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Ulster Bank League: Division 2 Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 2 Previews

UCD and Ballynahinch are guaranteed promotion but the race for third and fourth places, along with the fifth place play-off spot, are all at stake on Saturday. Rosbrien also sees a potential relegation battle between Old Crescent and Thomond.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2: Saturday, April 2

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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Old Wesley (12th) v Dublin University (11th), Donnybrook (Friday, April 1, 8pm)

Another ‘Friday Night Lights’ clash for these two clubs. Old Wesley hosted UCD earlier in the season, while Dublin University were in action under the lights at Kirwan Park last week.

Donnybrook should see a reasonable crowd for this game even thought there is little enough at stake in terms of the league.

Eric Miller’s Wesley side have struggled this season and with only three wins, they will want to pick up a morale-boosting victory. Trinity will be hoping to make up for their loss to ‘Salmo as they prepare for the Colours game against UCD in a few weeks’ time.

Bective Rangers (3rd) v Ballynahinch (2nd), Donnybrook

A crucial game at Donnybrook should see another big turnout. UCD and Ballynahinch have set the pace in this division all season but Bective have gone about their business efficiently and are on the cusp of securing one of the four automatic promotion places.

‘Hinch cannot be caught but they will not want to lose sight of UCD and the league title, so the County Down side will travel, as ever, with great intent.

The hosts will have an eye on Ballymena and Belfast Harlequins behind them in the table, but will need their best performance yet to take the points here.

Belfast Harlequins (5th) v Queen’s University (6th), Deramore Park

An interesting match-up at Deramore Park on Saturday. Belfast Harlequins pegged back Ballymena last weekend but they could still rue their loss to Clonakilty in February.

Queen’s University have struggled for form during the campaign but are still in with a chance of a surprise promotion spot.

A win here for the Belfast students and if results go their way elsewhere, they could still be going into the last game of the season with some hope.

Still, ‘Quins are unlikely to give them any room to manoeuvre and should be good enough to stay in the hunt for promotion.

Corinthians (8th) v Ballymena (4th), Corinthian Park

Corinthians and Ballymena both lost their last outing. Corinthians went down to Bective Rangers, while Ballymena finished second best against Ulster rivals Belfast Harlequins.

The Galway side still have an outside shot at finishing in fourth, but there are a lot of ifs in the mix, not least the question of whether they can beat the Braidmen.

Ballymena need this win to stay ahead of the posse and if ‘Hinch emerge triumphant in Dublin, the Eaton Park outfit could move up to third. With a game in hand that would give them a real advantage.

Midleton (9th) v De La Salle Palmerston (10th), Towns Park

A reasonable season for Midleton, with seven wins to their credit, and they can still move up the table if they win their last two games.

They have, however, lost their last two outings to Clonakilty and Ballynahinch, which put an end to any hopes they had of making a late surge.

DLSP come into this game on the back of a confidence-building win over Dublin University. They have won six and lost six but this trip to Cork could see that ratio changing for the worse.

Old Crescent (15th) v Thomond (16th), Rosbrien

A relegation dogfight. A Limerick derby, and a very tough one to call. The team finishing last in Division 2 faces a play-off against the fifth-placed team from Division 3.

Thomond still have a game to make up, giving them a slight edge and an away win would really help their chances of avoiding the aforementioned play-off tie.

Crescent and Thomond lost to the top two last time out with the men from Liam Fitzgerald Park maybe looking marginally better. An away victory could be on the cards here.

Terenure College (7th) v Clonakilty (14th), Lakelands Park

It is still mathematically possible for Terenure College to get a shot at promotion. Obviously they need to look after their own performances in their last two games, but they would also need some unlikely result to go their way.

Saturday’s match is not an easy one for them, however, as second-from-bottom Clon seem to be having a spring revival.

They beat Cork rivals Midleton last weekend and pulled off one of the shock results of the season when they put 50 points on Belfast Harlequins. On paper, the home side are favourites but you never know!

UCD (1st) v Malone (13th), Belfield

UCD, like Ballynahinch, are guaranteed promotion but they cannot afford to rest on their laurels just yet.

They will surely be aiming to finish the season unbeaten and with a Colours clash against Trinity looming they will want to sharpen up their game.

Malone have got themselves up for some of their Ulster derby games – beating Ballymena and running Queen’s close – but have struggled elsewhere and are likely to be making the trip home from Dublin empty handed.