Division 2B has an interesting look at this early stage of the season with newcomers Boyne and Cashel in first and second place respectively. This Saturday will be another test for all concerned in what is a tightly-contested division.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2B: Saturday, October 15
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
Banbridge (9th) v Armagh (5th), Rifle Park
This one will clear the cobwebs on a Saturday afternoon. An Ulster derby as two strong community clubs go head to head at Rifle Park.
The Bann won their opening game 16-12 at home to Navan but slipped up by the exact same score away to Cashel last time out.
Armagh got an early lesson in life in Division 2B from Sunday’s Well but impressively posted a bonus point-winning 52 points on Wanderers last weekend.
It was tight when the sides met in the Ulster Senior League last month with Armagh coming out on top 17-15 at the same venue.
Cashel (2nd) v Highfield (3rd), Spafield
Another derby, this time a Munster one, as both sides go in search of their third win on the trot in Division 2B.
Cashel have picked up successive victories over Suttonians and Banbridge, while Highfield have beaten NUIM Barnhall and Sunday’s Well in recent weeks.
Neither side has picked up a try-scoring bonus point as yet and in a tight game like this we may not see one on Saturday, but it will be an absorbing encounter and well-supported to boot.
Connemara (10th) v Ards (13th), Monastery Field
Connemara’s opening day triumph over Naas and their losing bonus point against table toppers Boyne show that last season’s struggles have hardened them up.
A trip to Monastery Field will not be easy this season and Ards, with only a draw against Suttonians in the plus column, may find this a tricky encounter.
Form and home advantage should see Peter Bracken’s side take another scalp, so we are plumping for a home win.
Navan (7th) v Naas (15th), Balreask Old
Meath against Kildare in this Leinster clash at Balreask Old on Saturday. Navan followed up their opening day losing point with a good win over newcomers Sligo last Saturday.
Naas lost to Connemara on the opening day by three points but went down badly under the floodlights to NUIM Barnhall last weekend.
The home side look to have the edge, but visitors Naas badly need to get off the mark this season and that hunger may just push them to victory.
NUIM Barnhall (8th) v Rainey Old Boys (4th), Parsonstown
NUIM Barnhall picked up four points in their ‘Friday Night Lights’ clash in Naas last week to add to their losing bonus point at home to Highfield the week before.
Rainey opened the season with a bonus point win over Ards and earned what may prove to be a valuable two points in a draw with Highfield last weekend.
The Leixlip/Maynooth axis is proving very beneficial and NUIM Barnhall have shown to be lively opponents so far this season. But the men from Magherafelt were one of the pre-season favourites for this division and still look likely.
Sligo (14th) v Nenagh Ormond (6th), Hamilton Park
Sligo are the only one of the league’s four newcomers not to get a win under their belts during the opening two rounds of action.
The Connacht outfit started brightly enough with a one-point loss to Boyne but went down Navan last weekend.
Nenagh Ormond are another side that could be in the mix at the end of the season. They have a win over Wanderers and a draw with Rainey to their credit. Sligo need to kickstart their season but the Tipperary club could prove too strong.
Sunday’s Well (11th) v Wanderers (16th), Musgrave Park
The opening two games for Sunday’s Well have been low-scoring affairs – a 9-6 win over Sligo and an 11-6 loss to Highfield.
By contrast, Sunday’s visitors Wanderers have conceded 73 points in their first two outings, shipping 52 of them against Armagh last time out.
It looks like being a long season for the Merrion Road outfit and a trip to Musgrave Park is never easy when you are not firing on all cylinders.
Suttonians (12th) v Boyne (1st), JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds
A bit of a transition season for Suttonians may see them stuggle. They lost to newcomers Cashel and drew with Ards in the opening two rounds.
Saturday afternoon sees Boyne, another newly promoted club, come calling with two wins and a try-scoring bonus point to their name.
The Drogheda side look in good shape and if they keep their focus for the duration of the campaign, they will trouble any side. They could maintain their table-topping form with a victory in Sutton.