Weekend Preview | Senior And Junior Rugby
31st March 2022 By Leonard Allen
Over a busy weekend, the second last series of games in the All Ireland League are down for decision which could decide who will be contesting the playoffs and the relegation deciders.
Nenagh Ormond and Cashel get the show on the road on Friday evening as they lock horns at New Ormond Park, with both sides at opposite ends of the table in Division 2A. Nenagh Ormond are second from bottom and ten points adrift of eighth-placed UL Bohemian and look most likely to be contesting the relegation play-off with bottom side Rainey Old Boys. The North Tipperary side were defeated 36-19 by Buccaneers on home turf last time out. Cashel are 15 points behind leaders Queen’s University in second place and they recorded two wins over the Belfast Students. They ran out 22-15 home winners over UL Bohemian last time out and a win in the Tipperary derby would guarantee Cashel a home semi-final.
In Division 1A fifth-placed Young Munster lock horns with Cork Constitution, who are fourth, to Tom Clifford Park. There are two points separating these sides and Young Munster will be looking to make the most of home advantage count in a bid to overtake the Lilywhites in fourth place. They will also be looking to make it two wins out of two as they won October’s corresponding fixture at Temple Hill 18-12, which resulted in a losing bonus point for the Lilywhites. Young Munster claimed a losing bonus point from their 18-12 defeat by Terenure College in Dublin, while Cork Constitution go into the tie on the back of a 24-12 home defeat by Clontarf.
UCC entertain Garryowen at the Mardyke. The Leeside Students, who are propping up the table and will be contesting the relegation play-off with Ballynahinch, were defeated 52-21 by Lansdowne at the Aviva Stadium. Garryowen were defeated 33-27 by UCD at Belfield and claimed two bonus points as they scored four tries. The Sky Blues won October’s corresponding fixture 32-20 at Dooradoyle.
Highfield, who are 16 points behind Division 1B leaders Old Wesley in second place, welcome bottom side Navan to Woodleigh Park. Highfield were defeated 27-22 by Naas in County Kildare and claimed a losing bonus point, while Navan were defeated 50-14 by Old Wesley at the County Meath venue. The Leesiders recorded a 42-17 maximum point win when these sides met in the Royal County in October.
Third-placed Shannon travel to County Down to take on Banbridge, who are hovering above the drop zone. The Limerick side ran out 29-20 maximum point winners over City of Armagh at Thomond Park last time out, while the County Down side were defeated 34-10 by St Mary’s College in Dublin. Shannon claimed all points on offer from October’s corresponding fixture at Thomond Park, which they won 32-10.
Old Crescent, who have climbed up to fifth in Division 2A, following their bonus point 25-17 home win over fourth-placed Ballymena, face a tough assignment as they travel to Belfast to take on leaders Queen’s University. The Belfast Students go into the tie on the back of 46-29 away win over Dolphin and they ran out 40-21 winners when they met Old Crescent in Limerick.
Dolphin, who remain in seventh place following their 46-29 defeat by Queen’s University on Leeside, travel to Magherafelt to take on bottom side Rainey Old Boys. Dolphin claimed a bonus point against the Belfast Students as they scored four tries. The Oak Leaf County side were narrowly defeated 24-21 by MU Barnhall at Parsonstown and returned home with a losing bonus point. Dolphin ran out 56-13 winners when they met Rainey Old Boys at Musgrave Park.
UL Bohemian, who are ten points clear of the drop zone, welcome sixth-placed MU Barnhall to the UL Arena. The Limerick side claimed a losing bonus point from their 22-15 defeat by Cashel in the Premier County and they will be looking to make the most of home advantage in a bid to avenge October’s 38-13 defeat in County Kildare. MU Barnhall go into the tie on the back of a 24-21 home win over Rainey Old Boys.
In Division 2C, Sunday’s Well, who have slipped into the drop zone following their narrow 23-19 defeat by City of Derry on Foyleside, from which they returned with a losing bonus point, entertain fifth-placed Midleton at Musgrave Park. Sunday’s Well will be looking to make the most of home advantage count in a bid to avoid contesting the relegation play-off, while Midleton are nine points adrift of fourth-placed Tullamore. The East Cork side defeated third-placed Bangor 24-8 at Towns Park last time out and they won October’s corresponding fixture 14-6.
Clonmel, who are propping up the table following their narrow 25-24 home defeat by Bruff from which they claimed two bonus points as they scored four tries, are away to Bangor, by whom they were defeated 29-13 in South Tipperary.
Seventh-placed Bruff are away to second-placed Skerries. The North County Dublin side go into the tie on the back of a 23-17 defeat by Tullamore in the Faithful County, from which they claimed a losing bonus point. Skerries recorded a narrow 18-17 when they met Bruff at Kilballyowen Park in October.
The semi-finals of the round-robin qualifying series are down for decision in Navan this weekend as well as some outstanding Junior games.
Newcastle West, who won the Munster Junior League title for the first time, are contesting this series with three former AIL Clubs, namely Instonians (Ulster), Bective Rangers (Leinster) and Connemara (Connacht). The West Limerick side take on Instonians in their semi-final.
The quarter finals of the Frazer McMullen Cup are down for decision on Sunday.
Cork Constitution travel to the Capital to take on Lansdowne at the Aviva Stadium and Shannon are also in Dublin as they are away to Old Belvedere.
UCC entertain UCD at Curaheen Road and Young Munster are at home to Dublin University.
There are also a handful of Women’s games down for decision.
Skibbereen and Tipperary go head to head in Women’s Division Cup Final at Temple Hill on Sunday.
In Division 2 of the Munster Women’s League, second-placed Waterpark, who are eight points behind leaders Skibbereen, welcome Dolphin, who are propping up the table, to Ballinakill. Dolphin are still without a win and they were defeated 28-7 by Skibbereen at Musgrave Park last time out. The Suirsiders lost 28-0 to Bantry Bay in West Cork, but Waterpark ran out 74-12 winners when they met Dolphin at Musgrave Park in November.
Fourth-placed Bantry Bay and UL Bohemian, who are fifth, go head to head in West Cork. The West Cork side go into the tie on the back of a 28-0 home win over Waterpark, from which they claimed all points on offer and achieved an identical result when they met UL Bohemian at Annacotty in January. The Limerick side were defeated 28-0 by Ballincollig at Tanner Park last time out.
It is also a busy weekend on the Junior front with one tie down for decision in the Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Cup and several Junior League games.
In the Bank of Ireland Muster Junior Cup, Kilfeacle, who won the trophy in 2002, welcome 2009 and 2010 winners UL Bohemian to West Tipperary. The winners will meet 20017 winners Bandon at Old Chapel in the quarter finals.
In Section B of the Munster Junior League, Skibbereen travel to the Banner County to take on St Senan’s, where a win for the West Cork side would ensure that they maintain their status as a higher ranked Club. Skibbereen defeated Abbeyfeale 20-7 at The Showgrounds last time out while the Clare side were defeated 15-8 by Mallow in North Cork and returned with a losing bonus point.
In Section C, leaders St Mary’s, who hold a three-point advantage over Thurles and Kanturk, travel to North Cork to take on Fermoy. The Limerick side go into the tie on the back of a narrow 18-17 away win over Ballincollig, while Fermoy defeated Dungarvan 27-5 in West Waterford.
Ballincollig face a tough assignment as they entertain unbeaten Thurles, who are playing for a higher ranking, at Tanner Park. The Premier County side ran out 25-20 home winners over Charleville while Ballincollig claimed a losing bonus point from their 18-17 home defeat by St Mary’s.
Charleville and Fethard lock horns at Smith’s Road with both sides looking to maintain their outside challenges for a higher ranking. Charleville ran out 45-24 maximum point home winners over Dungarvan last time out, while the South Tipperary side recorded a narrow 19-17 home win over Kanturk.
Cobh Pirates, who have secured their ranking following three successive bonus point wins over Ennis, Scariff and Mitchelstown, travel to Suirside to take on Waterford City, who are second from bottom and one point behind Scariff. Waterford City go into the tie on the back of a 26-12 home defeat by Killorglin.
Unbeaten Conference E leaders Castleisland welcome second-placed Youghal to the Kingdom, with 11 points separating these sides. A win would secure the title and a higher ranking for the Kerry side who recorded a 13-7 home win over Bantry Bay last time out. Youghal defeated Chorca Dhuibhne 50-18 in their last game at Musgrave Park and claimed ten points as it was a unique game with double points on offer. Castleisland won December’s corresponding fixture 15-5 in East Cork.
Douglas welcome Chorca Dhuibhne to Castletreasure. The South Cork side recorded a maximum point 22-17 away win when these sides met in the West Kerry Gaeltacht from which Chorca Dhuibhne claimed their only point to date.
Third-placed Killarney, who are two points behind Youghal, will be looking to make the most of home advantage count in a bid to get their quest for a higher ranking back on track as they entertain sixth-placed Bantry Bay. Both sides go into the tie on the back of defeats by Castleisland while Killarney ran out 37-29 maximum point winners when they met Bantry Bay in West Cork in October. Bantry Bay also earned a bonus point as they scored four tries.