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Re/Max Leinster League Weekend Preview Week 11

Division Three

First a big leinsterfans.com congratulations to Rathdrum and Clane Rugby Clubs who after some unexpected results last weekend both found themselves promoted to Division Two. Rathdrum still have two rounds left but Clane face their last game away to CYM this Sunday and will no doubt pick up the five points on offer to put some pressure on Rathdrum, before retiring to Manzor's pub in Clane for some end of season refreshments.

Clane had a meteoric rise and fall a few seasons ago and although they suffer from being so close to Naas, they, like all Kildare clubs, are progressive and seem to have a good structure in place to move forward. Rathdrum will be looking for the victory to seal the title on Sunday. That said, this title winning chance is against Wicklow rivals Arklow, who themselves need the win to consolidate third spot and keep their own promotion hopes alive. Rathdrum only need one win from two games to clinch the title whereas Arklow need to win their last two. Maybe the greater need will drive Arklow home in what will be a very tight game.

Clondalkin should pick up five points from their trip up the M50 to Swords likewise a resurgent Gorey should pick up at least four points from their trip to North County Dublin. With Gorey and Clondalkin tipped to win, Athy need to win at home to North Kildare or else they face another season in Division Three. North Kildare have a slim chance of promotion and last weeks win followed an amazing J2 Towns Cup victory over Navan, a result that has come under the radar but as given the boys from the Maws a real fillip and they will return home on Sunday with four points.

Division Two

Tullow must rue that opening day defeat to Enniscorthy because since then they have gathered tremendous momentum and it's hard to see beyond a five point haul for the Carlow men.  Tullow are guaranteed at least third place and the play-off and with a Towns Cup semi-final to look forward to it's been a very successful season for last seasons Division Three Champions. Likewise Enniscorthy, who were relegated from Division One last season, have bounced back remarkably and are only four points away from guaranteed promotion and they should pick up those four points plus one on Sunday.

Newbridge, powered by a monster pack, are on the verge of creating history on Sunday.  Never before has Newbridge in any of its guises competed in the top ranks of Junior rugby.  They have really turned the screw in the New Year whereas before Christmas they were grinding out wins.  Now they have suddenly found their try scoring touch and are rattling up the tries including five last week in Edenderry.  Newbridge will win on Sunday and should pick up the Division Two title and will be deserving Champions.

Division One

The last day of the season and only the Monkstown and Boyne games are dead rubbers.  The other four games will decide who enters the relegation/promotion play-off and who wins the Leinster League and gets the opportunity to enter the AIL. Ashbourne put in a remarkable performance last week only to come up short against title favourites Cill Dara but that was the strongest Ashbourne side that has taken the field this season and that result will give them the belief that they can go to Dundalk and win.  Mark Woods was in fine form against Cill Dara and his match up against Dan Van Zyl will be interesting.  It's not so long ago that they formed a half-back partnership for Clontarf in the AIL.  Ashbourne's greater need will be rewarded, but they will be hoping that Navan put away Skerries in Holmpatrick.

Navan have a slim chance of winning the title but that slim chance will be enough motivation to beat a Skerries side that haven't registered a League victory since the 4th of November. Navan will be praying for miracles in Ashtown Lane and Beechpark but with Seapoint in fine form it's hard to see anything but a Seapoint win against a Wicklow side with one eye on the their Towns Cup semi-final.  Seapoint have had another fine season and are still in contention in the Metro Cup but they will rue those two draws against Cill Dara and Navan, for a win in either game would have assured that they and not Cill Dara would go in as favourites on final Sunday.

This is new territory for this Cill Dara side but with U/19 World Cup winner Damien Broughall and the experienced Tongan International Silla Va'Enuku in their ranks they have players with plenty of experience of big games. Cill Dara finish up with a North Midlands derby against Portlaoise.  Portlaoise and Cill Dara have already met twice this season and stand with one win apiece but Portlaoise's win came in the Hosie Cup final. This defeat and the chance of gaining revenge will be used as motivation by Cill Dara, were any more motivation than a chance to win Division One required.  After last Sunday's narrow win Cill Dara will be not as complacent against a game Portlaoise side, who like nothing more than to be party poopers. But on this forthcoming Sunday there'll be no miracles in Beechpark and Cill Dara will be crowned Leinster Division One Champions for the first time in their short history.

leinsterfans.com Leinster League Team of the Season 2008

  1. Kenny Dorian (Dundalk)
  2. Ger Moore (Cill Dara)
  3. Rueben Leilue (Wicklow)
  4. Rory McCann (Newbridge)
  5. Brad Harris (Navan)
  6. Johnny Downey (Newbridge)
  7. Garvan De Bruir (Cill Dara)
  8. Jonathan Walsh (Seapoint)
  9. Richie Hughes (Tullamore)
  10. Brian Keegan (Seapoint)
  11. Greg Burns (Cill Dara)
  12. Sila Va'Enuku (Cill Dara)
  13. Killian Kennedy (Navan)
  14. Tommy Overy (Rathdrum)
  15. Karl Manning (Navan)

by Daniel Quinn, © 2008-02-27

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