THERE’S a minor invasion by Ulster clubs in round 12 of Energia All-Ireland League tomorrow after which all involved come up for air in a welcome three-week break.
Cork Constitution have Ballynahinch as visitors to Temple Hill in Division 1A and aim to build on last week’s impressive win at champions Clontarf, who face leaders Terenure College in another game of high importance.
Malone from Belfast head to Woodleigh Park to play in-form Highfield aiming to complete a 100% record in January and maintain their promotion challenge from Division 1B while Ballymena take on Dolphin in Division 2A at Musgrave Park.
Cork’s other clubs are on their travels to various parts of the country. In 1B, UCC meet Old Wesley in the capital, while in 2C, Midleton journey west to Ballina and Sunday’s Well are in Bruff.
Con moved to second in the table on 42 points following the 24-12 bonus point win over Tarf, who are a point behind in third with Terenure six clear at the summit.
Trinity College fill the last play-off spot in fourth on 35 points, two more than Young Munster, whom they visit for yet more crunch action.
Con won 20-13 away to Ballynahinch, awarded a couple of penalty tries in the process, and it’s that forward domination which they hope will be the cornerstone for a third successive victory and an unbeaten four-game stretch.
Cathal O’Flaherty crossed for the second week running and Max Abbott scored his second try in three outings while the backs also contributed courtesy of Greg Higgins and Louis Kahn.
While Highfield have won their last four games, securing bonus points in three, revenge will be very much on their minds because of Malone’s 20-17 home success, only their second of the campaign as they prop up the table.
Their Cork opponents are third in the standings, three behind long-time leaders Buccaneers, who are now second with City of Armagh replacing them at the head of affairs and with a five-point cushion.
It’s quite congested in the top portion as Old Belvedere and Old Wesley are just a point adrift of Highfield.
Hooker Travis Coomey was a try scorer up north and brought his tally to five since then with another in the 34-10 win over UCC. Highfield are looking for a fifth consecutive victory to maintain their push.
It’s a huge game for Dolphin, who are second from bottom against a Ballymena side a place above them though with a six-point advantage with UL Bohemians at the bottom, a mere point behind the Cork side.
College, Mideton and the Well are also in need of points. The Students, eighth on 19 points, are level with Naas while it’s eighth against ninth in the Midleton-Ballina encounter.
The east Cork club are six points better off and the result here will have implications for the Well, who are last, two points behind Ballina. Bruff are fifth on 27 points.