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Armagh Meet Derry In Crunch Play-Off

Armagh Meet Derry In Crunch Play-Off

Having finished second in the AIB League Round Robin series, Armagh now have a second bite at the cherry as they travel to Judge’s Road on Saturday to challenge City of Derry for a place in next season’s Division Three.

Saturday’s relegation play-off, which has a 2.30pm kick-off, will see Gerald McCarter’s Derry side desperately trying to hang on to their AIB League status. They finished a disappointing second-from-bottom in the Division Three table.

But a recent league win over Queen’s and victory in a friendly against Rainey Old Boys has given McCarter’s men a good deal of confidence as they head into this weekend’s must-win clash. Enniskillen’s James Moore and YMCA pair Colin Mitchell and Keith Gallick have been added to the Derry squad as dual status players.

Derry have not been relegated out of the league since 1979, and emphasising the game’s importance, McCarter said: “The winner will be a senior club and the loser a junior club, that’s how big Saturday’s game is.

“We have been a senior club for quite some time now and we are very keen to remain one. I was a young player the last time this happened but I cannot predict the future, I don’t know how big a disaster relegation would be, we are just trying to concentrate on Armagh,” he told the Derry Journal.

“I know one or two of their players quite well but it is the last game of the season for us, so we must go out and be positive. We have to let Armagh know that there is a difference between junior and senior rugby and try to establish that.”

Armagh will not be overawed by the hosts, having claimed the Ulster Qualifying League title and won 23 of their 26 matches this season.

Colin Steenson’s charges bagged two considerable wins in the Round Robin series, beating Monivea, the Connacht champions, 23-13 at home and Munster winners Crosshaven 33-3 down in Cork.