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RE/MAX Leinster League Weekend Preview Week 2

Division 3

Traditionally the hardest division to predict although this was not the case last Sunday, as results generally went as expected. This week, two fixtures stand out, as TJ Ryan brings his Clane side to a rejuvenated Gorey and Rathdrum entertain Swords. The winners of these games will have to fancy their chances of a successful season and it will be interesting to see how Gorey cope with Clane's very physical and abrasive style. Rathdrum and Clane will continue with their 100% records.

In the other Division 3 games this weekend, it's hard to see anything other than wins for Athy and Arklow with tentative nods towards Balbriggan and North Kildare as they hope to pick up the winning points this weekend.

Division 2

Probably the biggest win last weekend was Newbridge RFC down in Roscrea. The 'bridge follow this up with a game this weekend against Railway Union who shipped over 50 points last week, so one has to fancy Newbridge to pick up 5 points and to become the league front runners. That said, one would have to question whether they have the strength in depth to remain there.

The game of the weekend in Division 2 will be down in Lea Road as Portarlington entertain Mullingar. With the Laois and Offaly football championships almost at an end Portarlington should have enough in the bank to take the points here in a tight game. Longford and Kilkenny should continue their winning ways, with Coolmine and Roscrea getting off the mark.

Even at this early stage it looks like this Division will be decided by the super six of Newbridge, Portarlington, Longford, Coolmine, Roscrea and Mullingar.

Division 1

The big news this week are the rumblings emanating from Ashbourne Rugby Club that the former Ireland, London Irish, Shannon and Munsterman Eddie Halvey has signed up for the season. It will be interesting see if a guy approaching his mid-thirties can have any impact on this progressive club. Halvey was always a very talented player but his attitude and commitment was never the best and this could be a very poor signing. Ashbourne need to learn that while a competitive pack will keep you in Division 1 you need a backline that can score tries on a regular basis to be challenging at the top end. The Meath side learnt a harsh lesson last week and it's possible they could be at the end of another one this week as they visit Navan, who beat a highly rated Tullamore side away from home last week. If Ashbourne can keep it tight they might have a chance.

Two interesting games this week are the Skerries trip to Seapoint and Cill Dara's visit to Dundalk. The Seasiders face a tough visit to Killiney.  This game is a contrast in styles where the more forward orientated style of Skerries clashes with the Brazil like free flowing style of Seapoint. The boy wonder Felix Jones lined out with OB last week and if unavailable this week his loss could be crucial. Seapoint do have an under-rated pack and I think they should do enough up front to win what should be a tight game.

However it's the game up in Dundalk that should attract the neutral.  Cill Dara seem to have added a wide game to their bow this season and with Dundalk running 5 tries in an impressive demolition of Portlaoise last week we could have another high scoring game here. If Dundalk can contain Cill Dara's Va'enuku, with 36 year old Dan Van Zyl controlling things in the pocket it should point to a win for the El Paso boys.

Shane McEntee's Boyne should pick up all points available against a Portlaoise who surely can't be as bad again as they were last week. Questions are already been asked in the midlands whether it was wise to hold on to coach Igoe for another season.

In the other games Wicklow although too dependant on Aussie out-half Shaun McCarthy should pick up their first win of the season against Monkstown, joining them in the first win category should be Tullamore, who hope to get their ambitions back on track.

by Daniel Quinn, © 2007-10-18