The meeting of the bottom two sides, Boyne and Kanturk, could turn out to be the most fascinating of the five fixtures as Ulster Bank League Division 2C resumes tomorrow with games in Leinster, Munster and Ulster.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2C: Saturday, January 21
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
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Bangor (6th) v Sligo (3rd), Upritchard Park
This is a big test of Bangor’s ambitions for the second half of the season as they look to overturn a Sligo side who thumped them 51-17 out west in early December.
Thankfully their injury list is clearing and they have some experienced players back in the squad, including Ryan Latimer, Mike Weir and David Charles, and player-coach Jason Morgan is hoping they can resume the league campaign in recharged fashion.
Having won four of their last five games, Sligo would not have wanted a winter break at all. When their confidence is high, they are a really difficult team to handle and full-back Jack Keegan, who amassed 26 points in the home clash with Bangor, is one to watch.
Boyne (10th) v Kanturk (9th), Shamrock Lodge
Will Boyne return the favour in the second leg of this basement battle? Kanturk ran out 24-13 winners when the sides met before Christmas, winger Olan Daly’s 73rd-minute try proving decisive for the Corkmen.
Only a point separates these clubs at the wrong end of the table and with Seapoint close by in eighth place, the result here could have a big bearing on the relegation scrap pans out.
If Boyne can curb the influence of Kanturk’s player-coach Ben Martin, who made some important breaks from number 10 the last day, and get their own back-line moving, they stand a decent chance of avenging that round 9 defeat.
Midleton (5th) v Tullamore (4th), Towns Park
Midleton’s losing bonus point at Tullamore last time out moved them back into the top half of the table. However, they failed to convert their second half pressure into points at Spollanstown, especially when their hosts lost their two wingers to the sin-bin.
Converted tries from scrum half Aaron Deverell and number 8 Kevin Browne inside the opening 17 minutes proved to be enough for Tullamore in a 14-10 win. They also won on their last two away trips to Bruff and Boyne.
Tight contests have been the order of the day for Midleton with three of their last four fixtures having winning margins of two points. Another hotly-contested tie awaits and a more clinical attacking display should see the Red Devils prevail.
Rainey Old Boys (1st) v Bruff (7th), Hatrick Park
Having started the league like a train, Rainey rather slowed up before Christmas with some patchy form leading to three losses in five matches, the last one being a 15-11 reversal away to Bruff.
The table toppers were down a number of bodies that day, fielding a team with a few Under-20 players, and a hard-earned losing bonus point at Kilballyowen could prove very valuable in the long run.
It will be fascinating to see if Bruff can continue where they left off before Christmas when they recorded three victories on the trot. Their defence has been very impressive of late, with only two tries and 25 points conceded in those 240 minutes of rugby.
Seapoint (8th) v Navan (2nd), Kilbogget Park
Lying third from bottom and without a win since early November, Seapoint really need to lift their game. Navan gave them a 50-3 hammering when they met at Balreask Old, leaving ‘Point head coach Eric Miller with plenty to stew on.
Navan are now just a point behind leaders Rainey as their promotion bid gathers pace, bolstered by their South African centre Riaan van der Vyver who has already crossed the whitewash seven times.
On their day Seapoint are a match for any side in the division. However, it has been a tough couple of months following on from their slide down from Division 2B and high-flying Navan should complete the double here.