Dave Mervyn looks ahead to this weekend's AIL action.


Everything you need to know about this weekend's AIL action

Dave Mervyn looks ahead to this weekend's AIL action.

Everything you need to know about this weekend's AIL action

Dave Mervyn looks ahead to this weekend's AIL action.

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated.

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (4th) v GARRYOWEN (5th), College Park

All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Dublin University: LDLWWWLWLLWWWWLWW; Garryowen: WWLLLWWWWLWWLLWLL

All-Ireland League Top Scorers: Dublin University: Points: James Fennelly 110; Tries: Giuseppe Coyne, Rob Russell 5 each; Garryowen: Points: Peadar Collins 71; Tries: Diarmuid Barron 7

Dublin University are hoping their dream-like season did not peak with last week's Colours win at Belfield, a result which confirmed their first ever Division 1A semi-final. Their resources are stretched today with captain Colm Hogan sidelined, some key men away with Leinster 'A', and Trinity Under-20s in a Fraser McMullen Cup semi-final.

This is a dead rubber as Garryowen cannot catch the students, and next Saturday's Bateman Cup final against City of Armagh is now their big focus. Injuries have hampered them, particularly in the front row, but Andy Keating and Sean Rennison are back to bolster the pack and backs Tommy O'Hora and Ben Swindlehurst complete the four changes from last week.

Lansdowne are the only away team to triumph at College Park in the league this season, and Trinity will be doing their best to sign off at home with just that one blemish. They are boosted by Michael Silvester's return at full-back, while Cian Crotty, Donal Liddy, James Fennelly, Joe Horan and Bart Vermeulen are also handed starts.

Recent League Meetings - Saturday, February 10, 2018: Garryowen 52 Dublin University 20, Dooradoyle; Saturday, October 6, 2018: Garryowen 27 Dublin University 25, Dooradoyle

LANSDOWNE (2nd) v CLONTARF (3rd), Aviva Stadium back pitch

All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Lansdowne: LLWWWWWWWWLWLWLWW; Clontarf: WWWWWWLLWWLLWWWWL

All-Ireland League Top Scorers: Lansdowne: Points: Scott Deasy 109; Tries: Peter Sullivan 14; Clontarf: Points: David Joyce 105; Tries: Matt D'Arcy 8

Centre Conor Murphy, scrum half James Kenny and number 8 Willie Fay have been promoted from the bench to start Lansdowne's final home game of the regular season. They reclaimed second spot last week and aim to stay ahead of Clontarf in this head-to-head clash for a home semi-final.

'Tarf's late defeat to Terenure College have left them three points behind Lansdowne entering the final round. They lost 38-8 on their most recent visit to the Aviva Stadium's back pitch, but did beat Mike Ruddock's men 16-3 at Castle Avenue in October when centre Matt D'Arcy scored the first of his eight tries so far this season.

These are two of the best tight fives on the club scene, Lansdowne's front row showing their scoring threat with Martin Mulhall and former captain Ian Prendiville both touching down against Garryowen, while hooker Paddy Finlay is edging closer to his rampaging best just in time for Clontarf's tilt at a third league title.

Recent League Meetings - Saturday, January 6, 2018: Lansdowne 38 Clontarf 8, Aviva Stadium back pitch; Friday, October 5, 2018: Clontarf 16 Lansdowne 3, Castle Avenue

SHANNON (10th) v CORK CONSTITUTION (1st), Thomond Park back pitch

All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Shannon: LWWLWLLLWWLLLLLLL; Cork Constitution: WWWLWWWWWWWWLWWLW

All-Ireland League Top Scorers: Shannon: Points: Jake Flannery 69; Tries: Jake Flannery, Eathon Moloney, Pa Ryan, Nathan Randles 4 each; Cork Constitution: Points: Aidan Moynihan 142; Tries: JJ O'Neill 7

Can Shannon pull off a last-day escape or will last year's Division 1B champions slide back to the second tier? Tom Hayes' young side have fallen four points adrift at the bottom and will likely need the full five against table toppers Cork Constitution in order to avoid automatic relegation.

The second half of the season has been very unforgiving on Shannon who have won only seven points since Christmas. They will face a Cork Con team missing provincial call-ups Shane Daly, Ross O'Neill, Sean French and Alex McHenry, the latter scoring two tries in his last two outings for the Leesiders.

This is the first time Shannon have hosted Con in the league in six years, back when current Under-20 Grand Slam winners Jake Flannery and Craig Casey were both just 13. They could really do with one or both of the Ireland U-20 pair this afternoon as they try to find a spark that has been missing from their attack of late.

Recent League Meetings - Saturday, March 2, 2013: Shannon 45 Cork Constitution 26, Coonagh; Saturday, October 6, 2018: Cork Constitution 27 Shannon 7, Temple Hill

TERENURE COLLEGE (9th) v YOUNG MUNSTER (6th), Lakelands Park

All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Terenure College: LLLWLLLLLLWLWLWWW; Young Munster: WLWLLLDLLLLLWLWLW

All-Ireland League Top Scorers: Terenure College: Points: James Thornton 87; Tries: Matthew Byrne 8; Young Munster: Points: Shane Airey 59; Tries: Darragh O'Neill 5

The first of two showdowns between relegation-threatened clubs in the top flight today. Home advantage could prove vital for Terenure as they target a fifth win in six matches and hope it is enough to finish outside of the bottom two. If their season ends here, this is James Blaney's final match after seven years as 'Nure's head coach.

BALLYNAHINCH (1st) v ST. MARY'S COLLEGE (5th), Ballymacarn Park

All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Ballynahinch: LDWWLWWLWLWLWWWWW; St. Mary's College: WLLWLWWWLLLWLWLWW

All-Ireland League Top Scorers: Ballynahinch: Points: Richard Reaney 54; Tries: Ross Adair, Rhys O'Donnell 7 each; St. Mary's College: Points: Conor Dean 82; Tries: Hugo Conway 6

It is a big day for Ballynahinch as they look to turn their new-found three-point lead into automatic promotion and Division 1B silverware. Ulster have not had a Division 1A club since 'Hinch were relegated in 2016 and, with five wins on the bounce, Brian McLaughlin's men are almost there.

St. Mary's would love to spoil the party at Ballymacarn Park, having strung together four victories in the last six rounds. In order to reach the promotion play-offs, they need a win tomorrow and for other results to go their way. They came through an 11-try humdinger against Malone, with winger Hugo Conway grabbing his sixth try of the season.

'Hinch's Ross Adair and Rhys O'Donnell are one ahead of him, the former scoring five tries in as many games. Ulster's David Busby made a welcome return from long-term injury last week and this looks like a clash he could flourish in, as 'Hinch and Mary's usually produce a high-scoring encounter whenever they meet.

Recent League Meetings - Saturday, February 21, 2015: St. Mary’s College 32 Ballynahinch 25, Templeville Road; Saturday, October 6, 2018: St. Mary's College 37 Ballynahinch 27, Templeville Road

BANBRIDGE (7th) v OLD BELVEDERE (6th), Rifle Park

All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Banbridge: LWWWLLWLLWWLLLWLW; Old Belvedere: WDLLWLLWWLLWWLWLW

All-Ireland League Top Scorers: Banbridge: Points: Adam Doherty 78; Tries: Peter Cromie 8; Old Belvedere: Points: Steve Crosbie 127; Tries: Jack Keating 13

A glance at the Division 1B table shows that eight clubs could still finish in the promotion play-off places, including Banbridge and Old Belvedere. A hectic final round awaits with Bann boss Simon McKinstry sticking with the winning formula from last Saturday's hard-earned 24-20 victory at Buccaneers.

His unchanged starting XV includes Ulster's Jonny Stewart at scrum half, Caleb Montgomery and Greg Jones in the back row, and Ireland Under-20 prop Callum Reid. Having secured their divisional status, Bann director of rugby Andy Duke said: "We've nothing to lose now. There's an admittedly outside chance of the play-offs, but the lads will feel free to throw the ball about and go for the tries."

Belvedere showed what they can do when knocking Old Wesley off the summit - 30-24. Kiwi lock Valentine Tauamiti and Karl Miller come into the pack, the latter joining a rejigged back row that is missing Leinster 'A' call-up Gerard Hill. Centre Ben Carty and winger David Butler are the two changes behind the scrum.

Recent League Meetings - Saturday, January 6, 2018: Old Belvedere 18 Banbridge 15, Anglesea Road; Saturday, October 6, 2018: Old Belvedere 42 Banbridge 28, Anglesea Road

MALONE (4th) v BALLYMENA (10th), Gibson Park

All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Malone: WWLWWWLLLWWWLLLWL; Ballymena: LLWLLLWWWLLLLLLLL

All-Ireland League Top Scorers: Malone: Points: Rory Campbell 75; Tries: Rory Campbell, Peter Cooper 4 each; Ballymena: Points: Tim Small 127; Tries: Connor Smyth 5

Relegated Ballymena bow out from Division 1B with a final Ulster derby, visiting a Malone outfit that could prolong head coach Paddy Armstrong's final season as they look to advance to the play-offs. Malone's backs coach Josh Pentland starts at inside centre, with Ben Halliday and Dave Cave added to the front row.

Rodger McBurney, who started last Saturday at full-back against Naas, and James Taggart are ruled out for the Braidmen this week. The club's ongoing struggles with injuries have even drawn 40-year-old veteran lock Ian Caldwell from the fourths team to play for Andy Graham's senior side. They will be relying on Ulster's Marcus Rea and Bruce Houston tomorrow, and possibly Clive Ross if released.

Hoping for brighter days ahead at Eaton Park, Ballymena head coach Graham said: "It's about regrouping and recruiting now, but also building on what we have, the players we have. We've a young squad and a lot of guys need time to develop and stuff, so we'll work hard during the summer and hopefully build for the future."

Recent League Meetings - Saturday, February 28, 2015: Malone 10 Ballymena 13, Gibson Park; Saturday, October 6, 2018: Ballymena 0 Malone 27, Eaton Park

NAAS (3rd) v BUCCANEERS (9th), Forenaughts

All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Naas: WWLWWLLLLWDLWLWWW; Buccaneers: LLWLLLWLLWWLWWLLL

All-Ireland League Top Scorers: Naas: Points: Peter Osborne 156; Tries: Andy Ellis 10; Buccaneers: Points: Luke Carty 116; Tries: Shane Layden 6

Buccaneers' six losing bonus points show they were not far off winning a few more games and joining the teams above them in the promotion play-off mix. Instead, last week's 24-20 loss to Banbridge leaves them battling relegation - they will host a play-off semi-final next Saturday, with Queen's University the likely opponents.

Johne Murphy's Naas are seeking their fourth victory on the trot, with a five-point return tomorrow giving them their best shot at pipping Ballynahinch and Old Wesley to the title. Versatile back Peter Osborne (156 points) is the leading scorer across the top two divisions, while centre/winger Andy Ellis is now in double figures for tries after two in the last two rounds.

Captain Shane Layden continues to carry the fight for Buccs, taking his try haul to six against Bann, while forwards Martin Staunton and Evan Galvin emerged with a good deal of credit from their performances last time out. Whether it is Richard Fahy or Osborne at number 9, it should be a cracking contest with Buccs' Ireland Under-20 scrum half Colm Reilly.

Recent League Meetings - Saturday, March 25, 2017: Buccaneers 30 Naas 23, Dubarry Park; Saturday, October 6, 2018: Buccaneers 13 Naas 36, Dubarry Park

OLD WESLEY (2nd) v CITY OF ARMAGH (8th), Energia Park, Donnybrook

All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Old Wesley: WDLWLWLWWWLWWWLWL; City of Armagh: LDWLWWLWWLDWLWWLL

All-Ireland League Top Scorers: Old Wesley: Points: Rory Stynes 154; Tries: Paul Harte 6; City of Armagh: Points: Cormac Fox 77; Tries: Neil Faloon 5

Failing to finish their opportunities is what has been letting City of Armagh down. Still, having come up via the play-offs last year, this has been a very good season of consolidation for Willie Faloon's squad who could yet end in the top-four and also have next week's Bateman Cup final to build towards.

For their final round trip to Donnybrook, winger Ryan Purvis and out-half Harry Boyd get the nod along with front rowers Daryl Morton, Jonny Morton and Paul Mullen, as well as blindside flanker Nigel Simpson. Old Wesley were 22-17 winners when the teams met in the opening round in October.

Wesley have played some of their best rugby this year against Ulster opposition, and will be fired up to bounce back strongly from losing at Old Belvedere. They will not want that loss to define their season, and even if 'Hinch remain top, Morgan Lennon's charges will need some momentum to take into the play-offs. As things stand, they would be at home to Naas next Saturday.

Recent League Meeting - Saturday, October 6, 2018: City of Armagh 17 Old Wesley 22, Palace Grounds

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