Ballymacarn Park should be packed on Saturday afternoon for the crucial AIB League clash between Ulster rivals Ballynahinch and Dungannon before all eyes turn to Paris.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, February 13
BALLYNAHINCH (7th) v DUNGANNON (6th), Ballymacarn Park, 2.30pm
AIB League Current Form – Ballynahinch: LWLLLWLLL; Dungannon: LWWLWLLLL
AIB League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Ryan Bambry 62; Tries: Jonny Cullen, Nevin Spence 2 each; Dungannon: Points: James Shiells 47; Tries: Craig Gilroy, Stuart McKenzie 2 each
Preview: There will be a real sense of anticipation in Ballynahinch this weekend. Come 4.30pm all eyes will turn to Paris to see how Ireland fare but before that there is the matter of the big AIB League clash against Dungannon.
This is a catch-up game for both clubs and a classic relegation battle. It could even prove to be a winner takes all game.
‘Hinch have struggled to find the form that saw them conquer all before them last season and miss the likes of Willie Faloon and Nevin Spence who are currently duty with Ulster Ravens and the Ireland Under-20s respectively.
They have managed just two wins in nine games but four losing bonuses have given them a lifeline. Saturday is the day to use it.
Dungannon are four points ahead of them courtesy of one extra win. A victory on the road on Saturday should make them safe and condemn their hosts.
Both sides picked up losing bonus points on the road last time out and when the sides met earlier in the season at Stevenson Park it was Dungannon who emerged as 13-8 victors.
Not an easy match to call but one suspects that ‘Hinch can raise their game enough to take a win, making the relegation decision go down to the wire.
Last Season’s Meeting – Ballynahinch were in Division 2
This Season’s First Meeting – Saturday, October 12, 2009: Dungannon 13 Ballynahinch 8, Stevenson Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballynahinch to win by 1-5 points