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Ulster Bank League: Division 2A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 2A Previews

It is tight at the top and bottom of Ulster Bank League Division 2A with Malone’s lead coming under pressure from Highfield and Nenagh Ormond, while the two Galway and Leinster clubs are all scrapping to move away from the relegation zone.


Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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This season sees the introduction of the #UBLTry of the Month award with a prize of 250 euro for each monthly winner and entry into the Try of the Year award.

City of Armagh (6th) v Cashel (5th), Palace Grounds

Injuries have hampered sixth-placed City of Armagh in recent rounds, but they should have captain Ali Birch, Neil Faloon and Cormac Fox back for today’s rematch with Cashel. They are smarting from a 13-10 defeat to Denis Leamy’s men..

With Darragh Lyons and Ed Leamy standing out again for their leadership, Cashel have been particularly competitive on the road so far this season, picking up wins at Blackrock and Queen’s and gaining a losing bonus point at Highfield.

A season’s double over Armagh would be them in good stead for their early January derby against Nenagh Ormond, but with some key men returning, Willie Faloon’s Ulster Senior Cup finalists should make it a home win apiece in this December duel.

Corinthians (7th) v Malone (1st), Corinthian Park

Both sides are impacted by Connacht Eagles and Ulster ‘A’ playing on the same day. Out-half Kieran Joyce and hooker Pat O’Toole, who scored 15 of Corinthians’ 20 points between them last Saturday, are on British & Irish Cup duty, along with Jack Owens who bagged a brace for victors Malone in the round 9 fixture.

Malone head coach Paddy Armstrong says his players have trained really well this week as they look to finish the calendar year on a high. Andy Bryans replaces the unavailable Owens at full-back with Max Porter added to the back row.

Despite a strong performance in Belfast, a seven-point gap has developed between seventh-placed Corinthians and Armagh, who are currently sixth in the standings. They will be hoping to extend their excellent home record against Malone who have lost on each of their last four visits to Corinthian Park.

Greystones (9th) v Queen’s University (4th), Dr. Hickey Park

Rory Bell and Jonny Milliken are set to return to the Queen’s back-line today as they look to avenge last week’s 27-17 defeat to Greystones. It is vital that the fourth-placed students steady the ship ahead of the Christmas break.

Winning at the Dub will have done wonders for Greystones’ confidence, as did the sight of fit-again winger Padraig Geoghegan crossing the whitewash twice. They have climbed off the bottom rung thanks to two wins in the last four rounds.

However, Neil Doak’s young guns look primed to put an end to their recent poor form. They have crunch home games against Malone and Armagh in January, so a victory on the Co. Wicklow coast would set them up nicely for the New Year.

Highfield (2nd) v Galwegians (10th), Woodleigh Park

Galwegians’ 40-18 reversal in Glenina last week was extremely tough to take, given they showed much promise in crafting a 13-0 first half lead. The harsh reality is they are bottom of the table and desperately searching for results to rescue their season.

Although disappointed with their efforts before the break, Highfield responded to player-coach Tim Ryan’s team talk in emphatic style with a 40-point salvo in the second period, during which USA international Paddy Ryan made a try-scoring impact off a bench.

It will be interesting to see if the Eagles prop starts today as he also turned the tables in the scrum when he came on. Even if they fail to win, it is important that Galwegians keep the score low as only City of Derry, Division 2B’s bottom side, have conceded more points – 295 compared to 397 – so far.

Nenagh Ormond (3rd) v Blackrock College (8th), New Ormond Park

Kiwi play-maker Clayton Stewart has steered Nenagh Ormond back on course with bonus point successes against Galwegians and Blackrock, taking his scoring tally for the season to 115 points in the process.

Blackrock were only eight points behind at half-time last Saturday, before Nenagh managed to pull away. Head coach Mick Carroll has made three changes for the return leg, welcoming back Mark Roche from Ireland Sevens duty, starting Hugo Godson Treacy on the opposite wing, and selecting Dave Fortune at blindside flanker.

‘Rock last travelled to New Ormond Park just over a year ago when they lost out 32-17. Out-half Stewart scored two tries that day and the Tipperary club’s forwards were in dominant form, helping the hosts lead 22-0 by half-time.