The new Ulster Bank League structures for next season will have a real impact in Division 2B come April. It all kicks off on Saturday – oh and the ‘Chaps’ are back!
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2B: Saturday, September 20
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
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Boyne v Greystones, Shamrock Lodge
Boyne finished last season just clear of relegation – a fate they will want to avoid this time round. They need more than the five wins they garnered last season and will want to start with intent on Saturday.
Greystones were level on points with Thomond and Skerries, both of whom won promotion, but points difference left them in fourth place. More and better this season will see them in pole position.
Bruff v Highfield, Kilballyowen Park
Bruff have slipped down the divisions recently but will be hoping to call a halt to that slide in 2014/15.
Their first chance comes against a Highfield side that joined them in dropping down, having lost a play-off against Thomond. It was 17-16 to the Cork side when the clubs met last March. What will be the outcome on Saturday?
Navan v Kanturk, Balreask Old
A mid-table finish for Navan last season was reflective of their seven wins, seven losses and a draw.
A similar finish this time round would see them in Division 2C for the 2015/16 season.
Kanturk were promoted following a play-off win over Instonians. They will not be in a hurry to go back down and will bring their ‘A’ game for a good start on Saturday.
Old Crescent v Armagh, Rosbrien
The Limerick side dropped down by dint of finishing 15th in Division 2A last April. They need an improvement on the three wins they picked up in order to prosper.
Armagh represent a tough challenge. They finished in sixth place with 10 wins and showed themselves to be a tough nut to crack with three losing bonus points from their five losses.
Richmond v Midleton, Richmond Park
Seven wins and eight losses saw Richmond finish mid-table last season. Five losing bonus points show there is scope to improve on that.
Midleton were five points adrift of them, but they likewise can do better. It finished 17-11 to the Cork side at Towns Park last year.
Sligo v Ards, Hamilton Park
A home from home clash as both sides play at ‘Hamilton Park’, albeit Sligo’s pitch has the picturesque backdrop of Knocknarea looming overhead.
They finished 13th and 12th last season but the Ulster side shipped a 30-point drubbing at home in the corresponding fixture. Both need to improve to avoid a relegation scrap this season.
Tullamore v De La Salle Palmerston, Spollanstown
The home side must have the top four in their sights this season but they need to tighten up their defence to achieve it. A points difference of plus 4 will not wash.
‘Salmo endured a torrid time two seasons back and while last season was a struggle they can improve.
Still you would have to back Tullamore at home even if they tend to leak scores.
Wanderers v Sunday’s Well, Aviva Stadium back pitch
A return to the Ulster Bank League for the ‘Chaps’ thanks to the rebuilding work done under Greg Lynch in recent seasons.
The Well’s ninth place last season came with six wins. They could struggle but they always seem able to do enough to secure their place.
It has to be a home win though for the headquarters club on the 3G pitch they know so well.