Crunch time for Cork's rugby club at both ends of the AIL

Crunch time for Cork's rugby club at both ends of the AIL
Dolphin's Jussi Viljanen is tackled by Nenagh Ormond's Peter Coman. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

IT'S crunch time at both ends of All-Ireland League Division 1A with a series of key games tomorrow.

First and second in the table collide head-on at Temple Hill, where Cork Constitution host champions Lansdowne while bottom side Terenure College have eighth-placed UCC as visitors.

Con are eight points clear of Lansdowne and a dozen in front of third-placed Clontarf in their quest for a top-two finish and a crucial home semi-final.

There are four games left and with try bonus points and losing bonus points at play the issues will not be decided for a while yet.

Con lost the corresponding fixture in Dublin, going down 35-27, but picking a try bonus after scores from Brian Hayes, Luke Cahill, skipper Niall Kenneally and Jack Costigan.

Alex Penny, UCD, has his path blocked by Cork Con players Rob Jermyn and Aidan Moynihan. Picture: Dan Linehan
Alex Penny, UCD, has his path blocked by Cork Con players Rob Jermyn and Aidan Moynihan. Picture: Dan Linehan

The Cork side then embarked on an eight-game winning streak to consolidate their position at the top and while UCD surprised them at home, Con returned to winning ways with an important win in Limerick against Garryowen last week.

Con and Lansdowne clashed in last year's final with the Dublin club emerged triumphant 19-17 after a terrific struggle.

Conditions will be a factor with the heavy going likely to influence how the sides use possession, but, either way, it promises to be another closely run affair.

College are eight points in front of Terenure in the battle to avoid automatic relegation and three in front of Young Munster, who occupy the play-off spot with Shannon in the frame, too, just a point ahead of the students.

UCC's 15-3 win over Shannon last week, when Michael Clune and Matthew Bowen crossed for the crucial tries, was a major boost, though they won't need reminding of the threat posed by Terenure.

They came away from the Mardyke with a last-gasp 18-17 win earlier in the campaign despite Peter Sylvester, Cian Bohane and Adam O'Connor claiming tries for College.

And Terenure's recent win over Lansdowne, a result which shocked the whole division, shows what they're capable of producing.

College, however, also have the benefit of accounting for the champions, 25-22 at home, so won't lack confidence, especially after Shannon travelled back pointless.

Highfield's Shane O'Riordan tries to get away from Old Crescent's Cathal O'Reilly. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Highfield's Shane O'Riordan tries to get away from Old Crescent's Cathal O'Reilly. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Neither Highfield nor Dolphin are in action this weekend. This gives Cashel a chance to reduce Field's 10-point advantage at the top of 2A against relegation bankers Galwegians. Dolphin will remain seventh.

Sunday's Well, bottom of division 2B, make the long trip to play Dungannon in eighth for a must-win game with eight points between the sides.

Results haven't matched the Well's displays in recent weeks and could do with a change in fortunes.

In division 2C Midleton, in second spot, host Omagh in fourth while it's first against third in the Ballina-Bruff tie. Midleton are level with Bruff.

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