8th February 2024 By Leonard Allen
The Men’s All Ireland League resumes after a two-week break and the Women’s All Ireland League also gets underway following its Christmas and January break.
Locally, there are a handful of games in the Munster Junior League, with one doubling up as a Munster Junior Clubs’ Challenge Cup quarter final, together with an assortment of games in Women’s competitions.
In Division 1A of the Men’s All Ireland League, the three Munster sides are in action against Dublin opposition.
Second-placed Cork Constitution, who are one point behind leaders Clontarf, travel to the Capital to take on bottom side Dublin University at College Park. The Lilywhites recorded a narrow 27-26 home win over Clontarf in their top of the table clash at Temple Hill last time out. The Dublin Students were defeated 31-19 by Lansdowne on the Back Pitch of the Aviva Stadium. Cork Constitution won November’s corresponding fixture 33-5 on Leeside.
Young Munster, who are sixth, are away to defending champions Terenure College, who are fourth. The Limerick side were defeated 29-21 away by struggling City of Armagh, while Terenure College ran out 31-5 winners over Shannon at Thomond Park. Young Munster won November’s corresponding fixture 12-6 at Tom Clifford Park, resulting in a losing bonus point for Terenure College.
Shannon, who have slipped into the relegation places following their 31-5 defeat by Terenure College in Dublin, lock horns with third-placed Lansdowne at Thomond Park. Lansdowne go into the tie on the back of a maximum-point 31-19 home win over Dublin University. Lansdowne ran out 42-12 home winners when these sides met in Dublin.
Garryowen, who have climbed up to third in Division 1B, following their narrow 20-17 away win over Blackrock College, face a tough assignment as they travel to the capital to take on St Mary’s College at Templeville Road. St Mary’s College ran out 35-33 winner over Old Belvedere in their Dublin derby last time out and they also defeated Garryowen 31-22 when these sides met in Limerick in November.
Highfield, who recorded a narrow 22-19 home win over Queen’s University last time out, are also in Dublin, as they take on second-placed Old Belvedere at Ollie Campbell Park. Old Belvedere were narrowly defeated 35-33 at home by leaders St Mary’s College and they also won November’s corresponding fixture against Highfield 29-14.
UCC, who are five points clear of the drop zone in eighth place, travel to Belfast to take on Queen’s University, who are second from bottom. The Belfast Students returned with a losing bonus point from their 22-19 defeat by Highfield on Leeside, while UCC were defeated 35-10 by Old Wesley at Mardyke. The Leeside Students recorded a narrow 29-27 victory in November’s corresponding fixture, resulting in a losing bonus point for Queen’s University.
Division 2A leaders Nenagh Ormond travel to County Down, to take on fifth-placed Banbridge at Rifle Park. Nenagh Ormond recorded a comprehensive 83-12 home win over Malone last time out, while Banbridge ran out 32-16 home winners over Ballymena. The North Tipperary side ran out 34-3 winners when these sides met at New Ormond Park in November.
Second-placed Cashel, who played out a 13-13 draw with Navan in the Royal County, entertain third-placed MU Barnhall, who recorded a bonus point 38-5 home win over UL Bohemian, at the Tipperary venue. Cashel won November’s corresponding fixture 24-19, resulting in a losing bonus point for the County Kildare side.
Fourth-placed UL Bohemian, who were defeated 38-5 by MU Barnhall in County Kildare, travel to Eaton Park to take on Ballymena who were defeated 32-16 away by Banbridge. UL Bohemian ran out 16-12 winners when these sides met in Limerick, resulting in a losing bonus point for Ballymena.
Old Crescent who are sixth and one point adrift of the top four, travel to Belfast to take on bottom side Malone. The Limerick side recorded a narrow 13-10 home win over Greystones last time out, while Malone fell to a heavy 83-12 defeat by leaders Nenagh Ormond in North Tipperary. Old Crescent ran out 33-15 winners when these sides met in Limerick.
Dolphin, who climbed off the foot of Division 2B for the first time after picking up a bonus point from their 21-15 defeat by Wanderers at Virgin Media Park, travel to the Yeats County, to take on fourth-placed Sligo at Hamilton Park in Strandhill. Sligo ran out 25-17 away winners over bottom side Belfast Harlequins last time out. Dolphin recorded their second win of the campaign as they defeated Sligo 25-24 when these sides met on Leeside, resulting in a losing bonus point for the Yeats County side.
Bruff, who defeated Ballina 20-12 in North Mayo, welcome Omagh Academicals to Kilballyowen Park. The County Tyrone side moved out of the relegation zone following their 14-7 home win over Bangor last timeout. Bruff ran out 20-15 winners when these sides met at the Thomas Mellon Playing Fields, resulting in a losing bonus point for Omagh Academicals.
Midleton, who have climbed up to sixth, welcome Tullamore, who are fifth, to East Cork. Midleton ran out 24-19 home winners over Enniscorthy last time out, while Tullamore defeated Clonmel 19-14 in the Faithful County. Midleton recorded a 32-26 win when these sides met at the County Offaly venue, resulting in a losing bonus point for Tullamore.
Clonmel, who have slipped to seventh, entertain bottom side Ballina. Clonmel claimed a losing bonus point from their 19-14 defeat by Tullamore in the Faithful County, while Ballina were defeated 20-12 at home by Bruff. Clonmel recorded a 27-23 victory when these sides met in North Mayo, resulting in a losing bonus point for Ballina.
In the Women’s All Ireland League, runaway leaders UL Bohemian travel to Galway, to take on Galwegians, who are seventh, at Crowley Park. UL Bohemian put up 28 points without reply against Wicklow at Annacotty last time out, while Galwegians were defeated 34-10 at home by Cooke. UL Bohemian recorded a comprehensive 82-0 when these sides met at Annacotty.
Suttonians and Ballincollig go head to head in a mid-table clash at JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds. Suttonians were defeated 88-19 by Railway Union in a Dublin derby, while Ballincollig claimed a losing bonus point from their 21-14 home defeat by Galwegians. Suttonians ran out 12-5 winners when these sides met at Tanner Park, resulting in a losing bonus point for Ballincollig.
On Friday evening in Division 2 of the Munster Junior League, Crosshaven make the relatively short trip to the Paddocks, to take on Cobh Pirates. Crosshaven are two points adrift of second-placed Kinsale following their 38-27 maximum-point away win over Fethard. The Pirates will be looking to take another step closer to safety, following their bonus point 27-17 victory over Old Christians at Rathcooney.
On Saturday, the Limerick derby between defending champions Richmond and unbeaten leaders Thomond doubles up as a quarter final of the Munster Junior Clubs’ Challenge Cup. Thomond claimed all points on offer from their 52-7 home win over Kanturk last time out, while Richmond also claimed maximum points from their 31-26 away win over Muskerry. The winners of this game will be away to Bandon in the semi-finals of the Munster Junior Challenge Clubs’ Cup.
It is also derby day in West Cork as Clonakilty lock horns with near neighbours Bandon at The Vale. Clonakilty, following their maximum-point 32-27 away win over Kilfeacle, will be looking to make the most of home advantage as they aim to take another step closer to a top-four finish. Bandon will be looking to take another step closer to safety, following their 14-6 home win over Charleville.
Kanturk, who are hovering above the drop zone following their heavy 50-7 defeat by Thomond in Limerick, entertain third-placed Sunday’s Well at the Duhallow venue. Sunday’s Well ended Mallow’s unbeaten run last time out as they defeated the North Cork side 16-13 at Virgin Media Park.
On Sunday, it is derby day in the Premier County as Clanwilliam go head to head with Kilfeacle in Tipperary Town. Kilfeacle will be looking to maintain their outside challenge for a place in the top-four. Clanwilliam, whose only victory was when they defeated Muskerry 20-13 on the opening day of the campaign at Clanwilliam Park, returned from West Limerick with a bonus point from their 63-45 defeat by Newcastle West, as they scored seven tries.
The Munster Women’s Open Cup decider takes place at 4GUL as Ennis-Kilrush go head to head with Shannon-TUS.
In the Munster Women’s Open Bowl, Dolphin lock horns with Clonakilty at Virgin Media Park.
Bruff who are four points behind leaders Midleton, travel to North Cork to take on Mallow in their final game of Division 2 of the Munster Women’s League. Bruff were defeated 37-10 by Clonakilty in West Cork side last time out, while fourth-placed Mallow were defeated 33-10 at home by Thurles. A win for the County Limerick side would see them leapfrog Midleton into pole position.
Thurles who claimed all points on offer from their 33-10 victory over Mallow in North Cork, welcome Ballincollig, who are propping up the table to the Premier County. The Mid Cork side were defeated 35-0 by Midleton in East Cork last time out. A maximum-point victory would see Thurles sharing top spot with Midleton.