The final weekend of the league and while UCD and Ballynahinch have been promoted there is still the matter of the league title, a colours trophy, two other promotion spots and two playoff places to be decided.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2: Saturday, April 16
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
Ballymena (3rd) v Terenure College (7th), Eaton Park
Ballymena face Dublin opposition for the second week running, though Terenure College should provide a sterner test than Old Wesley did last weekend.
Ballymena are in the driving seat in the chase for promotion and a win of any kind would see them finish third in the table.
Terenure still have a shot at securing the fifth place play-off spot, so they will not lack for motivation on the day. Still, the home side have garnered an impressive nine try-scoring bonus points this season and should be strong enough to go up.
Ballynahinch (2nd) v Old Wesley (12th), Ballymacarn Park
Ballynahinch are promoted but could still take the title if UCD slip up in the Colours match at Donnybrook.
‘Hinch have been impressive all season and with ten try-scoring bonus points to their name, the County Down outfit have amassed 489 points in the league.
Old Wesley have failed to fire this season but they will hope to finish on a high despite shipping 41 points to Ballymena last Saturday. Ballynahinch have too much in their armoury here, but may have to settle for promotion only.
Clonakilty (13th) v Bective Rangers (5th), Shannonvale Cross
Clonakilty have done enough since January to ensure they are out of the relegation play-off zone and while they will hope to finish with a home win here, the Corkmen face a stern test.
Bective Rangers are just a point outside the top four promotion places and although they need Ballymena or Belfast Harlequins to lose, they are sure to push right until the final whistle.
Even if they do not finish in the top four, the Dubliners will want to ensure they have a promotion play-off against the newly-crowned Bateman Cup winners Bruff.
De La Salle Palmerston (10th) v Old Crescent (16th), Kirwan Park
De La Salle Palmerston face Limerick opposition for the second week on the trot, and again it is a team in the relegation firing line.
Having beaten Thomond last weekend, ‘Salmo could do them a huge favour by overcoming Old Crescent on the last day of the league.
That would ensure Thomond’s survival and condemn Old Crescent to a promotion/relegation play-off match against the fifth-placed team in Division 3.
Dublin University (11th) v UCD (1st), Donnybrook
The annual Colours match does not really need an extra edge, but this particular encounter has a few other things riding on it for UCD in particular.
For Dublin University it is a simple case of intervarsity bragging rights, but for UCD there is a Division 2 title and an unbeaten league season at stake. Throw in the retirement of their legendary director of rugby John McClean and the scene is set for a wonderful end of season blow out.
Donnybrook should see a large crowd present on Saturday. We feel UCD will emerge with more silverware to add to the Fraser McMullen Cup their Under-21s won last Sunday in Coolmine.
Malone (14th) v Belfast Harlequins (4th), Gibson Park
What better way to end the league campaign than with a good old fashioned Belfast derby at Gibson Park?
Malone will relish the chance to finish a poor season by putting one over on their local rivals, while Belfast Harlequins need a big win to ensure promotion as a Bective bonus point could still squeeze them into back into fifth.
On paper this clash should a cert for the visitors, but this is an Ulster derby and Malone already did a job on another Ulster side, Ballymena, earlier this season. Can they raise their game one more time? Stephen Ritchie’s men are certainly capable of it.
Queen’s University (8th) v Midleton (9th), Dub Lane
A mid-table settler with Queen’s University ahead of visitors Midleton only on points difference.
Neither side can reach the play-offs and with little more than pride at stake these two teams could decided to cut loose and play out a final day try-fest.
Queen’s are more than capable and Midleton are a handy outfit, so it could be an entertaining end to the season either way.
Thomond (15th) v Corinthians (6th), Liam Fitzgerald Park
A big game for both teams on Saturday afternoon. A home win would see Thomond avoid a promotion/relegation play-off with a Division 3 side, while Corinthians still have a shot at the fifth place play-off spot should Bective lose to Clonakilty.
It may well be that results elsewhere will decide how things pan out for both clubs, but neither Thomond or Corinthians will be found wanting with this being a much-anticipated encounter.
The Galway men should be good enough to take the points but, as many clubs have found out across the league, you cannot write off a Limerick side on the rack!
Related Link –