The main event in Division 2C this weekend is the much-anticipated clash of pacesetting duo Skerries and Enniscorthy, who have scored 267 points between them so far.
ENERGIA MEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – DIVISION 2C:
ROUND 5: Saturday, November 6
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
BANGOR (3rd) v OMAGH ACADEMICALS (6th), Upritchard Park
Considering Bangor only won five matches during the unfinished 2019/20 season, to be on the cusp of matching that tally already shows the progress Tom Rock’s men have made.
They welcome an Omagh outfit high on confidence after last week’s much-needed 43-8 victory over Sunday’s Well. Half-backs Kyle Beattie (37 points) and Taine Lagan, who touched down twice in round four, are both performing well.
These Ulster rivals have a habit of playing out close games, Bangor winning the corresponding fixture 26-25 in December 2019 before Omagh triumphed 29-25 a few weeks later. Bangor were 17-12 winners when they met in the Energia Community Series.
BRUFF (9th) v CITY OF DERRY (7th), Kilballyowen Park
Bruff have been there or thereabouts in all four outings to date, a frustrating finish at Midleton seeing them concede two late tries and return home pointless. Tomorrow’s game has ‘must-win’ written all over it.
City of Derry currently sit two places and three points above Bruff. They return to Munster three weeks on from an impressive 20-14 win at Sunday’s Well, a level of performance that they need to consistently deliver.
Derry boss Richard McCarter praised his player for ‘fighting for their lives’ that day, and they will have to dig deep again if they want to repeat the Green and Blacks’ most recent win at Kilballyowen Park from November 2013.
CLONMEL (8th) v MIDLETON (5th), Ardgaoithe
A third Munster derby in five rounds for Clonmel to sink their teeth into. Will home advantage make the difference this time after Ian Keatley’s charges drew on the road at both Sunday’s Well and Bruff?
Clonmel will field a rejigged back-line, welcoming back the talismanic Luke Hogan at outside centre. Andrew Daly and Greg Carroll also come in to start, with Dean Slattery moving to full-back.
Niall Campion and Johnny Young are the two changes up front for the Tipperary men. Midleton captain Bryan Moore continues to lead by example, scoring a try and earning the player-of-the-match nod against Bruff.
SKERRIES (2nd) v ENNISCORTHY (1st), Holmpatrick
There is huge anticipation at Holmpatrick surrounding the visit of unbeaten leaders Enniscorthy, who almost came unstuck at Tullamore last week. Skerries, who are also four-from-four, are relishing this top of the table clash.
The second-placed Goats are unbeaten at home in nine league games, stretching back to their April 2019 play-off defeat to Malahide. Play-making out-half Paul O’Loghlen has scored 40 points so far.
Enniscorthy’s own number 10 Ivan Poole is also hitting form, scoring a crucial 10 points against Tullamore. There should be plenty of fireworks in midfield where Skerries captain Kevin McGrath (4 tries) and ‘Scorthy’s six-try star Nick Doyle go head-to-head.
SUNDAY’S WELL (10th) v TULLAMORE (4th), Musgrave Park
Having run the table toppers so close, Tullamore head to Cork with renewed energy. They are leading the chasing pack in fourth place, and consistent results in November would really boost their promotion push.
Experienced front rower Cathal Feighery had a big impact on his return last week, with pinpoint lineout throwing and dominant tackles. The set piece will be a key area against Sunday’s Well who are yet to break their duck.
The ‘Well will need a big shift from their Conor O’Brien-led back row, as the Tulliers are very sharp at the breakdown. Denis Hurley’s side really need a result tomorrow, as their next two games are against the top two.