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Ulster Bank League: Division 2C Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 2C Previews

There are matches in all four provinces in Ulster Bank League Division 2C this weekend, chief amongst them being the top of the table clash of Midleton and Rainey Old Boys in east Cork.


Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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Navan (3rd) v Tullamore (5th), Balreask Old, Friday, September 30, 7.30pm

There is plenty of interest in this Leinster derby with Navan and Tullamore both currently in the top half of the table. Navan picked up a losing bonus point against Bangor last week, with number 8 Conor Ryan scoring his second try of the campaign and South African centre Riaan van der Vyver also touching down.

Young flanker Colm Heffernan delivered a man-of-the-match display on his league debut as Tullamore ground out a 12-8 victory over Sligo, prevailing thanks to the accurate goal-kicking of full-back Karl Dunne.

The corresponding fixture seven months ago finished in an 8-all draw, with Alan Kingsley’s Meath men guilty of inconsistent home form last season.

Bangor (6th) v Boyne (7th), Upritchard Park

With Stuart McCloskey’s older brother Ross featuring at full-back, Bangor bagged their opening win away to Navan. Ex-Malone centre Desi Fusco did the damage with a brace of tries, striking in the 10th and 78th minutes.

Boyne were very much second best against Rainey Old Boys, falling to a deflating 38-3 defeat. Number 8 Rory Hennessy was the only player to reach Rainey’s heights on a day when Boyne’s lineout and defence let them down.

No better way to bounce back than claiming the spoils from their second successive trip up north. Bangor will have other ideas, though, and a second victory on the trot would put Jason Morgan’s men firmly on the right road.

Midleton (2nd) v Rainey Old Boys (1st), Towns Park

A cracker awaits down in east Cork. Visitors Rainey have squeezed ahead of Midleton on scoring difference at the summit, with both sides opening the campaign with back-to-back bonus point wins.

Ross O’Mahony and Paul Daly have notched two tries apiece for the Red Devils so far, while their steely defence has coughed up only try in the opening two rounds.

Rainey beat Bangor despite three yellow cards and were then runaway winners over Boyne. Centre Ricky Andrew, who is assisting head coach John Andrews, said: “Like any team that gets relegated, (Rainey) are looking to get promoted straight away. That’s difficult to do. But there’s a lot of good players in and around the squad now, and we definitely could get ourselves promoted.”

Seapoint (4th) v Bruff (10th), Kilbogget Park

Bruff are already playing catch-up at the foot of the table, their heavy home loss to Midleton being particularly stinging. Wily out-half Tony Cahill should steer the Limerick men right, with flying winger Mark Cosgrove and hooker John Hogan also hitting good form.

Seapoint have a home win and a losing bonus point on their travels so far, their forwards coming up trumps with the likes of hooker Cian Cunningham and flanker Zac Jungmann getting on the scoresheet.

As Seapoint came down from 2B for this season, the clubs have not actually met since March 2014 when Bruff lost 32-5 at Kilbogget Park.

Sligo (9th) v Kanturk (8th), Hamilton Park

Improved execution in attack and better tackling saw Kanturk edge past Seapoint on a 16-12 scoreline, but player-coach Ben Martin wants his young charges to be more clinical as they prepare for a tough test against Sligo.

The Connacht club, who currently lie one place below Kanturk in the table, will be gunning for them after being thumped 45-15 on home turf by the Corkmen last September.

Two losing bonus points over the past fortnight – they only had three over the entire 2015/16 campaign – show that Ross Mannion’s side are hanging in there against opponents. Reversing that big defeat to Kanturk would give them a massive boost.