Rainey remain unbeaten in the league. This weekend they travel to 4th placed Naas. The clash between Nenagh Ormond and Armagh could also have a bearing on the promotion placings and there is a relegation battle between Thomond and Ards.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2B: Saturday, January 26
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
Armagh (6th) v Nenagh Ormond (3rd), Palace Grounds
Only three points separate these two teams at this stage of the season and both sides are coming in on the back of a win.
The outcome will have an interesting effect on the top half of the table and in particular on the placings for promotion slots and playoffs.
There isn’t much to differentiate them in the table with both sides notching up three try bonuses. Home advantage is always a plus but the visitors could take this one.
Boyne (5th) v Clonakilty (12th), Shamrock Lodge
Boyne may be a bit shellshocked after last weekend’s drubbing by Rainey but they will certainly look to bounce back this weekend.
Clon’s draw with Navan last weekend shows they can cause problems and they would like nothing better than to do the same or more against another Leinster side this Saturday.
Boyne need to win or they could lose touch with top four and with the game in Shamrock Lodge look set to take the points.
Instonians (13th) v Connemara (16th), Shaws Bridge
A difficult game for Inst. They are expected to win against a Connemara side who are without a point all season.
At some point, however, you feel that the Western club, who look certain to be relegated, will produce a result.
Instonians need the win to stay clear of Thomond and Ards and playing at home they should get it.
Naas (4th) V Rainey Old Boys (1st), Forenaughts
Naas’s game in hand against Ards could be invaluable later in the season but first they have to face the juggernaut that is Rainey OB.
Rainey showed against Boyne last weekend that they can really turn it on and punish mistakes so Naas need to be at their best to get anything out of this.
Like Cashel last season Rainey are unbeaten, can they cope with that pressure? Saturday will be another test for them to pass.
Navan (7th) v Sunday’s Well (10th), Balreask Old
Navan could only manage a draw away to Clonakilty last weekend which saw them slip back 7th place.
Sunday’s Well eked a losing bonus point out of their tight clash with Skerries in Musgrave Park last week and could look to unsettle the Meath side this weekend.
Navan have struggled to put teams away and have had a fair few close games. Expect more this weekend but the home side to take the win.
Skerries (8th) v NUIM Barnhall (2nd), Holmpatrick
Skerries have done enough already this season to secure their place in the Ulster Bank League. Four wins, a draw and three losing bonuses show they will not give up in any game.
NUIM Barnhall enjoyed a big win over Instonians last time out but they won’t get that freedom in Holmpatrick.
An away win keeps the visitors in 2nd place but it won’t be easy.
Sligo (11th) v Suttonians (9th), Hamilton Park
Sligo look to have taken over the ‘small club on the western fringe’ from Connemara. On Saturday they host a side just a point ahead of them in the table.
Suttonians are without a win since November, when they beat Sunday’s Well, but have managed to stay mid table.
The home team have yet to break the 100 point mark but should do so with a win on Saturday.
Thomond (14th) v Ards (15th), Liam Fitzgerald Park
A key game in the relegation zone with the sides only separated by a point, albeit Ards have a game in hand.
Ironically Ards, with one win, are below Thomond who have only managed a draw to date; the Limerick side’s five losing bonuses are the difference.
Thomond will not want to cede ground to Ards, especially with that game in hand so expect them to go hell for leather for the win.