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RE/MAX Leinster League Weekend Preview Week 6

Division 3

This League is even tighter this year normal with the top six teams having realistic promotion ambitions.  In the Rathdrum versus Gorey game, two of these promotion candidates go head to head.  The form guide points to a convincing home win for the Wicklow men and with Tommy Ovary, Conor Parsons and Jay Blithe showing excellent form a bonus point is not out of the question either.

As the League starts to move towards the mid-way stage, Rathdrum are starting to look like Champions elect.  Hot on their heels are Clane who must be ruing that derby defeat to North Kildare.  It's imperative that Clane not only win on Sunday but pick up the bonus point to ensure they keep the pressure on the leaders and with Dave Watkins, Luke McCormack and Ronan Murphy in their backline that should be obtained.

In another top six clash unbeaten Arklow go head to head with Swords.  Swords can't afford to lose this game as it will leave them with a mountain to climb.  Home advantage is crucial and it should be enough to edge Arklow home. Another unbeaten side Athy should have enough to beat Balbriggan at home but Joey Carberry will be hoping his Athy team can pick up the bonus to keep the pressure on the leaders. In the basement battles Birr and Malahide should pick up the points.

Division 2

This league is starting to take shape and it's looking more like it's Newbridge's title to lose. The Rosetown side, although not setting the world alight with their attacking rugby, a only the seventh highest point scorers in the league and only four teams have scored less tries than them. Newbridge's success this season however is built on their defence, a defence that is only conceding an average of 8 points a game, the best in the division and the second best across the three leagues, only Seapoint in Division 1 have better.  The game against Tullow will be interesting.  If Tullow can match the Newbridge forward machine they might have a chance however Newbridge know that if they win Sunday they'll be taking a massive step towards the title and with Johnny Downey and Rory McCann leading their pack it's hard to see anything but a home win in what will be a tight and not a pretty game not that the Newbridge faithful will care.

Enniscorthy and Roscrea know they have to win Sunday and both should pick up the points on Sunday, likewise in Portarlington home advantage should be enough for the home side against a very disappointing Coolmine. Edenderry should have too much for a another disappointing side Longford and in the basement battle Railway Union should pick up their first win of the season.

Division 1

Asbourne make the shortish trip to Skerries on Sunday.  As predicated, Ashbourne have struggled on their return to the top flight as they simply do not have a backline that can compete as this level and the fact that they are only averaging 10 points a game tells you all you need to know.  Skerries have disappointed many so far but with a crippling injury list they will only get better and will return to winning ways this Sunday.

In the North East Derby, Navan's second in a row, they entertain Boyne.  Boyne may have been side tracked by their ambitious off-field plans but this is a game that they will not lack motivation for.  Navan's coach Brad knows his boys can't afford a slip up against Boyne if they are too keep the pressure on the leaders and with Shane McEntee's Boyne having an even worse injury list than Skerries, Navan should have enough fire power to take the points.

Fourth place Dundalk will be looking to get back to winning wins down in Westmanstown but the Guards have under-performed dramatically this season, their new coaches this year Kevin Dowling and ex-Leinster player Jimmy Norton who is playing and coaching have enough experience between them and talent at their disposal to turn it around, don't be surprised if the Guards take the spoils against Van Zyl's men.

In the bottom half of the table Portlaoise have shown signs of a recovery, they were leading Seapoint 12 - 6 with 15 minutes to go in their last league game.  They have a big bruising pack who love winter football, which should be enough to win a tight game in Sidney Parade. Wicklow on the other hand don't seem prepared for Winter football.  Their out-half McCarthy is a lovely footballer probably the best in Division 1 but is more suited to hard pitches.  Tullamore, like all midlands teams it seems, have an excellent pack and this pack should have enough grunt to ensure the win for the Offaly men.

Last but by no means least we have the game of the weekend, League Leaders Cill Dara travel to second placed Seapoint, two teams of similar styles and if it conditions are good we could have another Cill Dara v Navan game on our hands.  Weather forecasts, however, are poor and Cill Dara will probably have the edge up front. The Kildare could be taking an unlikely step towards the league title this Sunday.

by Daniel Quinn, © 2007-11-30