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Division Three Semi-Final Preview: Ballynahinch v Bruff

Division Three Semi-Final Preview: Ballynahinch v Bruff

IrishRugby.ie previews Saturday’s AIB League Division Three semi-final between Ballynahinch and Bruff, which kicks off at 2.30pm at Ballymacarn Park. The match marks only the second ever meeting between the sides in league competition and promoted side ‘Hinch’s maiden run in the play-offs.

AIB LEAGUE DIVISION THREE SEMI-FINAL: Saturday, April 21

BALLYNAHINCH v BRUFF, Ballymacarn Park, 2.30pm
Referee: Paul Haycock (Leinster)

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Previous AIB League Meetings: Played 1, Ballynahinch Won 1, Bruff Won 0; At Killballyowen Park: Played 1, Ballynahinch Won 1, Bruff Won 0

Last Match: AIB League Division One – January 13, 2007 – Bruff 3 Ballynahinch 7, Killballyowen Park

2006/07 AIB League Form (most recent match on the left): Ballynahinch: WLWLW; Bruff: WWWLW

Ballynahinch – Notes: * Ballynahinch finished second in the Division Three table at the end of the regulation phase. They have won seven of their eight matches at home in the league this season – their only home loss this season was against Queen’s University
* They have previously played 29 AIB League fixtures at home to Munster clubs and won 18 of these games
* They have the best Ulster clubs’ record playing AIB League at home to opposition from Munster, losing just seven of those matches for a 69% success rate
* They beat all four Munster clubs in Division Three this season
* They collected the most bonus points for tries (8) and the most bonus points overall (10) during the 15 rounds in Division Three this season
* ‘Hinch not only kicked the most penalty goals (30) but also conceded the least (16) during the league’s 15 rounds. In fact, they scored the most points (451) and the most tries (56) in all three divisions of the AIB League this season
* They are the only one of the eight clubs in this weekend’s semi-finals who have never featured in the play-offs previously

Top Points Scorer in the AIB League: Daniel Soper 168
Top Try Scorers in the AIB League: Stewart Megaw 7, Willie Faloon 6

Bruff – Notes: * Bruff finished third in the Division Three at the end of the regulation phase. This is the Limerick club’s fifth visit to Ulster this season
* Their away form has been good in this season’s campaign with five wins in seven trips. They have previously played 11 AIB League fixtures away in Ulster and won eight of those matches
* They lost only once – 23-13 at Instonians – in four Division Three visits to Ulster this season. They boast the best Munster clubs’ record playing AIB League away in Ulster, with a 77% success rate
* They conceded the least amount of points (155) in all three divisions of the AIB League this season
* They have appeared in the play-offs just once before – they lost 24-3 away to Clonakilty in last season’s semi-finals
* Bruff have four Carroll brothers – Michael, Brian, John and Tommy – and three Cahill brothers – Eoin, Brian and Tony – in their current senior squad
* As Munster are not playing in the Magners League this weekend, perhaps prop John Hayes will get in some match practice today in County Down?

Top Points Scorer in the AIB League: Brian Cahill 134
Top Try Scorers in the AIB League: Finbarr Hogan 10, John Carroll 6

– AIB League statistics supplied by Des Daly