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Ulster Bank League: Division 2A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 2A Previews

A week on from losing their own unbeaten record, Nenagh Ormond will attempt to end Division 2A leaders Banbridge’s unblemished run in the match of the round on Saturday afternoon.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2A: Saturday, November 5

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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Blackrock College (5th) v Highfield (4th), Stradbrook, 2pm

Blackrock had a day to forget against Cashel, going down 18-0 in what was an error-strewn display. This is a big fixture for them as they look to make up lost ground and also dent the progress of one of their promotion rivals.

Highfield drew their Cork derby with Sunday’s Well – incredibly, their third stalemate of the season. Captain Paddy O’Toole was off target a last-minute penalty, a rare miss for the out-half who has kicked 45 of their 70 points so far.

Timmy Ryan’s men boast the best defence across all five divisions, conceding just 47 points in the opening five rounds, and maintaining that enviable defensive record will be crucial to shutting down ‘Rock’s usually lively attack.

Belfast Harlequins (10th) v Cashel (9th), Deramore Park

Played five, won one and lost four. Harlequins and Cashel have identical records at the foot of the table, with the Belfast side on the bottom rung due to their inferior scoring difference.

‘Quins played well in patches, particularly the first half, when losing 31-15 to leaders Banbridge. They have been training well and have an Ulster Senior Cup semi-final to look forward to. A home win here would certainly be a big boost.

If Cashel are to prevail at Deramore, they need to convert more of their pressure into points. They have averaged only 14.6 per game so far and will struggle if this doesn’t increase in the coming weeks.

Nenagh Ormond (3rd) v Banbridge (1st), New Ormond Park

A tough match to call given Nenagh Ormond are formidable opponents at home and Banbridge remain unbeaten at the top of the table. Nenagh are smarting from a late loss in a 66-point thriller at Malone.

The Co. Tipperary outfit are reliant on Clayton Stewart for many of their scores, the in-form out-half tallying up 78 of their 123 points to date. Former Munster underage winger Eathon Moloney has touched down five times across the league and Munster Senior Cup.

Banbridge will be targeting a much stronger start this week after conceding five penalties in the first 25 minutes against Harlequins. It is a family affair in the Bann front row where the Cromies have been making hay, with props Michael and Stuart and hooker Peter scoring two tries each in the last four rounds.

Corinthians (8th) v Malone (6th), Corinthian Park, 5pm

Two late tries in a 42-12 defeat at Queen’s failed to mask what was a poor performance from Corinthians. They will hope for a much better return when they host a ‘Super Saturday’ event (a double header for their junior and senior teams).

Malone are the visitors for the seniors’ early evening kick-off, buoyed by their dramatic late victory over previously unbeaten Nenagh. That tenacious performance would have pleased head coach Paddy Armstrong, with a special nod to centre/winger Mark McCrea who is overseeing the squad’s strength and conditioning.

The Cregagh Red Sox won away to Cashel on the opening day and if they maintain the accuracy and intensity shown against Nenagh, they should continue to climb up the table.