Here are the fixtures, kick-off times and previews for this weekend’s Ulster Bank League Divisions 1A & 1B games.
Clontarf (3rd) v Lansdowne (1st), Castle Avenue, Friday, 7.30pm
Both Andy Wood and Mike Ruddock continue to nurture young talent and give them opportunities at his level, with Clontarf’s Seán O’Brien and Cormac Daly and Lansdowne’s Harry Brennan and Jack O’Sullivan impressing in recent rounds.
Garryowen (5th) v Young Munster (6th), Dooradoyle, Friday, 7.30pm
Limerick bragging rights in the top flight are up for grabs as Garryowen host Young Munster.
The Light Blues could have Munster’s David Johnston back from a dead leg, while experienced hooker Mike Sherry continues to get game-time as part of rejuvenated pack.
Young Munster have two wins in the past fortnight, with Ben Kilkenny, Gavin Coombes and Daniel Hurley all having scored three tries in the last four rounds.
St. Mary’s College (8th) v Dublin University (9th), Templeville Road, Friday, 7.30pm
St. Mary’s have conceded 84 points to Lansdowne and Young Munster in recent weeks and have fallen to eighth overall in the league table.
Trinity could face three former players in the Mary’s line-up in Tim Maupin, Jack Dilger and Nick McCarthy.
Terenure College (2nd) v UCD (7th), Lakelands Park, Friday 7.30pm
UCD have three losing bonus points earned in the last four rounds. Andy Skehan’s selection should be strengthened this week with no provincial and Ireland Sevens action. Second-placed Terenure would definitely take a repeat of last year’s 31-24 home win over the students.
Buccaneers (10th) v Cork Constitution (4th), Dubarry Park, Saturday, 2.30pm
The Buccs pack could be bolstered by Cian Romaine, who is back from suspension, Dan Law and Paul Boyle, while the form of top scorers Luke Carty (38 points) and Rory O’Connor (4 tries) enhances the Pirates’ chances of springing a surprise.
Cork Con will be well aware of what lies ahead in Athlone. The Leesiders beat Buccs in the 2015 and 2017 Bateman Cup semi-finals.
UCC (5th) v Dolphin (10th), The Mardyke, Friday, 7.30pm
Two former Dolphin players, Cian Bohane and Ryan Murphy, will line out for UCC. It was one away win apiece last season, but the students, under new head coach Brian Walsh, look stronger this term with centres Bohane and Murray Linn scoring six tries between them so far.
Ballymena (7th) v Ballynahinch (2nd), Eaton Park, Friday, 8pm
Second-placed Ballynahinch visit Ballymena as one of five Ulster derbies in the league this weekend. The Braidmen are yet to win at home, going down to Dolphin, Banbridge and UCC.
Ulster’s Clive Ross and Marcus Rea will start in Ballymena’s back row tonight, with Ireland Under-18 Sevens captain Angus Kernohan joined by the experienced Alan Smyth back at centre.
Naas (6th) v Shannon (1st), Forenaughts, Saturday, 2pm
Johne Murphy’s men were devastated to come away with nothing from Ballynahinch last week, having had the lion’s share of possession and territory, a frustrating fourth defeat in a row.
Shannon were near pitch-perfect in dismissing Banbridge 33-14. 20-year-old out-half Conor Fitzgerald is emerging as the division’s most consistent scorer with 78 points.
Banbridge (3rd) v Old Belvedere (4th), Rifle Park, Saturday, 2.30pm
Banbridge welcome back captain Ian Porter and his brother John, fit-again winger, into the back-line.
Bann’s first league defeat since January is unlikely to unsettle them, but Old Belvedere, who are unbeaten in four games, will target the maul and look to get the best out of Daniel Riordan and Shane McDonald out wide.
UL Bohemians (9th) v Old Wesley (8th), UL 4G pitch, Saturday, 2.30pm
UL Bohemians can take positives from their second half performance against Old Belvedere. Flanker James Ryan has been doing his best to inspire them with four tries in his last five outings.
Old Wesley are looking to back up their maiden victory of the campaign against Dolphin. Jack Maybury and Tommy O’Callaghan were two of their try scorers last Saturday.