Monkstown waiting for flu bug to clear


Due to the European Cup semifinal between Ulster and Stade Francais in Ravenhill on Saturday, a number of matches have had to be refixed in all divisions of the AIL.

In Division Three the game between Instonians and Dublin University is moved to this Friday evening while UCD's match against league leaders NIFC has been put back to Monday, January 11th, 7.30 p.m.

In Division Four three games, Omagh v Banbridge, Bangor against Waterpark and Collegians match with CIYMS have been refixed for March 27th, leaving only two scheduled fixtures intact.

The main Division Three game of the weekend is Monkstown's home match against Carlow at Sydney Parade. Carlow, who lost their first away match against Instonians last week, (16-15) since promotion to the AIL two season's ago, report no serious injuries. But with three tactical substitutions used in Belfast, a reshuffle may be in the reckoning for the third placed side.

Monkstown, fourth in the table, have not yet selected but are still struggling to shake off a flu bug that hit the side before the Christmas break. Five players still have symptoms despite the scheduled game against Highfield last weekend being postponed.

Mid-table Richmond might also lack match practice as they too sat out Saturday but the local derby match against Bohemians should attract considerable attention in Limerick.

Bohemians are second and have no major injury worries. Although centre Michael Benson has been suffering from a neck injury he will probably play. Bohemians were 9-3 ahead last week against NIFC when the wheels fell off with some poor defensive play, finally going down 32-9.

Local pride will surely play its part with Richmond reporting no injuries and bracing themselves for a tough match. Last year when they defeated Carlow in their second match of the season the confidence the victory instilled gave them the momentum to win the next six games in succession.

Trinity's Friday evening game against Instonians is likely to be played out in sticky conditions, again unsuitable to the struggling young side, who are injury free. The students best rugby may well have to wait for firmer ground which may well be too late as they languish at the bottom of the table with no points from four games.

Suttonians welcome Mick Fitzsimons for the first time this season while Rory Gallagher also returns to the backs after injury for the Division Four side's game against Ards. A fit Noel Hehir makes a return to the forwards giving the Dublin side additional experience following their disappointing opening defeats against Queens and Banbridge.