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AIB League: Division 2 Previews

AIB League: Division 2 Previews

The AIB League returns this weekend with promotion, play-offs and relegation firmly on the minds of several clubs. None more so than the two top-four clashes that could decide second place in Division 2 behind the all-conquering Lansdowne.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 2: Saturday, March 27

– Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated

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Bruff (2nd) v Bective Rangers (4th), Kilballyowen Park

An important game this for these two top-four clubs. Bruff have a six-point lead on Bective and a game in hand but will be hoping they can keep a tight hold on the second promotion spot in the division.

Bruff accounted for Bective’s Donnybrook neighbours Old Wesley last time out but only by a five-point margin. You have to go back to December for their last loss, against Dublin University.

Bective have won one game less than their hosts but crucially have picked up four losing bonus points along the way, including last time out when the lost by a point to a resurgent Clonakilty. That was their third loss on the trot, so Saturday presents a real challenge.
Clonakilty (8th) v Terenure College (5th), Shannonvale Cross
The West Cork side have been rejuvenated with the arrival of spring. They have picked up wins against Thomond, Highfield, Old Crescent and Bective to haul themselves out of the red zone and into mid-table safety, and will present a real challenge to Terenure’s play-off hopes on Saturday.
The Lakelanders travel to Clonakilty with three wins out of their last three games, and a fourth successive victory could see them leapfrog both Bective and De La Salle who face Bruff and Lansdowne respectively. A real chance therefore to grab a play-off spot.
De La Salle Palmerston (3rd) v Lansdowne (1st), Kirwan Park

Another result that will be eagerly awaited on Saturday afternoon. Lansdowne remain the only team in all divisions with a perfect record but…their last win was a 3-0 squeeze past Highfield.

They are guaranteed promotion and ‘Salmo may sense an easing up that they could capitalise on.

DLSP will rue their loss to Old Crescent at the start of the month when a win would have seen them into second place, but they will hope to make up for it on Saturday. With Bruff, Bective and Terenure waiting to capitalise, they will need to be on their game. 
Dublin University (10th) v Old Wesley (6th), College Park
A good, old fashioned Dublin derby could prove to be a game worth catching at College Park on Saturday afternoon.
Trinity are comfortably safe in mid-table but will be hoping to even up their win/loss ratio, while Old Wesley will have an ear out for the results from the top-four clashes in Bruff and DLSP.
Should neighbours Bective lose to Bruff then a win here would see Wesley pushing hard for a play-off spot – not a bad season for the promoted side.
Greystones (16th) v Corinthians (12th), Dr. Hickey Park
A non vintage season for the County Wicklow side with only two wins to their name in the league. They ran Terenure close last time out but will have one eye on rebuilding next season, perhaps with some of the young St. Gerard’s SCT to bolster the ranks.
Corinthians are 16 points ahead of them and really should be clear of the relegation zone, even if there is an outside chance of them still being overtaken by Highfield, Old Crescent or Malone.
A drubbing from Bruff in February and a strong win over Thomond in March shows the see-saw nature of their season.
Highfield (15th) v Belfast Harlequins (7th), Woodleigh Park
This one could be interesting. Highfield need a win and a favour from Thomond to lift themselves out of the relegation zone, albeit that Old Crescent have a game in hand on them in 14th place.
Belfast Harlequins have an outside chance of making the play-offs but will rue some lost chances and poor performances this season, none more so than the 22 points they conceded to neighbours Malone last time out.
‘Quins need to show a clinical cutting edge on Saturday if they are to demonstrate their ambitions for next season.
Malone (13th) v UCD (9th), Gibson Park
Whatever else happens this season Malone can bank their 22-point win over their Belfast rivals. That win at Deramore Park at the start of the month may galvanise them and they need to make sure they stay focused for fear of slipping back the pecking order.

UCD have the balance sheet in their favour with six wins, five losses and a draw and of course the Colours to their name, but they will not be satisfied with ninth place in the table and should be good enough to take the points on Saturday.

Thomond (11th) v Old Crescent (14th), Liam Fitzgerald Park

A Limerick derby to savour, one for the purists perhaps but this clash will not lack for intensity.
Thomond have lost to Corinthians and Old Wesley recently but managed to put a spanner in the works for Belfast Harlequins before that.
Their city rivals badly need to win to keep distance between themselves and Highfield in the drop zone. A terrific win over DLSP last time out could be just the impetus they need to take the points in this local clash.