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Ulster Bank League: Division 2B Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 2B Previews

Three of Division 2B’s top five clubs are away from home this weekend, so expect some movement in the table. It is third against second as Dungannon and unbeaten Greystones meet in the pick of the round 5 games.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2B: Saturday, October 29

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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City of Derry (10th) v Wanderers (5th), Judge’s Road

City of Derry have been licking their wounds since being hammered 71-3 by Greystones, a nightmare result that capped off a tough first four rounds for new coaches Richard McCarter and Stephen Douglas.

A dose of home comfort will hopefully boost the basement side as they chase their first win. Their round 5 visitors Wanderers – 20-9 winners over Bective last time out – are looking to break their duck on the road this season.

Wanderers strung together 13 unanswered points in the second half against Bective, including a Garret O’Suilleabhain try, and back-to-back victories would have them in good fettle for next week’s visit of Dungannon to Merrion Road.

Dungannon (3rd) v Greystones (2nd), Stevenson Park

Undoubtedly one of the games of the Bank Holiday weekend as two former top flight residents meet. Dungannon were beaten twice by Armagh recently, including in the Ulster Senior Cup, but their 36-30 bonus point win at Thomond kept them on course in the league.

It is no surprise that ‘Gannon’s number 8 and captain James McMahon is leading by example with four tries in as many games. Greystones have their own try-scoring ace in Kiwi hooker Mike Lea (4 tries) who has made a flying start at the Co. Wicklow club.

‘Stones have already won at Old Crescent and Bective. Defeating Andy Hughes’ men, who have not had the best of Octobers, on their own patch would add further momentum to their promotion bid.

MU Barnhall (7th) v Thomond (9th), Parsonstown

It is one step forward and two steps back for both of these sides of late. MU Barnhall leaked 52 points to leaders Armagh last time out, having claimed a rousing comeback victory over Skerries the previous week.

Thomond still have holes to fill in their defence – they have handed try-scoring bonus points to three teams so far – but they did pick up a draw and a losing bonus point in their last two outings.

Barnhall are unbeaten at home in the league since early February and have the attacking bite to ensure that record stays intact.

Old Crescent (4th) v Bective Rangers (8th), Rosbrien

Old Crescent are on the move, climbing into the top four on the back of successes against Wanderers and Skerries. It is no coincidence that influential backs Larry Hanly and Brian Tuohy touched down in both games.

After walloping Crescent’s Limerick rivals Thomond (49-10), Bective then failed to cross the whitewash against either Greystones or Wanderers. However, they are only five points behind their round 5 opponents in the table.

With both clubs experiencing ups and downs in recent years, they have not played each other since Bective posted a 9-3 win at Donnybrook in January 2014. 

Skerries (6th) v Armagh (1st), Holmpatrick

It has been difficult to be in Skerries’ shoes recently. Two three-point reversals at the hands of Barnhall and Crescent saw them fall frustratingly short – although they did score 51 points and eight tries across those games.

Despite their status as table toppers, and Ulster Club of the Month award winners for their youth development, Armagh are not getting carried away with their impressive early season results.

If Skerries are to stand a chance they will have to cut down the scoring opportunities for Armagh’s new English number 10 Harvey Young, who kicked 20 points in a man-of-the-match display against Barnhall and another 14 in their Ulster Senior Cup quarter-final victory over Dungannon.