Division 2A kicks off with a Friday Night Light clash in Tipperary as local rivals Nenagh Ormond and Cashel square off in what could be a cracker.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2A: Saturday, September 24
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
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Nenagh Ormond (2nd) v Cashel (8th), New Ormond Park, Friday, September 23, 7.30pm
Last season ended with Cashel in fourth and Nenagh Ormond in fifth, just five points apart in the table. Crucially, the bragging rights also rest with Cashel who won the head-to-head battle.
Floodlights, home advantage, buoyed by an opening round win – Nenagh will not need much in the way of motivation to be ready for this one.
Corinthians (7th) v Belfast Harlequins (9th), Corinthian Park
Both clubs lost on the opening day of the league but Corinthians did squeeze a losing bonus from Blackrock.
The Galway side had Ireland Under-20 scrum half Stephen Kerins in their ranks last week and he will certainly be hoping to emulate another Corinthians player of the past, Connacht and Ireland number 9 Kieran Marmion.
Harlequins lost to Nenagh Ormond last weekend, and they will hope this trip will prove more fruitful.
Malone (3rd) v Highfield (5th), Gibson Park
Former Ulster and Connacht back Mark McCrea was in form for Malone last Saturday as they notched up a win over Cashel on the road.
Last year’s Division 2B champions Highfield enjoyed a winning start in 2A when they overcame Queen’s University on a 16-13 scoreline. Malone will need to work hard to overcome the visitors’ set piece strength but they have the experience to take the points at home.
Queen’s University (6th) v Banbridge (1st), Dub Lane
Banbridge got off to a winning start last week with a bonus point victory over Sunday’s Well, with flying full-back Adam Doherty bagging a hat-trick of tries.
They may not have as easy a run this weekend when they visit one of their Ulster rivals at Dub Lane. Queen’s picked up a losing bonus against Highfield last week. A big test for both sides this Saturday.
Sunday’s Well (10th) v Blackrock College (4th), Irish Independent Park
Contrasting fortunes for two of the newcomers to Division 2A. The ‘Well, promoted from 2B, were well beaten by Banbridge, while ‘Rock, including new French recruit Brendan Hegarty, kicked off with a seven-point win over Corinthians.
Can the Cork outfit bounce back this weekend on home ground or will the Dubliners pick up their second win of the league? Irish Independent Park provides the backdrop.