THE Ulster Bank League cranks up another gear this Saturday with now just five series of regular season fixtures to come in each of the five Divisions.
In Division 1A, second-placed Young Munster and fifth-placed Garryowen face key clashes as the battle to secure a top four play-off place in a fiercely competitive top flight continues.
Second-placed Young Munster, fresh from a thrilling victory over St Mary's College in their previous outing, face a trip to the Belfield Bowl to take on UCD this Saturday, 2.30pm.
Munsters. who suffered a disappointing Munster Senior Cup final defeat to Cork Con at the weekend, currently trail Division 1A leaders Lansdowne by seven points in the table. Munsters' are four points clear of third-placed Cork Constitution in the battle to secure a home semi-final in the play-offs.
The fiercely competitive nature of Division 1A this season was highlighted with Garryowen's victory over UCD last time out lifting the 'Light Blues' up to a lofty fifth place in the table.
Conan O'Doyle's side, who face a trip to College Park to take on Dublin University this Saturday, 2.30pm, moved up from just above the relegation zone to reignite their semi-final play-off hopes with that win over UCD last month.
However, with the Dooradoyle side lying just six points above the relegation play-off position, Garryowen have little margin for error at this stage of the season.
Meanwhile, in Division 1B, third-placed UL-Bohs, who lost out to table toppers Bucaneers in their previous outing, will look to get back to winning ways when making the long trip to Eaton Park to face Ballymena this Saturday, 2.30pm.
The Red, Red Robins have slipped sixteen points behind Buccs' as a result of their frustrating 39-27 home defeat last time out.
The top four sides in 1B at the end of the regular season will be involved in the promotion play-off series this April.
Meanwhile, also in 1B, eighth-placed Shannon will look to get back to winning ways when hosting UCC on the back pitch at Thomond Park on Saturday. Shannon's recent revival in fortunes ended with a 13-point defeat to Dolphin last time out.
Shannon are now just two points clear of ninth-placed Galwegians who occupy the relegation play-off position in Division 1B.
Elsewhere, in Division 2B, fourth-placed Old Crescent travel to ninth-placed Bective Rangers. Crescent suffered a 30-19 home defeat to table toppers Armagh last time out. The top four sides in 2B at the end of the regular season will be involved in a promotion play-off series.
Also in 2B on Saturday, basement side Thomond, with just one win and a draw from 13 fixtures, host sixth-placed MU Barnhall.
In 2C, fifth-placed Bruff entertain leaders Navan.
Bruff scored a precious 13-10 away win over Tullamore in their last outing.