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RE/MAX Leinster League Weekend Preview Week 3

Division 3

With no real upsets the last day it's hard to envisage any this week either. Rathdrum secured a fine win over a good Swords side 2 weeks ago with Tommy Overy impressing at full-back, they are starting to build momentum and should be too strong for CYM.

The pick of the Division Three ties this week-end is the Kildare derby, Clane v North Kildare, traditionally no love loss between these clubs it will again be tight but North Kildare are not as coherent as they have been the last couple seasons and home advantage will allow Clane to edge it.

With Athy hoping to build their team around the mercurial Ross Bell they will have been shocked to see he has signed for AIL side Naas, Athy do however have enough talent to dispose of Malahide who, like all Dublin teams, don't travel well. Balbriggan and Swords should pick up the points this weekend putting them right back into contention and I would expect Clondalkin to get off the mark this weekend as well.

Division 2

For Leinster supporters the big interest outside of the RDS has to be the Victor Costello v Bernard Jackman sideshow that will be Longford v Coolmine. Costello and Jackman's former Sale team mate Mel Deane has been brought in to the Longford set-up to assist with their current coaching team and for those who don't know Jackman is the current head coach in Coolmine. Coolmine have started poorly despite being tipped by many to do well this year and not many fancy the trip to Longford, unless your looking for a tax incentive, Longford to win.

Another interesting game will be Des Rigney's Newbridge who travel to Mullingar. They travel probably more in hope than expectation as not many return with points from Cullion. Mullingar to get back on track.

The surprise package this season has to be Portarlington, abysmal in the Hosie cup they have turned it around at a tremendous rate and credit must be given to new coach Sam Rough, they face a stern test this week and it will be interesting to see how they cope with the tag of favourites.

Elsewhere, Tullow should be too good for Ross at home and I would expect Derry and Kilkenny to pick up away wins as both Roscrea and Railway look to be heading towards a long season.

Division 1

First up this weekend is probably the game of the weekend, Tullamore at home to Seapoint under lights down in Spollenstown. Seapoint are one of the clubs in Division 1 without floodlights and could be under-estimating the advantage this will give to Tullamore. Tullamore were disappointed with their performance against Navan where the weight of expectation seem to hold them back. They responded superbly last week and Kevin Lewis's side should have enough to shock Seapoint, who look like they will have to do without Felix Jones's services again.

25 miles south across the country the next day Cill Dara host Boyne in an intriguing fixture. This game, as is always the case between these two sides, will be very tight but new Coach Enda Finn has brought an expansive approach to Cill Dara and they should get the rewards on Sunday. An interesting side note sees the return of former Cill Dara and Newbridge College Out-half Ryan Cunningham.

Up in Dundalk we might have a try fest as two very expansive teams go head to head. This is really Shaun McCarthy v Dan Van Zyl but the former Springbok has the better players in support and Dundalk could pick up 5 points here. Speaking of 5 points it's hard to imagine Navan picking up anything less down in Tougher. Portlaoise have already shipped a whopping 57 points in 2 games. The return of Jamie Kavanagh might help but it could be a long winter for the Laois lads.

Former senior heavy weights Skerries and Monkstown could head to head in a game being dubbed the blast from the past, Skerries were rocked by injuries against Seapoint and Monkstown should sneak the points in a close game. The last game this weekend is almost dead rubber as winless Garda and Ashbourne go toe to toe, in what might be a low scoring game. Expect the boot of Mark Woods to be the difference.

by Daniel Quinn, © 2007-11-01