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Ulster Bank League: Division 2C Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 2C Previews

Balreask Old can expect a big crowd and plenty of intensity when Navan host local rivals in an eagerly-awaited ‘Friday Night Lights’ clash in Division 2C. Saturday’s menu is dominated by third-placed Tullamore’s showdown with leaders Rainey Old Boys.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2C: Saturday, November 12

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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Navan (2nd) v Boyne (8th), Balreask Old, Friday, November 11, 8pm

A local derby to savour for both clubs, second-placed Navan hunting for their fourth successive win and second-from-bottom Boyne looking to rebound from last week’s narrow defeat to Sligo.

The Drogheda side coughed up two early tries against Sligo, giving themselves a huge task despite the best efforts of evasive full-back Eoghan Duffy. Their most recent trip to Balreask was one to forget – they lost 37-11 in a pre-Christmas clash last year.

The floodlights will be on this time, and Navan, having claimed the scalp of leaders Rainey, are playing too well to slip up here. With his Division 1A experience, ex-Young Munster back Declan Bannon is proving influential for Alan Kingsley’s men.

Bangor (4th) v Seapoint (7th), Upritchard Park

Lying in fourth place, Bangor can certainly be pleased with their lot. And back-to-back home games against teams in the bottom half of the table should see them cement themselves as promotion challengers.

Easier said than done, and definitely their concentration levels need to improve after a couple of notable lapses against Kanturk. Blindside Jamie Clegg showed the way with good pace off the mark for a timely second half try.

Their visitors this week, Seapoint, have their own try-scoring flanker in Zac Jungmann who touched down twice away to Midleton. That win, coupled with Brian Keegan’s return at out-half, means they will travel with renewed confidence.

Kanturk (9th) v Bruff (10th), Knocknacolan

Kanturk really hung in there against Bangor, a tenacious two-try display but one which was let down by three yellow cards and the concession of a penalty try.

One such disciplinary slip-up could be the difference between winning and losing this basement battle with Bruff, who were outfought by Tullamore despite two well-taken tries from Brendan Keogh and Tony Cahill.

Given how porous both defences can be, a high-scoring encounter looks likely here with Ben Martin’s Kanturk side hoping to avenge last February’s 24-12 loss to the Limerick men.

Sligo (5th) v Midleton (6th), Hamilton Park

There is plenty of wind in Sligo’s sails at the moment. After toppling Rainey, they battled hard to beat Boyne with half-backs Mike Wells and Ryan Feehily both touching down and captain Shane Boyle leading a very influential back row.

Those victories were by one and two-point margins, and another closely-fought game is expected when Midleton, winless in the last four rounds, visit one of their mid-table rivals.

Luck was not on the Corkmen’s side against Seapoint in a chastening two-point defeat, but a repeat of their 12-11 triumph away to Sligo from last year would help steady the ship.

Tullamore (3rd) v Rainey Old Boys (1st), Spollanstown

Injuries and the unavailability of some key players have hurt table toppers Rainey in recent weeks, and they were admittedly fortunate to pick up a losing bonus point at home to Tullamore.

Food poisoning robbed the Derry men of Ricky Andrew’s attacking threat and on-field coaching, and he was sorely missed during the 17-13 reversal. Injuries could curtail John Andrews’ selection again this weekend.

Tullamore will have been working on their breakdown discipline after two yellow cards in a narrow victory at Bruff. There are some fascinating match-ups in this round 7 fixture, including the duels between Ben Ridgeway and Chris Laidler at out-half and Ivor Deverell and Tim Barker in the second row.