-Mitchelstown claimed a losing bonus point from their 26-19 defeat by Cobh Pirates in East Cork.
Second-placed Kinsale travel to West Limerick to take on Abbeyfeale, who are six points clear of the drop zone. Kinsale claimed a losing bonus point from their 19-12 home defeat by St Mary’s. Abbeyfeale also claimed a losing bonus point from their 8-7 defeat by Fethard at the West Limerick venue before Christmas.
Third-placed Crosshaven entertain Tralee who are fifth at the South Cork venue. Both sides go into the tie on the back of bonus point victories over Old Christians and Fermoy respectively.
Fourth-placed St Senan’s, who returned with maximum points from their 36-20 victory over Youghal in East Cork, entertain Old Christians at Jimmy Slattery Park. The Rathcooney side claimed a losing bonus point from their 24-17 home defeat by Crosshaven.
Fermoy, who returned from the Kingdom with a losing bonus point from their 24-18 defeat by Tralee, face a tricky task as they welcome Fethard to the Showgrounds. Fethard recorded a 29-24 home win over Waterpark last time out, where they claimed all points on offer.
It is derby day in East Cork as Cobh Pirates go head to head with Youghal, who are propping up the table at the Paddocks. The Pirates took another step closer to safety as they recorded a 26-19 maximum point home win over Galbally-Mitchelstown, while Youghal were defeated 36-20 by St Senan’s.
Waterpark welcome Ballincollig, who are hovering above the drop zone, to Suirside. Waterpark claimed two bonus points from their 29-24 defeat by Fethard in South Tipperary, as they scored four tries. Ballincollig were defeated 43-5 by St Mary’s in Limerick in their last game before Christmas.
Ennis, who are unbeaten leaders in Division 3, welcome Killarney to the Banner County. Ennis recorded a comprehensive 55-7 away win over Douglas last time out, while Killarney claimed a losing bonus point from their narrow 26-24 home defeat by Ardscoil Old Boys.
Third-placed Scariff travel to the West Kerry Gaeltacht, to take on Chorca Dhuibhne, who are still without a win. The East Clare side recorded a 21-11 home win over Waterford City last time out, while the West Kerry Gaeltacht side returned with a losing bonus point from their narrow 24-20 defeat by Dungarvan.
Castleisland, who are fourth, welcome Dungarvan to the Kingdom. The Kerry side ran out 24-7 away winners over Chorca Dhuibhne in their last game in early December. Dungarvan claimed all points on offer from their 24-20 home win over the West Kerry Gaeltacht side.
Waterford City welcome Douglas to Suirside. Waterford City were defeated 21-11 by Scariff in East Clare, while Douglas go into the tie on the back of a heavy 55-7 home defeat by Ennis.
The Munster Women’s League resumes as Ennis-Kilrush welcome Skibbereen to the Banner County. The Clare side, who are third, claimed maximum points from their 27-8 away win over Tralee. Skibbereen, who are fifth, were held to a 17-17 draw by Dolphin at Virgin Media Park.
In Division 2, unbeaten leaders Bruff travel to North Cork to take on third-placed Mallow. Bruff put up 28 points without reply against Midleton at Kilballyowen Park, while Mallow defeated Clonakilty 7-3 at The Vale.
Fourth-placed Thurles entertain Ballincollig, who are fourth, in the Premier County. Ballincollig were defeated 28-0 by Bantry Bay at Tanner Park before Christmas, while the Tipperary side ran out 19-17 winners over Clonakilty at The Vale.
There is also one tie down for decision in the Munster Women’s Open Bowl as Dolphin entertain Clonakilty at Virgin Media Park. Clonakilty defeated Bantry Bay 15-5 at The Vale in October.