The sad passing of Wanderers FC President John Roche Kelly casts a shadow over today’s All-Ireland League Division 2B schedule. New leaders Greystones are on the road to second-from-bottom Dungannon, while Corinthians and Sligo clash in a Connacht derby.
ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: DIVISION 2B: Saturday, December 8
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
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MU Barnhall – Wanderers -, Parsonstown
* Match postponed due to the death of Wanderers FC President John Roche Kelly. RIP. Our sincere condolences to John’s family, friends and Wanderers club-mates.
Belfast Harlequins (8th) v Skerries (10th), Deramore Park
Two teams struggling for consistent results at the wrong end of the table. Despite doing well to land a late losing bonus point at Rainey, Belfast Harlequins remain the lowest scorers in the division with an average of just under 13 points per game.
It will be a noteworthy result either way as Harlequins are aiming for their first home win of the campaign, while Skerries, who have the worst defensive record with 232 points conceded, are still searching for their first victory of any kind.
Number 8 Ben Alexander has been a leading light for ‘Quins of late, as has captain Ross McAuley for Skerries, so their individual battle for supremacy will be one to watch. There were two high-scoring home triumphs last season, with the Goats winning 28-14 at Holmpatrick and ‘Quins finishing as 56-33 winners of the rematch.
Dungannon (9th) v Greystones (1st), Stevenson Park
Dungannon may be second from bottom but they did recently trouble unbeaten leaders MU Barnhall, building a promising lead only for a high error count to ultimately cost them. They are in the midst of a four-match losing run and need a change in fortunes.
They will be wary of a Greystones side that is racking up some eye-watering scores, 53 their latest tally against Sunday’s Well. Kevin Lewis’ charges are the highest scorers across all five divisions, needing just 15 more points to break the 300-point barrier already.
Dungannon are set to welcome back captain Stephen Todd into their selected team, while full-back Andrew McGregor may miss out due to an ankle injury. Greystones have made three changes with Josh Glynn brought in at full-back, and John Campbell and Chris Simmonds pairing up in the second row.
Galway Corinthians (5th) v Sligo (7th), Corinthian Park
A tasty Connacht derby to whet appetites out west where Corinthians are just three points better off than seventh-placed Sligo. The Yeats men picked up their second victory and third try-scoring bonus point at Skerries which augurs well.
Of course Sligo have very fond memories of playing Corinthians twelve months ago when the Galway men were two divisions above them. Matthew Cosgrove’s injury-time try ensured they made history by winning a dramatic Connacht Senior Cup final 29-27 in Strandhill.
Corinthians are a proud lot and they will want to avenge that defeat as well as avoiding a potential third home loss of the current league run. To do so they will have to keep close tabs on versatile Sligo back Ryan Feehily, who has scored six tries so far, and their four-try Kiwi winger Calum Goddard.
Sunday’s Well (6th) v Rainey Old Boys (4th), Irish Independent Park
Sunday’s Well have played some of the division’s leading sides in recent rounds and come off second best. Conceding eight tries to Greystones last Saturday would have really hurt their pride, but bouncing back today could see them leapfrog Rainey Old Boys.
The Magherafelt club make the trip seeking their fifth victory in a row. Fresh from captaining the Ulster Under-19s to a famous win over Australia on Tuesday, Charlie Clarke comes in to start at openside flanker, while Fintan Quinn and Ronan McCusker are also added to the pack.
Andrew Browne and Conor Fitzsimons team up together in a new Rainey centre pairing, while injuries have been mounting for ‘Well head coach Peter Scott. “We’ve been unlucky with injuries,” he said. “It’ll probably be the other side of Christmas before we’re able to put out a full-strength side. But everyone is dealing with that problem and it’s not an excuse.”