Horan, surprisingly excluded from the Munster squad for tonight’s clash with Leinster at Thomond Park a day after announcing his planned retirement from the game, will instead take to the field for his beloved Shannon as they bid to keep their place in the top flight of Irish club rugby after the most difficult season in their history.
Shannon had a disastrous start to the campaign but have steadily improved and travel across the city toClifford Park to face a side who haven’t enjoyed much success of late.
Remarkably, Young Munster will be trying to avoid going down to their seventh successive league defeat with nothing having gone right for them since they lost to Clontarf in February.
It is a massive game also for bottom side UL Bohemians, who must win to have any hope of retaining their Division 1A status.
They recovered from a couple of huge defeats to Clontarf and Lansdowne to beat Young Munster, but could find St Mary’s a different proposition who showed character to come back and beat Shannon with 14 men last week.
There’s nothing much at stake but pride at Castle Avenue between Clontarf (2) and Cork Constitution (3). Again, there are four points between the teams but, with a superior points differential, Clontarf could lose and still stay ahead.
Dolphin, however, could jump up a place from fifth to fourth by beating Garryowen at Musgrave Park. Dolphin’s recent form suggests they might just get the result they’re seeking and they received a huge boost with a bonus point win away to Clontarf last week.
Ballynahinch are at home to Blackrock in Division 1B and look certain to clinch the title and promotion. Nine points clear, they only need one more point to secure the trophy and look sure to do so against fifth place Blackrock.
Advantage for second place lies with UCD who, with a game in hand over Dublin University, take on Malone at Belfield. They should be good enough to win even if their student rivals expect to beat Bruff on their home patch.
As Bruff struggle in ninth place, things aren’t any better for Ballymena, who don’t have much of a chance of beating fourth place Buccaneers at Dubarry Park.
In Division 2A, Midleton need to secure a bonus point win over Old Wesley and for Greystones to lose at home if they are to avoid relegation. But Wesley have shown some good form lately with a narrow loss to Corinthians and good win over Highfield.
Naas can win a shot at promotion, via a play-off, if they beat Instonians at Forenaughts, while Nenagh Ormond, in fourth, take on NUIM Barnhall; a win for Nenagh and defeat for Naas would give the Tipperary side that play-off spot so it’s all to play for in at least two venues today.