Carlow will look to continue their current run of form at Oakpark this weekend while Kilkenny and Tullow go in search of much needed points at the early stages of the 2015/16 Leinster League junior rugby season. We’ve already heard from Kilkenny’s Joe Manuel and Carlow’s Wes Shirley on KCLR this week, but here’s what’s happening around the world of domestic rugby this weekend.
Kilkenny v Clondalkin (Division 1A)
Life in Division 1A has been proving a little tricky for Kilkenny this season and while they looked more than comfortable in their only home fixture of the season so far against Suttonians, three road trips have seen the Foulkstown men come away winless on each occasion. While there hasn’t been any problem in getting tries on the board, Kilkenny’s inability to close out games has seen leads turn to losses where wins looked like a possibility.
Their home league record for 2014/15 was virtually untarnished and with support in numbers likely to be strong at Foulkstown on Saturday, Kilkenny will look to return to winning ways against Clondalkin, a side they brushed aside with comfort in their Provincial Towns Cup semi-final fixture in the spring of this year. Kick off is 2.30pm and is preceded by the J2s, kicking off against Clondalkin at 1pm. Kilkenny’s Thirds are in Metro League action against Bective Rangers at 2.30pm on pitch #2 while the U15s start the morning against Athy at 11am. Across town at Kilkenny College, Kilkenny’s U18 side face Portarlington in the U18 League.
Elsewhere, Monkstown host Ashbourne at Sydney Parade, Suttonians welcome De La Salle Palmerstown to the John J McDowell Memorial Grounds while it’s a Wexford derby at Ross Road as league leaders Enniscorthy go head to head with second-placed Gorey.
Longford v Tullow (Division 1B)
It’s a case of second from bottom facing bottom in Division 1B this season and life in the league hasn’t been kind to either side. Longford weren’t great last season at all, home or away, but lived to tell another day. Heading into game week 5, they sit at the foot of the 1B table having conceded 19 tries in four games and this weekend they welcome second-from-last Tullow to CPL Park.
Results too haven’t gone Tullow’s way, but similarly with Kilkenny, they’ve been unlucky in their opening fixtures. Three losing bonus points suggest they’ve been close, just not strong enough to pick up the win. While the bonus points may come in handy later in the season, the Black Gates side are winless, going down 34-20 at home to North Kildare on the opening day of the season before losses to Coolmine (24-18), Cill Dara (23-18) and, last week, Mullingar (15-10).
Discounting the opening game of the season, that puts Tullow in a situation where they’ve their last 3 games by 6 points or less, a stat they’ll no doubt love to scrub on Sunday afternoon. I had a chance to catch Kilkenny and Longford at CPL Park last season with a good showing of support for the home side. They managed to push Kilkenny a good stretch of the way too, the game running out 15-10 in favour of the visitors so while the game is a bottom of the table clash, Longford should still provide tough opposition for Tullow.
A win for the maroon and white should be on the cards.
Elsewhere in 1B, Malahide host North Kildare at Estuary Road, Mullingar and Cill Dara face off at Shay Murtagh Park while top of the table Coolmine travel to fifth-placed Wicklow. All games kick off at 2.30pm.
Carlow v Edenderry (Division 2A)
If Carlow had beaten Portarlington on the opening day of the season (they lost by 5 back in September, it would be the Oakpark men sitting at the top of Division 2A as they look to push for promotion back to 1B following last season’s disappointment. Since that loss, they’ve put the head down and picked up three wins on the trot including a narrow 1-point victory over Portlaoise, a clear 38-17 victory over New Ross on the road and another awway victory last weekend, this time on a 28-18 scoreline against Newbridge.
LISTEN: Wes Shirley speaks to KCLR ahead of Edenderry fixture
The new kit that made an appearance in Kildare last weekend may be something of a good omen, but lucky charms aside, they’ll be looking to continue their winning ways against Edenderry who have just one win from four so far this season, that picked up last weekend in a 27-7 victory over New Ross. With Portarlington hosting Newbridge on Sunday – which should see the homeside come away with the points – Carlow will need to put the foot down and should be able to dig deep enough to grab a fourth win and a bonus point to match.
Also in Division 2A this weekend, bottom placed Athboy travel to Allianz Park to take on New Ross while third and fourth face off whil Portlaoise and Railway Union, with near identical league records an 125 points each racked up in four games, will square off.
We’ll have roundups of this weekend’s rugby on The Way It Is on Monday with online coverage across the weekend on the Fanzone. If you’re going to the games, particularly Tullow’s clash with Longford, we’d love to hear from you.