2019-20 All Ireland League 1B Club Rugby Men Editorial

Energia AIL 1B. Week 13 Preview

AIL 1B head into the last third of their season tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon and it’s still all to play for for nine of the ten teams.

There is the proviso, that Highfield look well set for the automatic promotion spot as they sit nine points clear at the top. It’s not so much a case of the Cork side being impervious from a few losses, they have lost two of their last five games,  more that it doesn’t look like any of the other sides are prepared to string together a meaningful run these days!

It’s another set of fixtures this week were the results could go either way,

Looking at the league standing you would think some of the games were a foregone conclusion.

However when you look at the current form in this topsy turvy league  then the picture is not quite so clear.

Energia AIL 1B Week 13 Predictions

Banbridge (47%) v St Mary’s College (13%)

Previous meeting. St Mary’s College 16 Banbridge 10 (Week 6)

Banbridge went on a three match winning run after their last meeting but the Ulster side have hit the buffers in recent weeks only winning one of their last three.

Our friends at St Mary’s are in a bit of a slump, winning only two of their last six which has included losing their last three on the bounce.

Banbridge, however have turned Rifle Park into a fortress winning five successive games there since losing to Highfield in Week 2 and their impressive home form should be enough to see them through in this one.

Highfield (60%) v Navan (0%)

Previous meeting. W/O for Highfield.

It’s the first meeting for this pair this season but the element of surprise probably won’t be enough for Navan to cause a major upset in this one.

Highfield have wobbled slightly in recent weeks, losing their unbeaten record with defeats in Weeks 8 and 10.  However they have won their last two and appear to be fully regrouped for that final push and cap off a remarkable two seasons.

Navan have shipped a massive 300 points this season albeit 28 of those were lost by default following the walkover. However, defence appears to be their issue and leading scorers Highfield are just the team to exploit it.

Malone (53%) v  Old Belvedere (53%)

Previous meeting. Old Belvedere 26 Malone 21 (Week 6)

This match should be part of an AIL double header at Gibson Park as the women’s side also welcome their counterparts from Belvo.

The visitors will be buoyed by their win against Banbridge last weekend and will be keen to take on a second Ulster club as they start to regroup for a charge into the top four after losing three in row following their last meeting.

Malone will also see themselves as a top four side and they will be keen to stop Belvo’s revival in its tracks though poor conditions underfoot may hamper their challenge.

I suspect this one could go either way but I’ll edge towards Malone coming out on top.

Old Wesley (13%) v City of Armagh (67%)

Previous meeting. City of Armagh 13 Old Wesley 40 (Week 6)

Despite sitting in second place in the league Old Wesley are on a four match run without a win and appear to be a touch vulnerable of late, including two workings over from Malone.

Of course, City of Armagh had worked over Malone either side of those matches and the unwritten law of “score projection” points to a sizable win for Armagh. 😯

In all seriousness, Armagh will be keen to get back on track, after slipping up to Highfield, last week and as the form team they should get the win.

Shannon (93%) v Naas (87%)

Previous meeting. Naas 16 Shannon 14 (Week 6)

The leagues two form teams meet in what should be the game of the round. There is nothing between them since their last meeting, both winning four from six games and both have won their last three.

Shannon are marginally ahead in the stats having picked up an extra bonus point but Naas’ revival has been the most pronounced having ended the first third of the season with only one win to their name.

I’m not seeing anything to push this one way or the other so I’ll go with a draw!

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