GARRYOWEN’S battle to avoid relegation from the All-Ireland League’s top flight for the first time in their history reaches a critical stage this Saturday when the ‘light blues’ host Cork Constitution at Dooradoyle, 2.30pm.
Former Garryowen head coach, Paul Cunningham did the ‘light blues’ a significant favour on Saturday last when his current charges Old Belvedere defeated struggling Ballynahinch in Division 1A of the All-Ireland League.
Second-from-bottom ‘Hinch did pick up a losing bonus point in their 23-17 defeat to title-chasing Belvo’, however. The result leaves the Ulster side three points clear of bottom-placed Garryowen with just five rounds of fixtures to come in the top flight.
Garryowen’s opponents on Saturday, Cork Con’ are currently third in the table.
Elsewhere in 1A, fifth-placed Young Munster, fresh from their excellent home win over Lansdowne last time out, travel to Anglesea Road to face title-chasing Old Belvedere.
This is the first of three successive weekends of fixtures in the top flight. Garryowen face a home tie with Clontarf on March 22, while Munsters face Ballynahinch.
Resilient Shannon moved up to fifth place in the Division 1B table with a smashing 10-5 home win over promotion-chasing Corinthians in a re-arranged fixture at Coonagh on Sunday.
Shannon’s next outing on Saturday is against local rivals, UL-Bohemian at Annacotty.
UL-Bohs are currently fourth in the table on 39 points, eight behind Corinthians who occupy the promotion play-off berth.
In Division 2A, Bruff’s relegation worries have intensified with a disappointing 32-5 thumping away to Seapoint on Sunday.
Bruff currently lie seven points adrift of second-from-bottom Old Crescent and are nine points adrift of 14th-placed Naas.
There are now just three rounds of regular season fixtures to go and both Limerick sides will be desperate for points this weekend.
Bruff host Queen’s University in a crucial fixture this Saturday at Kilballyowen Park, while Old Crescent entertain third-placed Ballymena at Rosbrien.
Meanwhile, in Division 2B, promotion chasing Thomond travel to Armagh in a crucial fixture for the Fitzgerald Park side.
Also in the same division, another Limerick side, Richmond, head to Dublin to face Suttonians.