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Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Relegation/Promotion Play-Off Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1A Relegation/Promotion Play-Off Previews

The opening matches in the Division 1A relegation/promotion play-offs take place tomorrow as Ballynahinch welcome Buccaneers to Ballymacarn Park in a repeat of their play-off clash from 2014, and Division 1B rivals Dublin University and Ballymena face off at College Park.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A RELEGATION/PROMOTION PLAY-OFFS: Saturday, April 23

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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BALLYNAHINCH (9th, Div 1A) v BUCCANEERS (4th, Div 1B), Ballymacarn Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Ballynahinch: LLLLLLLLWLWWLLLLWW; Buccaneers: WLWWLLLLLWWWLLWWWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Chris Quinn 133; Tries: Aaron Cairns 5; Buccaneers: Points: Conor McKeon 117; Tries: Rory O’Connor 12

Preview: Ballynahinch will have to back up last week’s barnstorming 59-5 victory over Garryowen if they want to take the next step towards Division 1A survival.

It has been a tough slog for them in the top flight, and the extended relegation/promotion play-offs mean they have to beat two eager Division 1B sides.

Buccaneers’ two most recent trips to Co. Down resulted in heavy losses, including a 35-13 reversal in this equivalent fixture two years ago, and this may prove a step beyond the midlanders again.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, April 20, 2013: Ballynahinch 41 Buccaneers 8, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, May 3, 2014: Ballynahinch 35 Buccaneers 13, Ballymacarn Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballynahinch to win

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (2nd, Div 1B) v BALLYMENA (3rd, Div 1B), College Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form: Dublin University: LLWWWWWWWWLWWWWWLW; Ballymena: WWWWWLWWWWWLLLWLLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Dublin University: Points: Jack McDermott 180; Tries: Tim Maupin 11; Ballymena: Points: Ritchie McMaster 111; Tries: Rodger McBurney 10

Preview: Ballymena may have finished one spot behind second-placed Dublin University in the final Division 1B table, but they were 16 points worse off after losing their last three games.

There is a clean slate now in the play-offs, though, as the Braidmen return to College Park where they were beaten 34-19 at the start of last month.

Trinity, who put 55 points on Blackrock last week, have oozed quality at times in attack. Another clinical showing here should get them the result, especially if out-half Jack McDermott (180 points, seven tries) continues his free-scoring form.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, September 26, 2015: Ballymena 35 Dublin University 24, Eaton Park; Saturday, March 5, 2016: Dublin University 34 Ballymena 19, College Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dublin University to win