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Ulster Bank League: Division 2B Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 2B Previews

Three games left in the league so each one is vital in the race for promotion. Two teams are automatically promoted while the team in 3rd will playoff against 14th in Division 2A. Match of The Day has to be Banbridge v NUIM Barnhall.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2B: Saturday, March 24

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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Armagh (9th) v Suttonians (11th), Palace Grounds

In many ways it has been mission accomplished for Armagh in that they have survived their first season in the Ulster Bank League.

With three games left they can also lay a marker for next season by finishing with a flourish.

Suttonians do have a game in hand to make up but will have to be content with a mid table finish this season.

Banbridge (2nd) v NUIM Barnhall (3rd), Rifle Park

Banbridge have promotion in their sights and in fact they can afford to lose this game and still be in 2nd place. They won’t be thinking that way though as it would make for a tight final two games.

A win for NUIM Barnhall would open up the race a bit more and also and from their point of view is vital if they are to stay in the mix.

 It could be a cracker and with talismanic captain Eoin Hogan likely to feature don’t bet against an away win.

Boyne (8th) v Rainey OB (5th), Drogheda

Like Armagh, Boyne can feel happy enough with their first season. They have secured their spot and can build for next season.

Rainey OB trod this path a few seasons back and looked to be building to promotion this season but losses to Connemara and Highfield have dented that.

 They still have a shot at the third place promotion playoff spot though so don’t count them out yet.

Cashel (1st) v Sunday’s Well (14th), Spafield

Cashel are four points clear and still unbeaten in the league although they had a fairly fortuitous one point win over NUIM Barnhall earlier this month.

A win in Spafield on Saturday and a win for the Leixlip side in Rifle Park would almost guarantee the title to the Tipp side.

The Well are five points clear of Ards at the tail of the table but they can’t take anything for granted and with four ambitious junior clubs in the Provincial Round Robin they won’t won’t want to face a playoff.

Highfield (4th) v Nenagh Ormond (6th), Woodleigh Park

A big game for Highfield who are level on points with NUIM Barnhall but trail on points difference despite winning more games.

If Banbridge win then Highfield could find themselves in 3rd and a shot at a promotion.

Nenagh Ormond have been flying the flag for rugby in Tipp but Cashel stole their thunder this season. Still this is a club with ambition and they can build again next season.

Naas (12th) v Ards (15th) ,Forenaughts

Forenaughts is not a place you want to visit if you are in desperate need of a result. True Naas have struggled this season but they have a habit of beating you just when you need a win.

A win for Ards is a must as they would still be a point behind the Well, who have a game in hand. Lose and they face the prospect of a relegation playoff.

Navan (10th) v Wanderers (16th), Balreask Old

Can Wanderers pull of the escape of the year? A win on Saturday in Co. Meath and a loss for Ards would see them move off the bottom of the table for the first time in months.

Navan are safe but well out of the running for any honours – that won’t make them complacent though as they look to imrprove on their season standing.

Desperation stakes for Wanderers – will it make them hungry enough?

Sligo (13th) v Connemara (7th), Hamilton Park             

A tough first season in the Ulster Bank League for Sligo and mathematically they aren’t out of the woods yet. They face a tough run it with this game followed by a trip to Barnhall before a final game against fellow struggles Sunday’s Well.

Connemara have come back from the brink this season. Like so many clubs emigration has taken its toll but they have survived and won six from twelve this season.

 They can pick up another win on Saturday and leave their fellow Connacht Club in the lurch.