All-Ireland League Previews


Saturday (All matches 2.30)

Ballymena v St Mary's College, Eaton Park

Eaton Park away is not for the faint-hearted. Still St Mary's have a good record against Ballymena. A concern in the Ulster side's second row with Rupert West and Paul McBride sidelined could give the Dubliners some edge in the pack. But Australian outhalf Peter McIntosh is an excellent footballer and place kicks well.

St Mary's won't have Peter McKenna even though he is not named in the Leinster replacements although they hope hooker Gavin Hickey will travel on Saturday morning. Young openside Shane Jennings is out while his brother Carl, also a back row, is doubtful with a rib injury.

Last three seasons: 1998-1999 Ballymena 23, St Mary's 13; 1999-2000 Ballymena 5, St Mary's 42; 2000-2001 Ballymena 21, St Mary's 25

Formguide: Ballymena L; St Mary's WW

Leading try scorers: Ballymena - 0; St Mary's College - C McPhillips 3.

Leading points scorers: Ballymena - P McIntosh 9, St Mary's College - A Conboy 17.

Referee: D Courtney

Forecast: Ballymena win.

Blackrock College v Cork Constitution, Stradbrook

Blackrock believe they should have beaten Lansdowne last time out and under-performed, but this week's visitors Cork Con have a good record in Stradbrook and have three Munster players available in John Fogarty, over which there is some doubt, Donnecha O'Callaghan and Conor Mahony at outhalf.

Blackrock are still undecided about their back line as some doubts about fitness continue to surround winger Conor Kilroy. A strong start is a must for the home side, where Trevor Horgan comes into the second row.

Last three seasons: 1998-1999 Blackrock 17, Cork Con 26; 1999-2000 didn't meet; 2000-2001 Blackrock 24, Cork Con 30.

Formguide: Blackrock WL; Cork Constitution L

Leading try scorers: Blackrock - A Greally, D Popplewell, G Browne, B Willis, 1 each.

Leading points scorers: Blackrock - E Farrell; Cork Con - C Mahony 12.

Referee: D Napier

Forecast: Blackrock win.

Co Carlow v Lansdowne, Oak Park

Something about Carlow in Oak Park and a rampaging Andy Melville make them always a good bet. The number eight has recovered from his rib injury and that means yardage for the home side.

Lansdowne have started well with a win over Blackrock.Alan McGowan could be the difference from the hand and with penalties but only if Lansdowne raise their game.

Last three seasons: Didn't meet.

Formguide: Carlow W L Lansdowne W.

Leading try scorers: Carlow - M Spiller 3; Lansdowne - B Doherty 1.

Leading points scorers: Carlow - B Murphy 6; Lansdowne - A McGowan 11

Referee: L Mayne

Forecast: Carlow win

DLSP v Shannon, Kilternan

DLSP have had a troubled start while Shannon have not overly impressed with a defeat first time out to UCD and a narrow win against Ballymena. Andrew Thompson moves from centre to full back for the injured John Lacey while John Davis moves to the centre. Wing forward Alan Quinlan is back while back rows Redmond Collins and John O'Connor are injured. So Shannon have some switching to do while DLSP welcome their new Kiwi coach Paddy Stewart, who arrived on Wednesday.

Last two seasons: 1998-1999 didn't meet; 1999-2000 DLSP 23, Shannon 17; 2000-2001 DLSP 15, Shannon 36

Formguide: DLSP LL Shannon LW

Leading try scorers: M Viorneau - 2; Shannon - J O'Connor 1, D Quinlan 1.

Leading points scorers: DLSP - J Critchley 10; Shannon - A Thompson 25.

Referee: A McDowell

Forecast: Shannon win.

Garryowen v Clontarf, Dooradoyle

Garryowen beat Young Munster in their first match more easily than most would have expected at Tom Clifford Park and have two changes to that team. Killian Keane starts at full back for Dermot O'Riordan. His brother Kevin is on honeymoon and he is replaced by Conor Richardson on the wing. Always close between the sides Pat Walls comes in from Mullingar at scrumhalf for Clontarf's Ronan O'Reilly. Otherwise there are no injuries for the Dublin side who are 125 years old this year.

Last three seasons: 1998-1999 Garryowen 22, Clontarf 15; 1999-2000 Garryowen 15, Clontarf 20; 2000-2001 Garryowen 41, Clontarf 15

Formguide: Garryowen W Clontarf L W.

Leading try scorers: Garryowen - J O'Sullivan 1, C Tupinier 1, P Humphreys 1; Clontarf - R O'Reilly, P Lynn, J Dempsey, O Winchester, D O'Brien 1 each.

Leading points scorers: Garryowen - B Treacy 12; Clontarf - J Dempsey 27.

Referee: P Eakin

Forecast: Garryowen win

Terenure College v Dungannon, Lakelands

Match of the day. Last year's winners meet a home side with several changes. Second-row Mick Quinn comes in for Nick Allica to partner his brother Dermot while Jonathon Treacy replaces the injured Seβn King on the wing. Peter O'Malley also moves to the back row for Jamie Jenkinson while captain Shane Cullen is still injured.

Dungannon blend last year's core with new blood and if the 44-20 point win over Carlow in their first AIL outing is anything to go by, then they have dovetailed old with new very successfully indeed. Three tries in a five-minute blitz coloured the Carlow score line but Dungannon remain formidable.

Last three seasons: 1998-1999 didn't meet; 1999-2000 Terenure 38, Dungannon 35; 2000-2001 Terenure 3, Dungannon 62.

Formguide: Terenure L W Dungannon W.

Leading try scorers: Terenure - R Governey 2 Dungannon - D Cunningham 2.

Leading points scorers: Terenure - R Governey - 21. Dungannon - M Bradley 14.

Referee: J Sheehan

Forecast: Dungannon win

UCD V Galwegians, Belfield

Neil Coughlan comes in at blind side for a student team which remains otherwise unchanged from the one that beat Shannon and Young Munster. It has been a sparkling start compared to Galwegians' continuing problems with injury and contracted Connacht players. What a revelation UCD have become. Home advantage and sky-high confidence make them attractive. That of course is the student kiss of death.

Last three seasons: 1998-1999 didn't meet; 1999-2000 UCD 17, Galwegians 10 (Division Two); 2000-2001 didn't meet.

Formguide : UCD WW Galwegians LL

Leading try scorers: UCD - D O'Sullivan 2; Galwegians - none.

Leading points scorers: UCD - E Hickey 24; Galwegians - B Shelbourne 21.

Referee: C Stanley

Forecast Verdict: UCD win.


Buccaneers v Young Munster, Ericsson Park 2.30

Young Munster travel decimated with injury. At last count nine were injured in the squad with wing Mark Connolly, full back Jason Hayes and second-row Colm Power definitely out. It has been a difficult beginning for the Limerick side, which lost their opening match to Garryowen, and Buccaneers at home are not an easy prospect. Although missing their young full back Ois∅n Grennan, who has dislocated a collarbone, Buccaneers look in good shape to claim their second win of the season.

Last three seasons: 1998-1999 Buccaneers 21 Young Munster 13; 1999-2000 Buccaneers 26 Young Munster 6; 2000-2001 Buccaneers 0 Young Munster 16.

Formguide: Buccaneers W L; Young Munster L L

Leading try scorers: Buccaneers - T Robinson, O Brennan, O Devine 1 each. Young Munster - P O'Connell 1.

Leading points scorers: Buccaneers - C Glynn 17; Young Munster - M Lynch 21.

Referee: B Smith

Forecast: Buccaneers win.