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Ulster Bank League: Division 2C Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 2C Previews

Rainey Old Boys are hoping to prove that last week’s surprise defeat in Sligo was just a blip. The Magherafelt men are back at home for Saturday’s Division 2C top of the table clash with Navan.

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

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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Boyne (7th) v Sligo (6th), Shamrock Lodge

Two of the best performers from the last round meet in Drogheda, and there will be pressure on both sides to back up their stellar wins over Seapoint and leaders Rainey respectively.

Boyne’s 37-15 bonus point success at Seapoint was a confidence-boosting result for Graeme Eastwood’s new regime, their back-line causing a lot of damage with full-back Eoghan Duffy in excellent form.

They will need another high level performance to see off Sligo who showed what they are capable of in ending Rainey’s winning run. Former Ireland underage international Aaron Spring and flanker Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill head up a talented crop of youngsters at Ross Mannion’s disposal.

Bruff (10th) v Tullamore (3rd), Kilballyowen Park

Bruff thought they might have turned a corner when beating Sligo in early October, but last week’s 32-22 defeat at Navan leaves them bottom of the table with three big games on the horizon.

With trips to Kanturk and Bangor coming up, the Limerick men need to take some confidence with them on the road and that means earning something from this home clash with Tullamore.

It all depends on which ‘Tullamore’ turns up. They showed their inconsistent ways when Kanturk edged them 17-15. But the return of Aidan Wynne, Tom Gilligan and Leon Martin, who all missed that round 5 fixture, should sharpen up their overall play.

Kanturk (9th) v Bangor (4th), Knocknacolan

Incredibly, Kanturk are still looking for their first back-to-back league wins since coming up from the junior ranks in April 2014. With Bangor and Bruff visiting in the next two rounds, it is time for Ben Martin’s charges to start delivering consistent results.

The Corkmen were impressive 17-15 winners at Tullamore, aided by four surefooted penalties from Conor Cremin, but they will need tries to beat Bangor whose goal-kicking winger Mark Widdowson (48 points) touched down twice against Midleton. 

These sides may be separated by five places in the table, but Bangor are only six points better off. The novel addition of a ‘Golden Oldies’ Over-35s curtain raiser should also get the ‘Turks and Seasiders’ competitive juices flowing.

Midleton (5th) v Seapoint (8th), Towns Park

Results have been hard to come by for both of these clubs – hosts Midleton are without a win in three games, while Seapoint (winless in two) have only scored 15 points in their last two outings.

Midleton out-half Paul Daly is enjoying a fine try-scoring run with four in five rounds. Whereas their attack is in very good shape, the east Cork outfit could do with a miserly defensive display after conceding 32 points in Bangor.

Seapoint, who came down from Division 2B last term, are taking their first trip to Towns Parks in four years. A repeat of their 15-12 victory from October 2012 would do nicely for Eric Miller’s current squad.

Rainey Old Boys (1st) v Navan (2nd), Hatrick Park

Rainey will want to reassert themselves after giving up their winning record in Sligo. This top of the table encounter with certainly focus minds, but head coach John Andrews won’t be panicking after one below-par performance.

It was no surprise to see Simon Hogan hare in for a try in Navan’s 32-22 bonus point success against Bruff. The evergreen 38-year-old winger recently became the first player from the club to make 100 Ulster Bank League appearances.

Navan venture north hunting for their third straight victory, but Rainey have shown their best form at home so far this season and an immediate return to winning ways looks likely here.