There is a busy list of fixtures in all divisions of the Ulster Bank League on Saturday, with the most intriguing game in Division 1A being the visit of second-placed Terenure College to Temple Hill to face the division’s third-placed team, Cork Constitition.
Games kick-off at 2.30pm unless otherwise stated
Division 1A: Buccaneers (10th) v Garryowen (4th), Dubarry Park
The battle to avoid automatic relegation is a straight shootout between Buccaneers and St. Mary’s College, with Buccs needing a win at home to Garryowen to avoid relegation to Division 1B. Entering the penultimate round, the Pirates have seven points to make up on Mary’s, and they will have it all to do against a visiting Light Blues side that is on course for the semi-finals and a shot at the title.
Cork Constitution (3rd) v Terenure College (2nd), Temple Hill
Second-placed Terenure have a two-point lead over the Cork side, with Constitution their closest challengers for a home semi-final spot. February and March produced four wins on the trot for ’Nure, with winger Jake Swaine taking his try tally to seven and a number of their players also gaining Ireland Club international honours. These clubs played out a hugely entertaining contest earlier in the season when the Dubliners won 39-35 at home. Cork Con’s Brian Hayes and Rob Jermyn have both scored two tries each in the last two rounds of the league.
St. Mary’s College (9th) v Clontarf (5th), Templeville Road
Dublin University’s win over UCD Friday night condemned St. Mary’s to a bottom-two finish, leaving Peter Burke’s side with a challenging few weeks ahead. They can expect a backlash from fellow Dublin side Clontarf who lost a nine-try thriller to Garryowen a fortnight ago. That loss saw ’Tarf fall out of the top four, and even two closing bonus point wins may not be enough for them to reach the semi-finals for a fourth successive year.
Young Munster (6th) v Lansdowne (1st), Tom Clifford Park
Young Munster sit three points outside the top-four with two rounds remaining, while league leaders Lansdowne are the most potent attackers and most miserly defenders in the top flight. Lansdowne had 20 points to spare when they met in September but they have lost on their last six visits to Greenfields, stretching back to November 2011.
Dolphin (10th) v Ballymena (8th), Irish Independent Park
Dolphin’s brave fight against relegation ended in defeat to Shannon last weekend. They won 10-6 away to the Braidmen in Round 2 of the campaign. Ballymena, who have work to do to avoid finishing in the bottom two, welcome back Adam McBurney and Marcus Rea from Ulster ‘A’ duty.
Old Belvedere (5th) v Shannon (2nd), Anglesea Road
Old Belvedere came back for a losing bonus point against UCC recently, but they are nine points outside the top-four and 11 clear of the bottom two. Shannon who are right in the hunt for the Division 1B title and automatic promotion, and having endured a three-match winless streak, the Limerick side responded with victories over Old Wesley and Dolphin.
Old Wesley (7th) v Ballynahinch (1st), Donnybrook
The bonus point win over Dolphin last time has front-runners Ballynahinch still with their destiny in their own hands. They feel the all-weather Donnybrook surface will suit their game, particularly if Conor Kelly continues his run of eight tries. It has been a season of near misses for Wesley. With two teams still hot on their heels, Morgan Lennon’s side need a win to steer them to Division 1B safety.
UL Bohemians (9th) v Naas (6th), University of Limerick 4G pitch
Four clubs could still finish second-from-bottom and have to go through the minefield of the relegation/promotion play-offs. UL Bohemians are currently the worst placed of the quartet, trailing eighth-placed Ballymena by two points. Naas have scored 30-plus points in their last two matches and player-coach Johne Murphy isn’t changing that winning side, only for Ireland Under-20 prop Jordan Duggan being named at loosehead.
UCC (4th) v Banbridge (3rd), the Mardyke, 3pm
Third-placed Banbridge are looking to make it six league games without defeat and take the three-way title race to the final weekend. Their only change for the Cork trip sees Eric O’Sullivan return from injury in the front row. Meanwhile, UCC picked up two bonus points against Naas to take a step closer to a promotion play-off spot.
Cashel v Blackrock College, Spafield.
City of Armagh v Galwegians, Palace Grounds.
Corinthians v Greystones, Corinthian Park.
Highfield v Malone, Woodleigh Park.
Nenagh Ormond v Queen’s University, New Ormond Park.
Belfast Harlequins v City of Derry, Deramore Park.
Dungannon v Sunday’s Well, Stevenson Park.
MU Barnhall v Old Crescent, Parsonstown.
Rainey Old Boys v Navan, Hatrick Park.
Wanderers v Skerries, Merrion Road.
Bangor v Seapoint, Upritchard Park.
Bruff v Bective Rangers, Kilballyowen Park.
Malahide v Sligo, Estuary Road.
Midleton v Omagh, Towns Park.
Thomond v Tullamore, Liam Fitzgerald Park.