Seapoint are the only non Ulster Club in the top four of Division 3. Instonians and City of Derry are ahead of them with Banbridge four points behind them. Can they all maintain the winning form this weekend in Division 3 of the All Ireland League?
ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 3: Saturday, November 27
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
Banbridge(4th) V Sunday’s Well (5th), Rifle Park
This is probably the pick of the games this weekend. Bann had a big win over Wanderers last time out to push them up to 4th place and one point ahead of visitors Sunday’s Well.
The Well suffered their second loss of the season two weeks ago when they squeezed a losing bonus point out of City of Derry in a tight encounter in Muzzer.
This was preceded by a surprise loss to Naas the week before. Form probably favours Banbridge at this stage but the Well will be keen to get over their losing blip.
City of Derry (2nd) V NUIM Barnhall (9th), Judge’s Road
There is a gap opening up at the top of this Division and City of Derry are firmly the right side of it. Four wins in five games and three try bonuses sees them comfortably in second place behind Ulster rivals Instonians.
NUIM Barnhall may be in 9th place but they are only two points behind fourth placed Banbridge. They face a tough test this weekend as they travel to Judge’s Road.
The form book says a home win but can the Leixlip side rein in City of Derry’s try scoring back line?
Connemara (16th) V Suttonians (14th), Monastery Field
Any other season and this would be a relegation dog fight. Both teams are protected from the drop as all four provincial winners will come up next season in the newly restructured league.
That said both sides badly need a win to lift the spirits. Suttonians’ two draws see them ahead in the tables. They seem the marginally stronger side for this encounter but don’t rule out another draw with honours even.
Greystones (6th) V Wanderers (10th), Dr. Hickey Park
The middle of the table in this division is looking a bit cluttered. From fourth to ninth there are only two points of a difference.
Greystones, with three wins in five games, look set fair to prosper – despite a loss to Rainey Old Boys last time out. This will be a bell weather game for them in many ways.
Wanderers are just the wrong side with only eight points to date. They need to step up if they are not to be left behind. Home win is on the cards with the Merrion Road men set to struggle.
Highfield (7th)V Instonians (1st), Woodleigh Park
The league leaders make the journey to Cork on Saturday and will receive a warm welcome off the pitch. On field, however, Highfield will be fighting gamely for a scalp.
They have conceded the least points in this division so far and they will need to be at the top of their game defensively on Saturday.
The visitors will bring their winning form to Cork and while they may not secure a bonus they should be good enough to remain unbeaten – albeit they will have to work hard.
Naas (8th) V Nenagh Ormond (12th), Forenaughts
Naas have shown some real grit this season. They picked up a terrific win over Sunday’s Well a few weeks ago and a losing bonus point at Instonians two weeks ago.
By contrast Nenagh Ormond have struggled to regain the form they showed last season that promised much for this one. Their postponed game against Ards also sees them slightly off the points race.
Naas can show their true colours this weekend with a home win that would push them higher in the table come Saturday evening.
Navan (13th) V Rainey Old Boys (15th), Balreask Old
Two former Junior Cup winners square off in Balreask on Saturday afternoon. Neither side has reached that level of form this season so Saturday is a chance for a much needed win.
Navan were steady last season and would have hoped to kick on this year but it hasn’t quite clicked yet. Rainey have struggled to make headway since they were promoted a few seasons back.
Home advantage could be the deciding factor as both teams chase their second win of the league.
Seapoint (3rd) V Ard (11th), Kilbogget Park
Seapoint have acclimatised well to life in Division 3. They have made a bold statement of intent with four wins in five games.
Saturday sees them welcome Ards to Kilbogget Park. The Ulster side picked up their first win of the league with a 28 – 25 win over Navan two weeks ago.
Seapoint will be a tougher nut to crack and should maintain their presence in the top four come Saturday evening.