Cashel are deserving Division 2B champions in their first season in the Ulster Bank League but can they go unbeaten? A home tie against a promotion chasing Rainey could be their crowning moment. At the other end Wanderers and Ards face relegation.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2B: Saturday, April 14
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
Banbridge (2nd) v Wanderers (16th), Rifle Park
Both clubs will be regretting Banbridge’s recent form. Losses to Sunday’s Well and NUIM Barnhall mean they have to win on Saturday to guarantee promotion.
Had they won either of those games they would have far less to play for on Saturday.
Wanderers came so close to beating Cashel last time out but all they can do now is try and win this game and hope.
A home win puts Bann into Division 2A while an away win offers a slim lifeline. Needs must then in Rifle Park on Saturday afternoon in what amounts to Match of The Day in Division 2B.
Boyne (9th) v Nenagh Ormond (7th), Drogheda
In a season that saw one of their most famous alumni, Shane Horgan, retire from rugby Boyne can reflect on reasonable first season in the Ulster Bank League.
Ninth in the table with five wins and two draws are balanced by seven losses. Still they know what it takes and can build for next season.
Nenagh Ormond were one of the fancied teams pre-season but struggled for a consistent run of form. Both sides will hope to finish on a high with a win with the visitors probably slight favourites.
Cashel (1st) V Rainey Old Boys (4th), Spafield
Cashel will be crowned Division 2B champions on Saturday and they are sure to have a big crowd there to celebrate.
One target remains – winning all their games. It is always an ambition but Saturday could make it a reality.
The visitors though may spoil the party slightly as they are still in the chase for an automatic promotion spot or at the very least a playoff shot.
Connemara (10th) v NUIM Barnhall (3rd), Monastery Field
Six wins for Connemara so far this season shows the turnaround from last season. The hope for Connemara is that they can build again for next season and they will aim to finish with a win.
NUIM Barnhall trail Banbridge by two points so they need a win and they need Wanderers to win also if they are to take 2nd place in the Division.
Monastery Field is a tough place to visit but the Leinster side have shown they have a good combination of pace and power and can take the win on Saturday.
Highfield (5th) v Suttonians (12th), Woodleigh Park
Highfield could just nip into a promotion playoff spot if both Rainey and NUIM Barnhall lose on Saturday so this is a big game for them.
Suttonians have survived this season and weathered the loss of some experienced players and can look to next season to build again.
A home win is the more likely on form and on need.
Naas (8th) v Armagh (6th), Forenaughts
Naas’s mid table finish reflects their six wins and a draw tally for the season. On the whole they have struggle against some of the higher ranked teams but still cause problems on their day.
Armagh can reflect on a good first season in the Ulster Bank League and should be one of the fancied sides next season if they retain their squad.
Naas have beaten Nenagh Ormond and Ards in recent weeks while Armagh have beaten Highfield and Suttonians.
Navan (11th) v Ards (15th), Balreask Old
This is one of those games where everyone is interested in the result. The fate of Ards and Wanderers hinges on the outcome.
The irony is that an Ulster club – Ards – is travelling to Leinster while a Leinster club – Wandererers heads north.
A home win could see Navan improve their 11th place but Ards showed grit in beating Boyne last time out.
A win for the visitors means they live to fight another day in a playoff!
Sligo (14th) v Sunday’s Well (13th), Hamilton Park
A tough first season in the Ulster Bank League for Sligo but with more young players coming through the likes of Sligo Grammer and the IT they should be able to build a squad for next season.
The Well looked to be in trouble not so long ago but they picked up two vital wins, including a game in hand to survive once again.
The hosts are planning a big family day out in Strandhill for this game and you will always get a warm welcome. The match and the view of Knocknarea are worth the admission price alone.