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Ulster Bank League: Division 2A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 2A Previews

Three rescheduled encounters take place in Ulster Bank League Division 2A this weekend, beginning with the Friday Night Lights clash of local rivals Sunday’s Well and Highfield at Irish Independent Park.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2A: Saturday, April 1

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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Sunday’s Well (8th) v Highfield (3rd), Irish Independent Park, Friday, March 31, 7.30pm

There is some top quality rugby to treat Cork fans tonight, with Sunday’s Well and Highfield clashing at Irish Independent Park and Munster ‘A’ hosting their British & Irish Cup semi-final against Ealing Trailfinders at CIT.

A crowd of over 2,000 watched the ‘Well beat Highfield 13-6 in last season’s corresponding fixture in Division 2B – centre Mark Chandler scored the game’s only try in the 48th minute – with both clubs subsequently earning promotion.

A lot has changed in 12 months and Highfield are now pushing for a spot in Division 1B. A win here and they will have a shot at the title in the final two rounds, while finishing above the bottom two is the sole aim for Robbie Doyle’s ‘Well side.

Nenagh Ormond (2nd) v Malone (4th), New Ormond Park, 2pm

Just like the Leeside derby, Saturday’s game in Tipperary has a lot riding on it as two of the promotion chasers square off. Nenagh have climbed above Highfield into second place thanks to last week’s excellent 36-24 dismissal of Tim Ryan’s men.

Malone, though, are only two positions and five points behind Nenagh after Mark O’Connor’s last-minute penalty steered them past Queen’s – 21-18. However, Nenagh have not lost at home to Ulster opposition since Banbridge won at New Ormond Park in January 2012.

Wily centre Derek Corcoran, who touched down twice against Highfield, typifies the Nenagh back-line’s skill and determination. He will want to banish memories of October’s dramatic 35-31 defeat in Belfast where Cory Tipping’s late try saw Malone prevail.

Corinthians (9th) v Queen’s University (5th), Corinthian Park

Last week’s 24-13 success against Cashel gave Corinthians a timely lift as they attempt to overhaul Sunday’s Well, who are currently three points ahead of them, and avoid the dreaded relegation play-off.

The second-from-bottom Galway outfit have an impressive home record against Ulster sides this year, having already beaten Banbridge and Malone, but Queen’s, who thrashed Corinthians 42-12 in October, are still in the mix for a top four finish.

The Belfast students are smarting from that late loss to Malone and an immediate return to winning ways is vital to their play-off hopes, especially with leaders Banbridge and third-placed Highfield providing the opposition in the closing rounds.