The top four is all but decided in Division 3 with Seapoint, Greystones, Instonians and City of Derry almost over the line, but Banbridge have a game in hand and could still grab one of the automatic spots. The title could also be decided at Kilbogget Park on Saturday.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 3: Saturday, April 2
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
Ards (14th) v Sunday’s Well (9th), Hamilton Park
Ards have struggled to get out of the bottom three all season and with over 400 points conceded, they will need to do some rebuilding if they are to improve when four new teams come up next season.
Sunday’s Well were in the mix for a top four finish in mid-season but have struggled for consistent performances and could not get the edge over some of the higher-placed sides.
The Cork side should still be good enough to take the points away from home this weekend.
Highfield (12th) v City Of Derry (4th), Woodleigh Park
Highfield did not get to play a league game in March so their last outing was a very creditable losing bonus point performance against Greystones. They also ran Seapoint close, proving what a tough outfit they are at home.
City of Derry have recovered from their surprise loss to Rainey Old Boys and won a vital clash with Instonians last weekend.
They have Banbridge staring over their shoulders waiting for another slip up, but Derry should be strong enough to take the points here.
Instonians (3rd) v Connemara (16th), Shaw’s Bridge
It is not over yet in the race for top spot and the league title in Division 3. This top versus bottom clash could have a big bearing on where that trophy goes.
Instonians can still catch both Seapoint and Greystones, who play each other on Saturday afternoon, so it will be business as usual for ‘Inst at Shaw’s Bridge.
Lowly Connemara are still looking for a win this season but they are unlikely to get it at the Belfast venue.
Naas (10th) v Banbridge (5th), Forenaughts
Naas started the season brightly enough and have put in some creditable displays against some of the top teams, but they have struggled for a consistent level of performance.
For Banbridge the task is simple – win and win big. A win of any kind keeps them in the promotion hunt, while a big win means their game in hand against Highfield takes on real significance.
Bann may or may not make the top four, but the fifth place play-off slot is still up for grabs with Rainey Old Boys, Nenagh Ormond and even Barnhall still in the running.
Navan (15th) v Suttonians (11th), Balreask Old
A big day in Navan this Saturday with the home team wearing pink for Action Breast Cancer – one of several clubs raising money for this most worthy cause over the weekend.
There is also a World Record attempt in the offing so it should be an exciting day both on and off the pitch.
In terms of the match itself, there is only pride at stake and while the young Navan side will be game, Suttonians are likely to be too strong for them on the day.
Nenagh Ormond (7th) v NUIM Barnhall (8th), New Ormond Park
There is still a slim chance that one of these teams could grab fifth place in the table and set up a play-off clash with a team from Division 2.
That should be enough of a carrot to keep them both firing on all cylinders at New Ormond Park on Saturday.
Both Nenagh Ormond and NUIM Barnhall had big wins last time out and this could be an interesting game with little between them on paper. Home advantage might just swing it for the Tipperary men.
Rainey Old Boys (6th) v Wanderers (13th), Hatrick Park
Rainey Old Boys have not lost a game in the league in 2011 and have even taken the scalp of high-flying City of Derry. The upshot is they still have an outside chance of gaining that fifth place play-off position.
To take it, they need Banbridge to lose their remaining games. Wanderers, by contrast, have failed to launch this season.
The Dubliners have picked up three impressive try-scoring bonus points and four losing bonuses, but they just have not had enough to win games.
Rainey have shown they are capable of winning when the pressure is on, so you can expect them to pick up the points in their last home league game.
Seapoint (1st) v Greystones (2nd), Kilbogget Park
The first shall be last in our Division 3 previews. This match has a bit of everything in the mix. South County Dublin against near neighbours from Wicklow. 1st against 2nd with the league title on the line.
Seapoint can crown a marvellous first season in the Ulster Bank League by being crowned Division 3 champions if they win here, while Greystones can take it to the wire if they triumph at Kilbogget Park.
Do not miss these two great community-based clubs in what is sure to be a wonderful advertisement for the club game.