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Important games for Limerick clubs as the AIL resumes action this week-end

By Aidan Corr
ALMOST a decade since Shannon RFC brought their ninth AIL title home to Limerick, the prospects of its immediate return look dim as we go into the business end of this season’s senior club competition. Of our three challengers in division one, fourth placed Garryowen are 17 points behind runaway leaders Cork Constitution with 48 points; Shannon are sixth on 45 points and Young Munster have reaped just 15 points from their 11 matches. From a local point of view, it makes sombre reading.
This coming Saturday, all three are in action. Garryowen will entertain Terenure in Dooradoyle, Shannon are away to Lansdowne and Young Munster are also in Dublin for a game against UCD. Of the three fixtures, Garryowen look the most likely to come away with a victory. They surprised Shannon in their last game in Thomond Park, winning with a bonus point, and if they can reproduce that form they should be capable of getting the victory over the bottom club that would keep them in a challenging position for the semi-finals.
Tom Hayes was not happy with his side’s display last time out and there will certainly be a backlash from Shannon. Out-muscled up front that night against the light blues, there will have to be a big improvement at the set-piece and at the breakdown by the Parish boys if they hope to avoid another defeat.
Much was expected of Young Munster this season but they now find themselves fighting for survival in this premier division. They lost heavily at home to ‘Con’ 5-31, on their last outing and they will have to produce something special if they are to come out tops in Belfield.
In Division 2A, both Limerick clubs are in action on Friday night. With Val McDermott again in splendid form, fifth placed Old Crescent have been running in tries for fun these days but they may find it more difficult when they travel to play Nenagh in Ormond Park. They put in great performances in the derby game against UL Bohs on the 4G pitch recently, and in the 49-17 home win over Blackrock, so they could be hitting form at the right time.
Bohs are also in action on Friday but it will take a major effort from them to get the better of second-placed Cashel, who beat them in Annacotty in the Munster Senior Cup earlierin the season. The Limerick side are in fourth position in the table with 30 points but well adrift of leaders Highfield who are on 51 points with Cashel on 44
Thomond are in a very good position to get clear of the relegation places when they entertain City of Derry in Liam Fitzgerald Park on Saturday. They had a very important away win over Tullamore, 11-15, last time out and while they are second from the bottom, a win in this fixture will see them leap-frog over this week’s opponents. Bruff have been going well also of late and are in third position on 38 points. They make the long trek to fourth placed Omagh and on form, the Kilballyowen boys will be capable of coming away with another win, which would be crucial to their promotion hopes

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