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AIB League: Division 3 Previews

AIB League: Division 3 Previews

Can Midleton get back to winning ways? Can Queen’s make their game in hand count? Will we have a new team at the top of Division 3 of the AIB League on Saturday evening?

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 3: Saturday, February 20

– Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated

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Banbridge (3rd) v Portadown (15th), Rifle Park

Contrasting fortunes for these two Ulster clubs this season. Banbridge have edged their way to the top end of the table courtesy of eight wins and five bonus points. They are unlucky in that they have had their run when Midleton and Queen’s University look nailed down for promotion but it only takes a slip or two for things to change.

Portadown have drifted into relegation territory and losses to Suttonians and Sunday’s Well in recent weeks have left them with a big job to do to avoid the drop.

They will not get any favours from Bann who have beaten Connemara and Wanderers in their last two outings.

County Carlow (16th) v Sunday’s Well (5th), Oak Park

County Carlow picked up their first win of the season a few weeks back and put in a strong performance in losing to Nenagh Ormond last time out but they cannot seem to get off the bottom of the table.

The ‘Well will travel up from Cork on the back of wins over Navan and Portadown, albeit by narrow margins in both games.

An away win seems fairly certain on Saturday at Oak Park as the ‘Well continue their winning ways.

Instonians (6th) v Ards (12th), Shaw’s Bridge

Instonians will not relish their Ulster rivals Ards coming to Shaw’s Bridge on Saturday. They have lost their last two games, shipping over 60 points to Nenagh Ormond and Naas, and Ards may sniff a scalp.

Those surprisingly big losses may well end up costing the home side a play-off spot unless they can reverse their fortunes.

Ards have enjoyed wins over County Carlow and Navan either side of a 46-point beating by high-flying Queen’s University. And a home win still looks likely here.

Midleton (1st) v Connemara (13th), Towns Park

Midleton are still unbeaten in Division 3 but a draw against Rainey Old Boys last weekend was still a shock result and could end up costing them top spot.

The east Cork club, the division’s long-time leaders, are now just a point ahead of Queen’s University who have a game in hand. That makes this game all the more crucial and while Midleton should be too strong for Connemara, they have taken their time to subdue lower-ranked sides in some games.

Connemara could have wished for an easier fixture. They could do without their hosts looking to bounce back as the Connacht side struggle to stay out of the relegation zone. A home win looks odds on nonetheless.

Naas (14th) v Wanderers (7th), Forenaughts

Naas have struggled this season but they cut loose last weekend against Instonians and will come into this game full of confidence on the back of that performance.

Wanderers should still be odds on favourites but they have flattered to deceive at times this season and have failed to put away lower-ranked sides in some crucial games.

The Dubliners lost to Banbridge last weekend and to County Carlow before that and an upset could be on the cards at Forenaughts this Saturday.

Navan (9th) v Barnhall (11th), Balreask Old

A gritty provincial derby is on the cards in County Meath on Saturday as two clubs rooted in their local communities go head-to-head.

Navan have suffered defeats to Sunday’s Well and Ards, following on from an impressive home win over Wanderers last month, weeks but eight bonus points show they are a tough nut to crack.

Barnhall make the trip to Navan having lost to Midleton and Connemara in recent weeks, but they are perennial AIB League survivors and know how scrape unlikely wins.

Nenagh Ormond (4th) v Suttonians (8th), New Ormond Park

Not a bad season so far for Nenagh Ormond. Seven wins, six bonus points and 36 points overall sees them in the play-off zone but unlikely to threaten the top two for promotion.

They have beaten Instonians and County Carlow in recent weeks and they will hope to pick off another Leinster side at New Ormond Park on Saturday.

Suttonians will travel with intent despite the drubbing at the hands of Queen’s last time out and if they can pick up a win, they will jump a few places in the table.

Queen’s University (2nd) v Rainey Old Boys (10th), Dub Lane

Queen’s University will thank their Ulster rivals for drawing with Midleton last weekend but the gratitude will be parked for 80 minutes at Dub Lane this weekend.

Rainey’s comeback against Midleton means Queen’s now have it in their hands to top the table. The Belfast students’ seven try-scoring bonus points tell you why they have managed to rack up over 300 points already this season.

A home win looks highly probable but after last week you cannot discount this battling Rainey side either.

Related Links –

AIB League: Division 3 Round-Up