Week One of the All Ireland league provided mixed fortunes for the twelve Ulster clubs. Malone, Queens, Ballymena, City of Derry, Ards and Armagh all winning with Ballynahinch, Belfast Harlequins, Dungannon, Rainey, Banbridge and Instonians losing their opening games. Reviewing the winners and losers was all down to the sides that had the ‘pace’ and ‘power’ to secure the points. This was evident in the outcome of the games between Ballynahinch v Cork Constitution, Belfast Harlequins v Buccaneers, Cashel v Banbridge and Skerries v Instonians. Adam Larkin the Quins coach summed it up after his team lost to Buccaneers. “They have got quite a few Academy guys. You could sense there was a difference in their conditioning as opposed to some of our guys. In this league if you have a crack it will expose it. If you want to win games you’ve just got to get those little things right”.
Ulster Bank AIL League 1A
UCD v Old Belvedere
Clontarf v Garryowen
Cork Constitution v Landsdowne
Young Munster v Ballynahinch
Dolphin v St Marys College played Sunday 6th October 2.30pm KO
Limerick will hold no fears for Ballynahinch when they visit Tom Clifford Park to take on Young Munster. Despite their 24 – 17 home defeat to Cork Con the Hinch squad will travel with alot of confidence in the knowledge they can match the pace and power of their opponents who recorded a well earned 26 -18 win over St Marys College. Young Munster out half Brian Haugh was the stand out player contributing 18 pts including two tries in their win.
Ulster Bank AIL league 1B
Blackrock College v Terenure
Corinthians v Shannon
Dungannon v Dublin Univ
UL Bohemians v Belfast Harlequins
Buccaneers v Malone – KO 7.30PM
Dungannon will have been boosted by their strong showing against Malone last Saturday.
The Sinnamon brothers provide a strong front row for the Gannon forwards. Again the release of Ulster players will determine the outcome of this game. Cormac McCartney ex Ballymoney showed his potential by scoring a fine try in his AIL debut.
Belfast Harlequins will want to bounce back from their opening defeat at Deramore park.
Despite scoring three tries they failed to secure any points from this game. Second row Neil McComb is a commanding presence in the Quins side that have the ability to travel to Limerick and take the points from a UL Bohemians side that conceded six tries in their 36 – 9 away defeat to Terenure.
Buccaneers demonstrated how powerful their challenge will be in this league by coming back from a 21- 8 deficit at Harlequins to score 21 unanswered points in the last quarter to secure the maximum 5 pts at Deramore. Malone’s promotion credentials will be fully tested at Dubarry Park under the Saturday evening floodlights in Athlone.
Ulster Bank AIL League 2A
Old Crescent v Bruff – Played Friday 4th October 7.30pm KO
Banbridge v Queens
Bective v UUC
Galwegians v Old Wesley
Highfield v Ballymena
Naas v Cashel
NUM Barnhall v City of Derry
Rainey v Seapoint
Rifle Park will host one of the most eagerly awaited club fixtures in Ulster rugby with the star studded Queens team visiting.
Queens have been a dominant force in Ulster rugby with only one defeat 46 – 44 away to Ballymena this season in the Ulster Senior League. Their talented backline including McAuley, Colvin and McIIwaine scored their four tries in a hard earned win over Highfield last Saturday by 27 – 22 at the Dub. Banbridge made the trip to County Offaly to take on Cashel. After leading 13 – 3 at HT the Ian Porter inspired Bann team succumbed to the power of the Cashel team conceding 23 unanswered points in the second half to lose 26 – 13. Bann coach Daniel Soper knows his team will have to step up this weekend if they are to take any points from this fixture.
There is an air of optimism at Eaton Park following the Braid mens convincing 37 – 14 win over Galwegians.
In the process Ballymena scored six tries with the inform Jordan Foster scoring two tries to add to his tally of seven tries in his last four games. Highfield pushed Queens all the way last Sat scoring three tries. The Cork men will want all four points. A win for the Braid men will build on their early season progress.
City of Derry travel to Parsonstown in County Kildare to take on newly promoted NUM Barnhall. Both teams recorded impressive wins on the opening weekend with Barnhall winning 33 – 13 at relegated Bruff – scoring four tries and taking the maximum 5 pts. City of Derry showed the pace and power to overwhelm Ulster neighbours Rainey 42 – 21- scoring five tries. Star performer for City of Derry was out half Richard McCarter who contributed 17 pts.
Hatrick Park will welcome back the Rainey 1st xv following their defeat at Judges Road last weekend. The Magherfelt men almost recorded a losing bonus point in the final minutes to score that all important fourth try. Their opponents Seapoint opened their campaign with a narrow 27 – 24 derby win over Bective. Previous encounters between these two sides have been close. Expect a fired up Rainey squad to bounce back and secure that all important first win.
Ulster Bank AIL League 2B
Suttonians v Skerries – Played Friday the 4th October 7.30 KO
DLSP v Nenagh
Instonians v Navan
Midleton v Ards
Richmond v Greystones
Sunday’s Well v Armagh
Tullamore v Thomond
Instonians conceded seven tries in their 44 – 3 defeat at Skerries last Sat.
Again like some of the Ulster clubs the pace and power of the Southern opposition proved too much for William Leacock’s squad. Instonians Captain Paddy Bell knows his side have the opportunity in front of their home support to bounce back from this reversal. Navan will travel with confidence after winning their opening league game 13 – 9 at home to Sligo.
Armagh make the long trip to Cork to take on Sunday’s Well who were well beaten at Thomond last Sat – 35 – 14 – conceding five tries. Armagh Captain Richard Reaney and coach Andrew Hughes will require another workman like performance from his team to follow up their impressive opening day win 23 – 17 over DLSP.
Perennial relegation battlers Ards scored four tries in their opening day win over Suttonians.
CLICK HERE for action shotssssss from last weeks superb game by Ards RFC I XV
It required a last min sixty metre penalty from full back Paul Cox to secure that all important 28 – 27 win. Well done Guys. Relegated Midleton lost their opening game 34 – 17 away to Nenagh. Can new Ards Captain Rob McCausland lead his team to victory this weekend.