Division 2B of the Ulster Bank League kicks off on Friday night at the Aviva Stadium with the meeting of Wanderers and Suttonians on the main pitch. The action continues on Saturday with some very interesting games on the cards, not least the Boyne v Navan derby.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2B: Saturday, October 29
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
Wanderers (16th) v Suttonians (12th), Aviva Stadium main pitch, Friday, October 28, 7.30pm
An appropriate game for Wanderers to mark their first appearance on the main pitch at the Aviva Stadium as Suttonians were the last team they face on the hallowed turf of Lansdowne Road.
The home side will be hoping that the occasion inspires them to their first league win as they currently lie bottom of Division 2B.
The Sutton club have won one, drawn one and lost one, so it is hard to tell how their season is shaping up yet. Home advantage just might be the key on this historic night.
Ards (15th) v NUIM Barnhall (11th), Hamilton Park
Ards’ drawn game with Suttonians has provided their only points to date this season. They come into this weekend on the back of shipping over 50 points to a resurgent Connemara side.
NUIM Barnhall have been without influential captain Eoin Hogan in their opening games – they will hope to welcome him back this weekend.
The visitors have proven hard to beat and have picked up two losing bonus points. They could end on the right side of the result this Saturday and edge their way up the table.
Armagh (9th) v Sligo (14th), Palace Grounds
A big game for two of the new clubs in the division. Both sides went virtually unbeaten in their qualifying leagues last season but life in the Ulster Bank League is proving tougher.
Both sides, who are well supported in their local communities, featured on Irish Rugby TV recently and you can expect a large crowd at the Palace Grounds with a home victory the likely result.
Boyne (5th) v Navan (10th), Shamrock Lodge
This is possibly the biggest game of the season for both clubs with far more than league points on offer. This is Drogheda against Navan, Louth against Meath and local bragging rights for a whole year.
Boyne have started well in the league with wins over Sligo and Connemara and a losing bonus against Suttonians.
Navan are yet to click but a try-scoring bonus point and two losing bonuses show they have the ability. This could be a cracker – make sure you head along if you are in the area.
Highfield (8th) v Banbridge (6th), Woodleigh Park
Highfield have two victories under their belt but have to overcome a negative points difference, having shipped 20 unanswered points against Cashel two weeks ago.
Banbridge also lost to Cashel but picked up a losing bonus point, sandwiched between wins over Navan and Armagh.
Hard to call and Woodleigh Park can be a tough place to play but we feel Bann could pick up a vital away win this weekend.
Naas (13th) v Cashel (1st), Forenaughts
A win over Navan and a losing bonus point away to Connemara do not quite give us a steer on how Naas will fare this season.
This encounter on Saturday afternoon might provide more answers as the current table toppers Cashel, who are motoring nicely, come calling.
The newly-promoted Tipperary side have beaten Suttonians, Banbridge and Highfield so far. They have not picked up any bonus points as yet but they have looked solid and worked hard. An away win is on the cards.
Nenagh Ormond (4th) v Connemara (3rd), New Ormond Park
Two of the division’s form teams take each other on at New Ormond Park. The Nenagh men will not like seeing Cashel at the top of the table and they have serious ambitions themselves this season.
Connemara look like a team reborn under new boss Peter Bracken. They have racked up 100 points in three games but they will need to tighten up a defence that has leaked over 70 so far.
A big test then for both sides on Saturday and well worth the admission price.
Rainey Old Boys (2nd) v Sunday’s Well (7th), Hatrick Park
Rainey’s two triumphs and a draw sees them in second place. Their opening day try-scoring bonus point against Ards has them just ahead of Connemara, Nenagh Ormond and Boyne.
Sunday’s Well have not really challenged for top honours in recent seasons but they have caused a few sides to come a-cropper.
The Cork side boast two wins and a losing bonus point so far and are more than capable of winning on the road, but a home victory should be the outcome here.
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