AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 3: Saturday, December 5
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated -
Banbridge (8th) v Ards (11th), Rifle Park
Two wins so far for Banbridge and a handful of bonus points sees them a point ahead of their Ulster rivals Ards when the two meet this weekend. Ards, however, have played an extra game and so will see this as a chance to gain some ground.
Ards come in to this game on the back of two wins, while Banbridge lost to Nenagh Ormond last time out.
Barnhall (5th) v Sunday's Well (7th), Parsonstown
Three wins and a draw for the Leixlip side sees them just outside the play-off spots at this stage of the season. Sunday's Well are only two points behind them in the table, so this is a crunch game for both sides to keep them in the hunt.
Barnhall put one over on Wanderers last time out and drew with Nenagh Ormond before that so they will have high hopes for this game. The 'Well have beaten Suttonians and Ards in recent weeks.
County Carlow (16th) v Queens (2nd), Oak Park
Probably not the tie Carlow would have wished for after a few weeks' break. Queen's University are flying high only a point behind Midleton (the only team to beat them in the league so far) at the top of the table.
Carlow have yet to win a game and have managed only a losing bonus point so far and they will struggle to bring down this talented Queen's side even down at Oak Park.
Connemara (15th) v Wanderers (4th), Monastery Field
Connemara's sole win so far came against Ards back in October and they come into this game on the back of a couple of big losses to Queen's University and Rainey Old Boys.
Visitors Wanderers are tucked in in fourth place and are just five points behind leaders Midleton. They put 20-odd points on Rainey who put 38 on Connemara but they also lost to Barnhall last time out in the league, so they will be hoping to get back to winning ways this weekend at Monastery Field.
Midleton (1st) v Nenagh Ormond (3rd), Towns Park
This is the tie of the weekend in Division 3. With Queen's University likely to pick up points in Carlow, both sides will need a win to keep them ahead of the chasing pack.
Midleton, like Lansdowne in Division 2, are unbeaten with perhaps the only blemish being that they have only picked up one try-scoring bonus point.
The Tipperary club are only four points behind thanks in part to three bonus points collected along the way. This one looks like being a good old fashioned Munster derby and is well worth the visit if you are in Midleton on Saturday.
Navan (9th) v Instonians (6th), Balreask Old
Division 3 newcomers Navan have had a mixed season with two strong wins in October and an early run in the AIB Cup but life outside the Leinster Junior League is tough and three losses in their last three league games has shown the Meath side what is required to survive.
Instonians have a game in hand against Connemara and will see this weekend as a chance to jump into the top four depending on the results elsewhere. Navan could do with a win to keep them on course but may find the gritty Belfast outfit a tough ask.
Portadown (13th) v Rainey Old Boys (10th), Chambers Park
The Ports are just clear of the red zone at the moment thanks to two wins and a losing bonus point. They pulled off a surprise win against Nenagh Ormond back in October but have struggled to build on that great result.
Rainey, now well established in the AIB League, have yet to rediscover the magic formula that saw them win promotion and an AIB Junior Cup some seasons back. Mid table at present, the men from Magherafelt are a point ahead of their Ulster rivals thanks to a try-scoring bonus. Home advantage could settle the outcome this weekend at Chambers Park.
Suttonians (12th) v Naas (14th), JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds
It is early days yet to be talking about relegation but both teams could do with a win to keep them clear of the dog fight that will ensue come the tail-end of the season.
Two great community-based clubs here so there is likely to be plenty of vocal support pitchside on Saturday. Naas come into the game on the back of a win over County Carlow while the Sutton side lost to Sunday's Well last time out. Home advantage could prove vital.