Can anyone catch Cashel in this division? The Tipperary club are unbeaten in the league to date, while the chasing Banbridge, NUIM Barnhall and Rainey Old Boys all face interesting ties this weekend.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2B: Saturday, February 4
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
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Ards (15th) v Nenagh Ormond (7th), Hamilton Park
Ards picked up their second losing bonus point of the season at home to Sligo last weekend. The Ulster club are really struggling this season and are only ahead of bottom side Wanderers by two points.
Nenagh Ormond were well beaten by a title-chasing Banbridge side last time out in what was only their third loss of the season.
The visitors should be strong enough to take the points at Hamilton Park on Saturday.
Connemara (5th) v Navan (10th), Monastery Field
We have said it before but what a difference a season makes! Connemara have six wins to their name this season, including a big triumph over an impressive Rainey outfit last weekend.
Navan are safe in mid-table but with only three wins to their name they will want to improve in the second half of the season.
It is a long trip to Monastery Field for the Meath side and their hosts will no doubt give them a warm reception on and off the pitch. A home win looks the likely result.
NUIM Barnhall (3rd) v Boyne (8th), Parsonstown
NUIM Barnhall may yet rue their draw with Wanderers last Saturday. It may well have given the bottom side a lifeline but it left the Leixlip club trailing the leaders by nine points.
Boyne also drew last weekend but that result held them steady in mid-table. They are acquitting themselves well in their first season in the Ulster Bank League.
Boyne will not be an easy touch but the home side should look to recapture the form of the first half of the season and take the points.
Rainey Old Boys (4th) v Armagh (12th), Hatrick Park
Rainey Old Boys slipped up at home last Saturday and Connemara left with the points. The loss saw the Ulster side fall to fourth spot and they now trail the leaders by 10 points.
Armagh were soundly beaten by the all-conquering Cashel in the last round of games, so they will be in no mood to take another beating.
This is an Ulster derby with two teams hungry for their first win in 2012 in the Ulster Bank League. It should be interesting but Rainey must be favourites on form and experience.
Sligo (9th) v Cashel (1st), Hamilton Park
The contrasting fortunes of the four clubs promoted to the Ulster Bank League last season make for interesting reading.
Sligo found the going tough early doors but have edged into mid-table now thanks in part to last weekend’s win over Ards.
Cashel have stormed the division and put 32 points on fellow promotees Armagh last weekend. They may not notch up as many in a windy Strandhill but they look set to keep their winning run going.
Sunday’s Well (13th) v Naas (14th), Musgrave Park
This is the first game of 2012 for Sunday’s Well after last weekend’s clash with Suttonians was postponed.
It is not a vintage season for the Musgrave Park club and they have struggled to put points on the board – averaging just over 10 points per game.
Naas are also in the doldrums, lying two points adrift of their hosts. Weather permitting, the home side should take the points.
Suttonians (11th) v Banbridge (2nd), JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds
This is also the first league game of 2012 for Suttonians and what a challenge to face.
Banbridge kicked off 2012 last weekend with a good victory over Nenagh Ormond. They are six points behind the league leaders Cashel so they know they cannot afford to drop any points.
Form favours the away team who look set to claim a win on the road on Saturday afternoon.
Wanderers (16th) v Highfield (6th), Aviva Stadium back pitch, 4pm
The first real positives of the season for Wanderers came last weekend when they drew with NUIM Barnhall.
Their next game forms part of a double header on the Aviva Stadium back pitch with Division 1A side Lansdowne hosting Shannon at 2pm.
Highfield are holding their own in the top half of the Division 2B table and their win over Navan last Saturday was their sixth of the season.
Make sure to head along and take advantage of this great chance to catch two club games at headquarters, on the eve of Ireland’s Six Nations clash with Wales.